The Philadelphia Phillies will open a crucial four-game homestand against the visiting Washington Nationals with a rookie right-hander on the mound.

Spencer Howard, one of the most prized prospects in the organization, will look to continue the Phillies’ recent surge in his fourth start of the season.

Though the Phillies fell 12-10 Sunday night to the Atlanta Braves, they rallied from a 10-0 deficit and still took two of three in the series.

Howard, who’s 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA, has yet to pitch more than 4 2/3 innings in any of his three starts.

He will be making his first start since Aug. 20 and he realizes that he must command all of his pitches to be successful.

“Probably some of it stems from not locating offspeed as well so these teams tend to gear more towards the fastball,” Howard said. “I’m just trying to get back to where I can have good locations with all my pitches.”

Despite a rough beginning, the young pitcher already has plenty of support from the entire organization.

“He’s got big-league stuff,” Bryce Harper said of Howard. “Everybody knows that. It’s just trying to hone it in, calm it down a little bit. He’s going to be just fine for us. We’re very excited about what we’ve seen. He just has to get comfortable and have some fun. Enjoy his time. He’s a guy that’s going to be a dude for us.”

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