In the second game of a three-game set on Wednesday night, Philadelphia will be looking for a series victory over the first-place Nationals, despite the reality that Tuesday's Deadline brought to the organization, namely that the 2012 season has evolved into one focused on the future moreso than the present.
"We have some holes to fill and some things to improve on, obviously," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of the trades that sent Victorino to Los Angeles and Pence to San Francisco. "I think this gives us a better chance to do that."
Since the Phillies won their first of five straight division crowns in 2007, the Nationals, it seemed, were perennially in the position that the Phillies find themselves in right now -- fighting for the future.
All the while, Washington was building a young, talented core with the goal of becoming a consistent threat in the National League East. In that sense, Nats manager Davey Johnson said he sees similarities between his squad and the mid-2000s Phillies.
"What did they win the division, five straight years or something? They were very well put together," Johnson said. "We like to feel like we're kind of in that situation they were in a couple years ago. Our starting pitching's pretty good. Our defensive, offensive side is pretty good. I think we're a little younger."
Of course, that streak of division crowns isn't over just yet. The Phillies are the reigning champions, as they have been in each of the last five seasons. But that streak appears destined to come to an end this year, as entering August the Nationals' lead over Philadelphia has grown to 15 1/2 games.
That prompted the pair of moves on Wednesday in which the Phillies acquired outfielder Nate Schierholtz and prospects Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin from the Giants, and reliever Josh Lindblom and prospect Ethan Martin from the Dodgers.
"Our opponents across the way were obviously very busy," Johnson said. "I wasn't sure watching the MLB Network who was going to start against us. They still have a lot of talent over there."
Edwin Jackson (6-6, 3.52 ERA) gets the ball for the Nationals, coming off seven scoreless innings on Thursday night against Milwaukee. He has faced the Phillies once this season, allowing three runs in seven innings while taking the loss on May 23.
Righty starter Vance Worley will start for Philadelphia, hoping to regain his form after struggling in his last five starts. During that time, Worley is 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA, and opponents are hitting .353 against him. Despite his poor performance recently, Worley's ERA sits at 3.88 for the season.
Phillies: Brown called up from Triple-A
In the wake of trades that sent two starting outfielders across the country to NL West teams, the Phillies called up outfielder Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
Brown played in Tuesday night's series opener, notching a pinch-hit single. He was hitting .286 with five homers in 60 games this season for the IronPigs.
Last season, Brown played 56 games with Philadelphia, posting a .245 average with five homers.
Nationals: Depth means no Deadline moves for Nats
The Nationals' depth has been a vital part of their success this season, and that was made clear with Tuesday's Trade Deadline.
Washington was notably absent from any big-time trade rumors leading up to the Deadline, and the club remained inactive as it passed, a testament to organizational depth, general manager Mike Rizzo said.
"It's not about complacency. It's about making good, sound decisions and not taking the short route with rental players that could affect us long term," Rizzo said. "We feel we're in position to play meaningful games this September and beyond, and there wasn't a whole lot of necessity to make a deal."
Despite their 1-3 record on their current road trip, Phillies pitchers have held opposing hitters to just a .192 batting average so far.
The Nats have posted a +74 run differential this season. In seven previous seasons in D.C., the Nationals did not post a positive run differential at season's end.
In nine at-bats against Jackson, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has five hits -- two of them doubles.