The game will mark the first time Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels faces Washington outfielder Bryce Harper since the former admitted to intentionally hitting the latter in a May 6 Phillies win at Nationals Park. Hamels claimed after the game that the pitch that hit Harper's back was intended as a "welcome to the big leagues," and he was suspended five games by Major League Baseball.
The incident contributed to a growing rivalry between the two clubs. "Yeah, I think it could be a really good rivalry," Hamels said after beating the Nationals. "We're so close. Our fans can drive down, their fans can drive up. Their team is starting to peak into a really good, competitive team. "
Not to be lost in the buildup to the individual showdown, however, is that Hamels dominated Washington that day, throwing eight innings of one-run ball. Harper scored that run, stealing home while Hamels made a pickoff throw to first.
It's been a one-sided rivalry so far this year, to be sure. Hamels' outing was the Phillies' only victory over the Nationals in five tries this year, which includes a pair of losses this series. Washington won on Monday, 2-1, behind Gio Gonzalez and 5-2 on Tuesday thanks to a strong effort by Jordan Zimmermann. Edwin Jackson will try to lead Washington to the sweep.
Harper, who has gone 4-for-9 in the first two games of this series, said on Sunday that he's not thinking about the incident.
"This is a new series, a new day, and I have a lot of respect for everybody in that other dugout," Harper said. "They have an All-Star team ... guys who are All-Stars and who have been in this league for a long time."
Phillies: Worley's diagnosis confirmed
Right-hander Vance Worley rejoined the Phillies on Tuesday after visiting renowned orthopedist James Andrews on Monday in Pensacola, Fla.
Worley, who is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow and a bone chip, said Andrews confirmed the club's diagnosis. Worley also said Tuesday that his visit with Andrews led him to believe he won't need Tommy John surgery.
"Immediately after he just grabbed my arm, he knew it wasn't Tommy John," said Worley, who could resume throwing this week. "That was good. Now I've just got to go out and get it going."
When asked if he was confident he could pitch the rest of 2012 with the bone chip, Worley said, "It doesn't feel good, but I can do it."
Before going on the DL, Worley was 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA in seven starts. Kyle Kendrick has taken his spot in the rotation and pitched well in Worley's absence, going 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
Nationals: Wang activated; Mattheus to DL
The Nationals activated right-hander Chien-Ming Wang from the 15-day DL on Tuesday and shelved right-hander Ryan Mattheus. Mattheus has a plantar fascia strain in his left foot.
Mattheus was 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 19 games this season. He underwent an X-ray and was expected to see a foot specialist on Tuesday in Baltimore.
Wang, who was 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 2011, will be a long reliever in the Nationals' bullpen.
Jackson, who will start for Washington on Wednesday, beat Philadelphia as a member of the Cardinals in Game 4 of last season's National League Division Series. In the game, Jackson allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. He is 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA this season.
Hamels is 11-4, with a 2.62 ERA in 21 career starts against the Nationals.