Strasburg, Nationals Look to Carry Momentum into San Francisco


Jun 6, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) signs autographs prior to the Nationals game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping below .500 for the first time all season and falling to third place in the division, the Washington Nationals have been on a hot streak of late that has put them in a three-way tie for first place in the National League East. The Nationals have dominated opponents over the past week, winning seven of their last nine games and scoring 53 runs along the way.

For the first two months of the season, the Nationals were already being written off as disappointments, similar to the 2013 ball club. But now, nine days into June, the Nationals are finally playing how they were expected to play before the season started.

Although the Nationals certainly appear to have turned things around this season, they’re new-found mojo will face a major test as they visit the San Francisco Giants, the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball.

Unlike the Nationals, the Giants have been tearing through the National League since day one. The 2010 and 2012 World Series Champions are already 21 games over .500 with a record of 42-21, and lead the Dodgers in the National League West by nine and a half games.

But as dominant as the Giants have been, the Nationals are also playing the best baseball they’ve played all season and this week’s series promises to be a must-watch for Nationals and Giants fans alike.

The series should get off to a strong start tonight as two of the best pitchers in the National League are set to square off in game one, which is scheduled to start at 10:15 p.m. EST.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the Nationals as he looks to build off of another solid start against the Phillies last Wednesday. While Strasburg gave up four runs (two earned), he still struck out 11 batters over seven innings of work and earned his second consecutive win. Wednesday’s start was the right-hander’s fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season. Prior to tonight’s game, Strasburg sits at 5-4 with a 3.10 ERA, the second lowest ERA among Nationals starters.

The Giants will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who also looks to continue his recent string of success. In his past eight starts, Vogelson is 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 52 and two-thirds innings of work. Vogelsong will pose an especially tough challenge for the Nationals as he boasts a minuscule 2.15 ERA in six starts at AT&T Park this season. 

Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:

Washington Nationals vs San Francisco Giants, 10:15 P.M. ET

Washington Nationals Lineup
  1. CF: Denard Span
  2. 3B: Kevin Frandsen
  3. RF: Jayson Werth
  4. 1B: Adam LaRoche
  5. LF: Ryan Zimmerman
  6. C: Wilson Ramos
  7. SS: Ian Desmond
  8. 2B: Danny Espinosa
  9. SP: Stephen Strasburg

San Francisco Giants Lineup

  1. CF: Gregor Blanco
  2. RF: Hunter Pence
  3. C: Buster Posey
  4. 3B: Pablo Sandoval
  5. 1B: Mike Morse
  6. LF: Tyler Colvin
  7. SS: Brandon Crawford
  8. 2B: Brandon Hicks
  9. SP: Ryan Vogelsong