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

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May 12, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Ian Kennedy (22) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg (2-3, 4.73) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-1, 5.03) – 4:10 PM ET, MASN2

After two very good starts in a row for Ian Kennedy, he had a rough start on Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. In that outing, the 30-year old righty gave up five runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings,. He would walk three batters and struck out two in the loss.

While Kennedy has given up two runs or fewer in three of his five starts, opponents are hitting .295 against him and he has given up 28 hits in 24.1 innings. He has especially struggled against left-handed hitters. Lefties against Kennedy are hitting .322 with four home runs and 12 RBI’s (righties hitting .250). Some of the hitters that have success against Kennedy on the Nationals are Jayson Werth (5-for-14, one home run, one RBI) and Ian Desmond (6-for-16).

As for Strasburg, he heads into this game coming off the worst start of his career in terms of runs allowed. On Tuesday, against the Diamondbacks, Strasburg went 3.1 innings, gave up eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits, struck out three and walked one. The San Diego native did not have much control of his pitches his last time out and it seems with him that if something goes wrong in an inning, he is not able to get out of it.

One thing the Nationals need him to do is to go deeper into games. He has averaged only 90 pitches per game thru seven starts and has gone over 100 pitches twice. At least, Strasburg is healthy, but the Nats need him to do much better than the 12.79 ERA he has in May so far. Justin Upton has a good history against Strasburg as he is 7-for-27 against him with one home run and four RBI’s.

Advantage: This one is going to be the game that has the most combined runs out of the four. Both pitchers are coming in off of shaky outings, but Kennedy has had more of the track record this season in terms of being consistent. Strasburg has yet to show that consistency. Maybe going back to his hometown will help him in this one, but I will go with the Padres to win the game and split the series.

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