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

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May 5, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) pitches during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday: Stephen Strasburg (2-3, 4.73 ERA) vs. Rubby De La Rosa (3-2, 4.38 ERA), 9:40 pm EST, MASN2

Stephen Strasburg is currently scheduled to make the start on Tuesday against the D’backs. Strasburg left his last start with pain in his shoulder blade, which he says was related to changing the way he throws to compensate for a sore ankle. Treatment has apparently resolved those issues.

During that last start, Strasburg only lasted three innings before he was pulled when it was apparent he was having trouble loosening his shoulder and had pain when throwing pitches. He gave up two runs in those three innings. He took the loss because the Nationals were unable to score more than one run in the game.

Strasburg in his career has pitched very well against the Diamondbacks whether he has faced them at Nats Park or Chase Field. He has five starts against Arizona. His record is 4-1 and has never allowed more than two earned runs in any of the games he has pitched against them.

Rubby De La Rosa has been inconsistent as a starter this year. When he is good, he is very very good. His last start was a three hit shutout of the Padres. He only gave up one earned run in a loss to the Pirates when his team gave him no run support. Balanced against that is a loss to the Dodgers back on May 1 when he allowed five runs in five innings. Against the San Francisco Giants in the series opener, he allowed six runs on eight hits.

De La Rosa has allowed at least one home run in four of his starts this year and the only games in which he did not allow a long ball were the gems he pitched against the Padres and the Pirates. He walks on average two batters per game.

How this game will go for the Nationals will depend upon which De La Rosa shows up at the ballpark on Tuesday: The one that allows home runs or the one that doesn’t. If the Nationals connect on the long ball–look out Diamondbacks.