Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Diamondbacks (5/11-5/13)

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May 8, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals start a seven game road trip to the West Coast tonight with a three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Washington comes into this series having won four straight games and 10 of their last 12.

The Diamondbacks had a rough year in 2014, ending with a record of 64-98. The organization fired manager Kirk Gibson before the season was over. The team is in rebuilding mode, looking to turn things around. That being said, Arizona has had a decent start to the season. The Diamondbacks are 14-16 and six games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

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The Diamondbacks fortunes rise and fall on their best player, Paul Goldschmidt. The first baseman was hurt for a significant portion of last season, which is one reason why the Diamondbacks had a miserable season last year. Goldschmidt has begun the season hitting .345 with nine home runs and appears to be completely back to normal.

Center fielder A.J. Pollock is hitting .306 and outfielder Mark Trumbo is contributing with a .287 batting average and four home runs. Newcomer Jake Lamb has been impressive defensively at third base and at the plate, as he was hitting .404 before suffering a stress injury in his left foot. He went on the DL April 21st and was expected to be out of the lineup for three weeks. The Nationals won’t see Lamb in this series, but they will see one of Arizona’s big offseason acquisitions in Yasmany Tomas. Tomas is hitting .296 with no home runs and seven RBI’s on the season

The biggest hole in the D’Backs lineup is Nick Ahmed, the shortstop, who is only hitting .133. Second baseman Cliff Pennington is hitting .194, having his struggles at the plate. One of the bizarre choices that Arizona has made this year is replacing Aaron Hill with Pennington. The Nats have to hope they see more Pennington and less Hill for the series. Most of the rest of the team is hitting north of .250, except for catcher Tuffy Gosewisch who is contributing with a .229 average.

The Nationals counterpart to Paul Goldschmidt is Bryce Harper, who has been hot lately. Harper has a league leading 11 home runs and is hitting .300 with a slugging percentage of .655. Ryan Zimmerman had a good series against the Braves, and has been hitting better over the last seven games. Plus, Wilson Ramos heads into this series with a 13-game hitting streak.

The biggest hole in the Nationals lineup right now is Jayson Werth, who is only hitting .190 and often looks lost at the plate.

The Nationals will have an advantage in this series if it comes down a save situation. Drew Storen has and ERA of 1.29 and nine saves. The Diamondbacks closer, Addison Reed, has an ERA of 4.00 and two saves.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the projected pitching matchups for the series.

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