Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals-Marlins (4/24-4/26)

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Apr 21, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Gio Gonzalez

(47) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday: Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 3.44 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (1-1, 3.32 ERA), 1:10 pm EST, MASN2 and WUSA 9

Both Gio Gonzalez and Dan Haren have pitched well to start the 2015 season. Both of them so far have accumulated ERA’s right in line with their career numbers.

Haren’s last outing was against the Phillies, which was a loss for him, where he gave up four earned runs in six innings. He was hurt by two home runs and by walking three batters. His control was off during the game.

Gonzalez’s last start was his best of the year so far. He pitched six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals and did not allow an earned run. The Nationals rode Gio’s start to a victory against the Cards. Although Gio allowed eight hits, he danced out of trouble every time there were runners on base. His high pitch count because of all the base runners is why he only pitched six innings. He was also clearly tiring during the sixth inning.

Haren has pitched seven innings in one game, and six in the other two. Gio has not pitched more than six innings this year. Neither pitcher has been stretched by number of innings, but Gio has had a high pitch count in each of his starts due to the amount of walks and hits he has allowed. Haren only pitched six innings (79 pitches) in his first start of the year, but has thrown 97 and 102 pitches in his last two start respectively.

The bullpens may be the deciding factor in this matchup. If both pitchers get through the sixth inning, the teams will be looking to their relievers to finish out this game.

Both teams have had their bullpen issues. The Nationals have not settled on roles with their relievers and have had to fill the pen with a lot of young arms due to injuries to Casey Janssen and Craig Stammen. The Nats bullpen is still a work in progress and has been inconsistent.

The Marlins bullpen has had its problems to start the year. Closer Steve Cishek had a terrible first outing where he gave up four earned runs. He gave up a run in his second appearance, but gave up no runs in his next two outings and is reverting to his usual lights out form.

Mike Dunn started out the season fine, but has gotten worse over his last three games and his ERA is now 9.00. Brad Hand and Henderson Alvarez have gotten lit up at times. However, A. J. Ramos has been stellar, and Sam Dyson and Bryan Morris have performed well.

This pitching matchup and bullpen matchup is a toss up. So much will depend on which members of the respective teams bullpens are available. If the Nats see Hand and Alvarez, advantage to the Nationals. If the Washington hitters have to deal with Ramos, Dyson and Morris, the advantage goes to the Fish.

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