Nationals devise prescription for facing “Doc” Halladay

Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay is the opposing starter tonight as the Nationals go for the series win against Philadelphia at Nationals Park.

Halladay (1-0, 0.69 ERA) has started the season off, well, like a reigning National League Cy Young Award winner should.

In his first two starts, Halladay has allowed only one run on 11 hits in 13 innings while walking one and striking out 13.

Halladay was particularly good against the Nationals last season, going 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in three starts. He allowed just one run in 23 innings against Washington in 2010.

Nationals third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. knows it will be no small task to get to the guy nicknamed “Doc.”

“He is pretty good,” Hairston said. “I have faced him too many times. He is without question one of the best pitchers in the game, probably the best, especially the last 10 or 12 years. We are definitely going to have our hands full.”

Former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth said when you look at the series and see Halladay and Cliff Lee as the pitchers the Nats will face, winning game one is a big first step.

“I don’t have too many at-bats against (Halladay). It will be pretty new for me,” Werth said. “He attacks the strike zone and he is one of the better pitchers in the game. Hopefully, we can play small ball with him a little bit and get some timely hitting and get some guys on base, move them around and find a way to win the game.”

Second baseman Danny Espinosa said the Nationals won’t use injuries or illness to starters like Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse as an excuse in facing the vaunted Phillies rotation.

“We got to still go out there and play,” Espinosa said .”We can’t be down because we are missing some of our big guys. We just go out there and play. If we play hard, things will go our way like they did (Tuesday).”

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