Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats At Giants (8/13-8/16)

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Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals (58-55) started off their West Coast trip in Los Angeles and ended up losing two out of three games to the Dodgers. While the offense scored eight runs and got two home runs from Ian Desmond in a win on Monday, the bats went quiet in the final two games against Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. The Nats will go into this series on a 19-inning scoreless streak.

As for the pitchers on the mound, the Nats got good performances from Gio Gonzalez in a win on Monday and Jordan Zimmermann was solid on Wednesday, despite getting the hard luck loss against Kershaw. With the Mets sweeping the Colorado Rockies, the Nationals are now four games back in the NL East and they have lost eight of the 12 games they have played this month.

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Tonight, the Nats begin a four game series out in AT&T Park against the defending World Series champion, the San Francisco Giants (60-53). Back in July, the Nats swept the Giants in Washington, outscoring Bruce Bochy’s club 14-5 in the three games. San Francisco comes into this series, having lost seven of their last ten games and they are 3.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

This month, San Francisco is 4-7 and they have been a team that has been bit by the injury bug. Right now, they have three starters on the disabled list in Tim Hudson, Mike Leake (who was acquired from the Reds at the trade deadline), and Tim Lincecum. Their starters’ ERA of 3.90 is seventh in the National League, just behind the Nationals (3.68).

On offense, the Giants are without second baseman Joe Panik and outfielder Angel Pagan, who are both on the DL. That being said, San Francisco has scored 111 runs since the All-Star Break, which is fifth in the National League. First baseman Brandon Belt has eight home runs in his last 24 games and catcher Buster Posey is hitting .393 over his last 22 games.

When you look at San Francisco’s bullpen, they are fourth in the NL in ERA (3.35). Santiago Casilla has 27 saves, but he has blown five saves this season. However, the Giants have some good middle relievers, such as left-hander Javier Lopez (1.45 ERA in 55 games) and right-hander George Kontos (1.95 ERA in 53 games).

With that being said, let’s take a look at who has the edge in each of the four pitching matchups:

Next: Tonight's Matchup