In a season that has been sometimes hard to watch for Phillies fans, staff ace Cliff Lee's numbers have remained rather easy on the eyes. Despite Philadelphia's 34-37 record entering Tuesday's game against the Nationals, Lee holds an 8-2 mark and sparkling 2.55 ERA.
But Lee's focus has been on the team's performance, and he hasn't been satisfied.
"The past year and a half hasn't gone the way I would have anticipated," Lee said after he held the Twins to three hits, two runs and struck out six in seven innings on Thursday. "It's why you play the games. You never know. I don't think anyone here is happy with the way we've played in that time frame. It's due to a lot of injuries. There are some good excuses, but they're still excuses. We're the Philadelphia Phillies. We should play better than we have."
The Nationals, meanwhile have hovered around .500 for most of the year and dropped a game below the even-water mark at 34-35 after Monday's 5-4 loss to the Phillies. The Nationals were 41-28 through 69 games last season on their way to winning the National League East.
Washington, which wraps up a span of 28 of 38 road games with the series, will throw lefty Ross Detwiler at the Phillies. Detwiler is 2-4 but has a 3.02 ERA.
In his return from the disabled list on Thursday, Detwiler tossed five innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs against the Rockies.
Phillies: Utley nearing rehab assignment
Chase Utley took swings at the end of the Phillies' batting practice Monday and plans to go on a rehab assignment by Wednesday. The second baseman said he does not have a timetable for his return yet.
Utley has not played since May 20 because of a strained right oblique muscle he suffered four weeks ago.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who strained his right hamstring while running the bases on May 19, played a game for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday and could return this week.
• Phillies third baseman Michael Young enters Tuesday two RBIs shy of 1,000 for his career. Since the RBI became an official stat in 1920, only 241 Major League players have reached the 1,000 RBI plateau in their careers, including 18 current players.
Nationals: Span hoping to return Tuesday
Denard Span sat out Monday's series opener against the Phillies with a deep bruise in his right foot but hopes to be back for Tuesday's middle game.
Span suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his foot during Sunday's game against the Indians.
• Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was cleared to begin strengthening activities on Monday, which means he can walk and jog. Harper has been on the disabled list since June 1 because of left knee bursitis and originally hurt the knee on May 13 after crashing into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.
• Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has reached base safely in 19 consecutive games and brings a 16-game hitting streak into Tuesday's middle game in Philadelphia.
• The Phillies have won five straight home games and nine of 14 and enter Tuesday 54-30 all-time against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.