Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Diamondbacks (8/3-8/6)

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Jul 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Rubby De La Rosa (8-5, 4.49) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.75) – 7:05 PM, MASN2

It’s been an up-and-down season for De La Rosa, but the 26-year-old right-hander has the most wins and strikeouts of any Arizona pitcher in the rotation. In five starts during the month of July, he went 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA and had 16 strikeouts to 11 walks.

Despite those average numbers, De La Rosa has looked strong since coming out of the All-Star Break. In three starts since then, the former Red Sox pitcher is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA. He is a different pitcher away from Chase Field this season. Over the course of 11 road starts, he is 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in ten games (6-1, 4.11 ERA in 10 home games).

De La Rosa faced the Nationals this season back on May 12. In that game, he went seven innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked two in a 14-6 Arizona win. Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 that night with a home run and two RBI’s.

While Gio Gonzalez held the Mets to one run in his last start on July 31, he was not able to go deep into the game because of that command. In that start, Gonzalez went 4.2 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out six, and walked four (tied for a season-high) in a no-decision.

Despite that rough start last Friday, Gonzalez was the best pitcher during the month of July for the Nationals. In five starts, the 29-year-old left-hander went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and held opponents to a .241 batting average. At Nats Park this season, Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA in eight starts (3-3, 4.80 away ERA in 11 starts).

Back on May 13, Gonzalez had a rough outing against the D’Backs, which included a mound visit where manager Matt Williams had some stern words for him. In five innings, Gonzalez gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out three, and walked two in a no-decision. He is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts against Arizona. Goldschmidt is 4-for-6 with a double, triple, and RBI.

Advantage: Both of these pitchers have showed inconsistency at times this season, so this game could go either way. This one will go down to the bullpens, which could be a problem considering Matt Williams’ mismanagement of the ‘pen lately. That being said, the Drew StorenJonathan Papelbon combination should be enough for Washington to get a close win here.

Next: Thursday's Matchup