Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Padres (5/14-5/17)

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May 10, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After taking two out of three games from the Arizona Diamondbacks to begin their west coast trip, the Washington Nationals (19-16) will end their road trip at PETCO Park when they take on the San Diego Padres for a four game series, beginning tonight.

Washington brought the offense to the ballpark at Chase Field, including yet another home run by Bryce Harper and a five-hit night for Yunel Escobar on Monday, and Wilson Ramos continuing his hit streak as it is now at 15 games, a new career high for him. Of course, the series ended with a grand slam by Michael Taylor in the ninth inning on Wednesday.

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At the beginning of the season, a lot of people saw this matchup as a playoff preview, especially after all the moves the Padres made this winter. After going 77-85 last season, new GM A.J. Preller went out and made trades, including one involving the Nationals, to acquire a whole new outfield that features Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton. So far, Upton is hitting .276 with eight home runs and 24 RBI’s. Myers is hitting .291 with five home runs and 19 RBI’s, but he has a wrist injury at the moment. Meanwhile, Kemp has only hit one home run in 34 games.

Even with all those moves, including the trade of Derek Norris (.295 batting average), the Padres weren’t done. They signed James Shields to help their young rotation. Then, on the night of the regular season, Preller made the ultimate splash and traded for superstar closer Craig Kimbrel along with outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. So far, Kimbrel has ten saves in 11 chances, but has a ERA of 5.93.

Right now, San Diego is 18-17 and they are five games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. They do lead all of baseball in quality starts (23) but have a team ERA of 4.22. In addition, their bullpen ERA is at 4.82, which is the third worst in the National League.

That being said, this should be a great series between these two teams. Let’s take a look at the four pitching matchups, starting with tonight’s game between Doug Fister and Tyson Ross, who is the older brother of Nats’ prospect Joe Ross (who is in double-A Harrisburg):

Next: Tonight's Matchup