By Michael Marzzacco

The Nationals embark on a six game road trip beginning tonight in Philadelphia. Washington will conclude the month of August with a three game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and end the dog days of summer in New York with a big series against the Mets.

The Nationals are coming off a series loss to the Rockies, where they fell in extra innings on Saturday and dropped a 3-5 decision yesterday. On Friday the Nats took the opener as Gio Gonzalez notched his 100th career win.

The Phillies also dropped two of three over the weekend but unlike the Nats, they won the series finale avoiding the sweep. This came at the hands of the Mets at Citi Field. The win yesterday was the first game for A.J. Ellis, who was traded to the Phillies from the Dodgers. He delivered the big hit, a tiebreaking two-run double in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie.

The Nationals are ahead of the Marlins by eight games for first place in the NL East. Big leads like this with about a month left of regular season baseball can also be dangerous too. If you’re the Nats you gotta find all the motivation in the world to go out and play these games so you can punch a ticket to the playoffs. They got a weekend series coming up with the Mets, who are just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card. The Phillies are in fourth place in the division with a 60-70 record, 15 games back of first place and 8.5 in the Wild Card. They are certainly building for the future.

Pitching match-ups:

Tonight: Tanner Roark (13-7, 2.99 ERA) vs. Jake Thompson (1-3, 9.78 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

Tomorrow: Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

Wednesday: Gio Gonzalez (9-9, 4.25 ERA) vs. Adam Morgan  (1-8, 6.50 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

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