THE FORECAST tomorrow calls for sunny skies and a high of 70 in Philadelphia, where Cliff Lee will take the mound against Stephen Strasburg in the first meeting between the Phillies and Washington Nationals in 2014.
Rain persisted yesterday, and for the third time in the season's first month, it altered the Phillies' schedule. Last night's scheduled game against the New York Mets will now be played on Monday, June 2 (7:05) at Citizens Bank Park.
With days off already scheduled this week on Monday and today, the Phils find themselves playing one game in a 4-day span. It allowed the coaching staff to manipulate the rotation.
Both Roberto Hernandez and Kyle Kendrick have seen their scheduled turns pushed back. By doing so, the Phillies have matched up their top three starters against the Nationals this weekend: Lee starts tomorrow, followed by A.J. Burnett on Saturday and Cole Hamels on Sunday.
Kendrick will make his next turn on Monday at home against Toronto, with Hernandez following on Tuesday before the team continues a home-and-home with the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre next Wednesday.
The Phillies had positive results the last time they shuffled their rotation: Last week, when Hamels returned from the DL, the Phils slotted him after Lee and Burnett at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies took three of the four games against the Dodgers, thanks in large part to strong starting pitching.
After Cliff Lee (3-2, 3.29 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.24) square off tomorrow, A.J. Burnett (1-1, 2.15) will match up against righthander Tanner Roark (2-0, 2.76) on Saturday. On Sunday, Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.75) will be pitted against fellow lefthander and one-time Phillies prospect Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.25). Hamels remains one win away from his 100th career victory . . .
Fans can take swings at Citizens Bank Park next week during the 17th annual Home Runs for Hearts event. The Richie Asburn Memorial Home Runs for Hearts will be held Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event, which benefits the American Heart Association, began in 1997. For more information on how to take part in the home run derby - and shag fly balls in the outfield, too - call 215-575-5218, email email@example.com or visit www.heart.org/philadelphia and click on "Home Runs For Heart" . . . Ten local teachers will be honored at Citizens Bank Park before tomorrow's game, the Phillies' 14th annual Teacher Appreciation's Night . . . Tomorrow is also the inaugural "Phillies Jersey Day." Sponsored by jersey supplier Majestic, the event encourages fans to wear jerseys to school and work, in addition to tomorrow's game.