The Nationals will open their 18-game season series against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight, the team they took Jayson Werth from and the divisional bully they’ve lost to 51 times in their last 72 meetings.

“The Phillies have been the benchmark of success in the National League East for four or five years now,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “You kind of like to see where you in comparison to them. You pay a lot of respect that’s due to the champions. Certainly, we’ve got to start closing the gap there a little bit and put some pressure on them and the Braves.”

With Joe Blanton pitching tonight before the Nationals have to face Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and with their own opening day starter, Livan Hernandez, on the mound, this could be their best chance to start closing that gap. Talk about the game right here. And follow along with the live box score.