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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.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.