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09/26/10 1:14 PM ET

Doc, Phillies go for NL East clincher in DC

Nationals Park is expected to become a colony of Citizens Bank Park on Monday night, jammed with commuting Philadelphia fans on hand to see the Phillies try to clinch their fourth consecutive National League East title.

Behind Roy Halladay, the Phillies get a chance to close the deal against the team which helped bring them to the brink -- the Nationals, who ruined Atlanta's division hopes by taking two of three from the Braves over the weekend.

Atlanta is still very much in focus in the NL Wild Card picture, but Philadelphia's fate as a rare four-time champ is all but sealed.

The first crack at detonating the celebration fittingly goes to Halladay, whose distinguished career finally has a date with October. Halladay has been a driving force in the Phillies' pennant drive with a 4-0 September, the last of those wins his 20th of the season.

Taking the mound with the hammer that could drive the final nail into the Braves' championship coffin won't affect Doc's competitiveness, which is always set on "high" anyway.

"From my standpoint, I expect to do well every time I go out," Halladay said. "My expectations are the same, my approach is the same. The emphasis on the game, when you get to this point in the season, is obviously more important."

Despite the spotless record, Halladay has labored somewhat with a 4.55 ERA this season. Aware of the possible draining effect of his 241 2/3-inning workload, manager Charlie Manuel has given him an extra day of rest before a second consecutive start.

Not the best of news for the Nationals: As good as is Halladay on normal four days' rest, he has been dirty this season with that extra fifth day, going 8-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 starts.

So this is a worthy challenge for John Lannan, the young Washington lefty who has won six of eight decisions since rejoining the rotation from Double-A Harrisburg at the beginning of August. Furthermore, Lannan has pitched to a 3.16 ERA in that stretch, compared to 5.76 before the demotion.

It will be interesting to see who will be the first batter Lannan sees: Jimmy Rollins, whose pinch-hitting appearance late in Sunday's game may have been the precursor to his return to the starting lineup? Or Shane Victorino, who has done a splendid job filling in as the leadoff man during Rollins' absence with a strained hamstring?

Victorino has led off in the last 18 games. The Phils have won 15 of them, with Victorino batting .343 (23-for-67) in those games; in the three losses, Victorino has gone 2-for-11.

Phillies: Sellouts continue in Philly
The Phillies ended their home schedule with a franchise-record total attendance of 3,647,249, selling out all 81 games, part of their ongoing streak of 123 consecutive sellouts at Citizens Bank Park.

Nationals: Dunn closing in on 40 homers
Adam Dunn, Mr. Forty, has six games remaining to get the three home runs he needs to reach 40 -- again. Dunn hit that number exactly every season from 2005-08, and just missed with 38 in '09, his first season in Washington. ... Ryan Zimmerman sat out the weekend series against the Braves with a strain on his right rib cage.

Worth noting
Did the NL East title come down to the Nationals? In one very real sense, yes -- the Nats wound up with a 10-8 edge over the Braves and, with these three games to go, are 5-10 against the Phillies. There, essentially, is your six-game spread in the standings.

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