Kendrick set for star matchup with Strasburg

Kendrick set for star matchup with Strasburg

ATLANTA -- Stephen Strasburg vs. Kyle Kendrick on Friday night at Nationals Park just might be the marquee matchup of the season.

"It's the battle of the aces," joked Phils right-hander Kendrick, flashing a wide smile.

Strasburg and Kendrick open an interesting three-game series this weekend. The Nationals are in first place in the National League East, while the Phillies are trying to find their footing after a slow start. The Nats also have been trying to push Phillies fans from Nationals Park, dubbing this their Take Back the Park weekend.

Strasburg is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, while Kendrick is 0-2 with a 6.59 ERA.

"Obviously it's big because it's a division rival," Kendrick said. "But I'm not going to put too much on it. It's still another game. So far, Strasburg has been pitching well. I know it's a cliche and I know I say it all the time, but I just want to give us a chance to win -- keep us in the game. That's my job. It's going to be fun. I'm sure it will be a good atmosphere."

This will not be the first time Kendrick has faced a star or star-in-the-making. He has faced pitchers like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tim Lincecum, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte in his career.