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

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May 9, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister (2-1, 2.87) vs. Tyson Ross (1-3, 3.98) , 10:10 PM ET, broadcast on MASN

Let’s start off by talking about Tyson Ross. The 28-year old right-hander has been with San Diego since 2013 and had a very good season last year, going 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA. However, while Ross has not been roughed up in any of his seven starts, he has not showed very good control.

He has not given up more than four earned runs in any starts and he is sixth in the National League in strikeouts (48), but he has walked more batters (23) than anyone in the NL. Ross has walked three batters or more in six of his seven starts this season. This should help someone like Bryce Harper, who has 30 walks in 35 games. Harper is 2-for-2 with a home run against Ross.

When you talk about Doug Fister, he has had an excellent start to the month of May. In two starts this month, he has a 2.08 ERA after having a 3.28 ERA in April. Last time out, against the Braves, Fister went 6.2 innings, gave up three runs on six hits, and struck out three.

Most important, Fister seems to have his control back as he has not walked a single batter in his last two starts. Plus, he has had 19 combined groundball outs. Playing at a pitcher’s park like PETCO should be perfect for a pitcher that relies on his sinker to get a multitude of groundball outs. The Padre who has the best success against Fister is Wil Middlebrooks. The former Red Sox third baseman is 2-for-5 with a RBI against him.

Advantage: As talented a pitcher as Tyson Ross is, the Nationals have a very good top of the order that knows how to stay patient and wait for their pitch. This is a game where Washington will take advantage of Ross’s tendency to walk hitters. That, along with Fister’s control, will get the series started for the Nats on the right foot.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup