Washington Nationals Series Preview: Cardinals-Nationals (4/21-4/23)

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Apr 15, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher

Lance Lynn

(31) throws the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday: Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 5.11) vs. Lance Lynn (1-1, 1.64)- 7:05 PM ET, MASN + MLB NETWORK

In two starts, Gonzalez has looked great at times. However, one of the problems for Gonzalez at times has been his command. He has walked six batters in 12.1 innings. Go back to his first start against the Phillies where he had six dominant innings, but his command got away from him in the 7th with two walks and a hit by pitch.

Last time out against the Red Sox, Gonzalez was given a 8-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning and you could make the case he pitched to the scoreboard. He only gave up three runs, but the four walks have to be somewhat concerning.

However, Gio has had great numbers against the Cardinals in his career. In 3 starts, he is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA. In 23 innings pitched (7+ innings in all three), he has given up only three runs combined. The only Cardinal to homer of Gonzalez is Jhonny Peralta, but keep an eye on Heyward, who is 6-for-25 with four RBI’s against the left hander.

As for Lance Lynn, Nats fans might remember him as the pitcher who gave up the walk-off home run to Jayson Werth in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. The 27-year old has given up just one run in each of his two starts and has 13 strikeouts to two walks.

Lynn mainly uses his fastball, but according to Fangraphs, he has used his slider about 18% of the time with a six mile per hour difference between his fastball and changeup.

Lynn, who has won 15+ games each of the last three seasons, is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five career games vs. the Nats. Two of those starts came last year, when he pitched to 0.86 ERA. He gave up one run, which was a home run by Danny Espinosa. Espinosa is 3-for-8 with two home runs and four RBI’s against him. The only other homer off of Lynn is from Bryce Harper.

Prediction: St. Louis takes the first game of the series. While both pitchers have good track records, Lynn is off to the better start and hasn’t shown the command issues that Gonzalez can have at times with his pitches. One bad inning against either of these offenses can be trouble (especially if Yunel Escobar is back), but the Cardinals find a way to win a 5-3 kind of game.