Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Phillies (6/26-6/28)

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Jun 21, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 4.41 ERA) v. Adam Morgan (1-0, 1.59 ERA) Saturday, 3:05 PM EST on MASN

For the second game of the three-game set, the Nationals start Gio Gonzalez against Adam Morgan for the Phillies.

Gio is coming of seven solid innings against the Pirates, giving up no runs on four. It was an outstanding start, following the pattern of all the Nats’ starters this past week, but it came on the heels of a poor start against Tampa Bay. Gio gave up eight hits and five runs in only 3.1 innings of work in that outing.

This has been the story of Gio’s season so far this year. He seems to have a great start followed by a disaster of a start. Gonzalez is much better better starter at home than he is on the road, sporting a 2.65 ERA at home against a 5.89 ERA on the road, which could explain some of his inconsistencies. He is also an extreme ground ball pitcher this year with a 2.98 GB/FB ratio with a high BABIP at .354. He should be pitching just a bit better than he is right now, but since he is on the road, it is difficult to tell which Gio we will get.

The Phillies start Adam Morgan, who was solid his last start. He went 5.2 innings and gave up one run on six hits in a win over the Cardinals. Morgan is a rookie who was drafted in 2011 from Alabama and had a decent year in A-ball with a 3.35 ERA over 159 innings in 2012.

He might have moved up the ladder a bit too quick as his numbers suffered in Triple-A in 2013 and spent all of 2014 recovering from a torn rotator cuff. He was not on anyone’s radar this year as he started off going 0-6 in the minors with a 4.74 ERA. His decent performance is probably a result of baseball sometimes being unpredictable and I do not think he will have a repeat performance.

Advantage: Gio Gonzalez

Gio is the clear favorite going into the matchup with the rookie and look for him to have a solid outing. I still do not know what we are going to get from Gio from start-to-start. He is on the road, where he pitches a bit worse than at home, but I think he will be good enough to get the win. Look for the Nats to jump all over the rookie and go into the series finale up two games.

Next: Sunday's Matchup