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

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg (6-5. 4.76 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 4.26) – 10:15 PM ET, broadcast on MASN + MLB Network

Last Saturday, Stephen Strasburg made his return to the Nationals rotation and he definitely made his presence known right away. Against the Rockies, Strasburg went seven innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out 12 batters (season-high) and did not walk a batter.

Even though Strasburg has been on the disabled list twice, he has not lost a start since May 23 against the Phillies (five starts). He has given up three earned runs combined in his last four starts. If Strasburg can continue to show the dominance he did in his last start, he could be a big X-Factor for the Nats down the stretch.

Strasburg is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in six starts against San Francisco. He made one start against them this season. On July 4, he gave up one hit in the first 3.2 innings before leaving the game with a left oblique injury. Brandon Crawford (.267, 19 HR, 71 RBI’s) is 3-for-10 against him with four RBI’s.

Due to the injuries in the Giants rotation, Vogelsong has had to go back to being a starter. In his last start against the Cubs on August 7, Vogelsong went four innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked one in the loss.

As a starter this season, the 38-year-old right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 17 starts. While his command has improved since moving to the bullpen, Vogelsong still has 44 walks this season. He faced the Nats on July 5 and had his start end early after being thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes. He gave up one run on three hits, struck out three, and walked two over four innings in a no-decision.

In ten appearances against the Nationals, Vogelsong is 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA. Ian Desmond is 4-for-12 against him with one home run and six RBI’s.

Advantage: While Vogelsong has a 3.00 ERA in ten home outings this year (5.19 ERA on the road), having a pitcher like Strasburg who has 23 strikeouts in his last two games (counting the 11 K’s in his rehab game at Syracuse), the Nationals should have the edge in this one as their lineup will be able to work up Vogelsong’s pitch count and get to the San Francisco bullpen early.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup