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.
Halladay leaves Phils due to family matter
ATLANTA -- Roy Halladay left the Phillies following Wednesday's 15-13 loss against the Braves to attend to a family matter.
The right-hander is expected to rejoin the team for Friday's game against the Nationals in Washington.
Halladay told manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee on Tuesday that he needed to leave. Halladay blew a six-run lead on Wednesday, allowing 12 hits and eight earned runs in six innings. It was just the second time in his career that Halladay allowed 12 or more hits and eight or more earned runs in a game.
The Phillies said Halladay is healthy.
Halladay's teams are 110-9 when he is spotted a four-run lead, making Wednesday a rarity.
"At times it doesn't seem like his stuff is accelerating through the hitting zone," Dubee said. "At times it does."
Dubee said that could be related to the heat, release point or other factors. He said Wednesday simply wasn't a good night for his ace. Halladay allowed six runs in the fifth inning, the first time that's happened to him since 2007.
"I think everything happened real quick," catcher Carlos Ruiz said. "I think they were sitting on pitches and they didn't miss. They were aggressive early. Then they slowed down. They had a very good idea at home plate."
Victorino will be reunited with Nats' Harper
ATLANTA -- Shane Victorino, like everybody else, is looking forward to this weekend's series at Nationals Park.
It will be a good test for the Phillies, who have won six of their last nine games.
It also will be Victorino's first opportunity to see Nationals rookie Bryce Harper in a big league uniform.
Victorino and Harper both reside in Las Vegas in the offseason, and Victorino has occasionally worked out with the 19-year-old phenom. He said he likes Harper, who has a reputation for being arrogant or cocky.
"He was in the outfield and he was asking questions and wanting to learn," said Victorino, who worked out with Harper just before they left for Spring Training in February.
"We were talking baseball. He was very humble. I can see where people are going to feel that way about him. Like I say the same thing too. Like, really? Come on, Bryce. But I look at it like at 14 years old, this guy was known as the best player in the country. And in all of his life, that's all he's ever known. So he has to go out there with some kind of confidence.
"Again, some of the things he's done I disagree with, but it's a learning process," Victorino added. "What impressed me most about the kid is he wants to work hard. He wants to learn. He has all the talent in the world. I haven't been in camp with him. I'm just going off working with him in the offseason, living in Vegas and hitting with him. I've definitely seen a maturity over the years of working out with him. ... From what I've seen so far of his big league performance, I love the fact he's playing the game hard. That's important to me. Not just slacking. But don't get me wrong, I want to take it to him when I see him this week."
So, who has the better arm?
"I got him," said Victorino, who belted a two-run homer to cap the Phils' 4-0 win over the Braves on Thursday.
Ruiz's big night spoiled with walk-off loss
ATLANTA -- Carlos Ruiz had a career-high seven RBIs on Wednesday, but he did not get a chance to enjoy it.
"It was a nice game, but we still lost," he said. "I feel like I could have called a better game. But at the same time, you have to give credit to Atlanta. They never gave up. They were fighting."
Some facts on Ruiz's night:
Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, no Phillies catcher had that many RBIs in a game.
Ruiz was the first player to have seven RBIs in a game since Jayson Werth had eight on May 16, 2008, against the Blue Jays.
No Phillies player had seven RBIs on the road since Greg Luzinski on June 11, 1977.
More facts from the Phillies' 15-13 loss in 11 innings to the Braves on Wednesday at Turner Field:
The last time the Phillies scored 13 or more runs in a game and lost was Aug. 3, 1969, against Cincinnati. The Phils dropped that one, 19-17.
The last time the Phillies and their opponent each scored 13 or more runs in a game was Aug. 10, 1989, against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Phillies won, 16-13.
Wednesday was the highest-scoring extra-innings game in the National League since July 4, 1985, when the Mets beat Atlanta, 16-13, in 19 innings.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.