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

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Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Joe Ross (3-4, 3.44) vs. Madison Bumgarner (13-6, 3.15) – 4:05 PM ET, MASN2

Last time out, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, Joe Ross did not show the same pinpoint command that Nats’ fans are used to seeing from him. The 22-year-old right-hander went 4.2 innings, gave up five runs on six hits, struck out one, and walked four in the loss. He has now lost three of his last four decisions.

One of the things to keep an eye on in this start for Ross is his command of his slider. In the fourth inning, Ross left a slider over the plate to Yasiel Puig and he made him pay for it by crushing a home run. Ross has given up at least one home run in each of his last four starts, but it will be interesting to see if pitching at AT&T Park might help out those home run numbers.

However, once again, Ross has to go up against another team’s ace in Madison Bumgarner. On Tuesday night, against the Astros, the 26-year-old right-hander threw a complete game, gave up one run on five hits, struck out 12, and did not walk a single batter.

Since the All-Star break, the Giants’ ace is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts. He has given up ten runs in 31 innings, but six of those runs came in one start against the Rangers on July 31. Plus, Bumgarner has been excellent at home this season. In 12 starts, he is 6-2 with a 2.28 ERA (7-4, 4.16 ERA in 11 road starts).

Back on July 4, Bumgarner struggled at Nats Park as he could not adjust to the unique 11 AM ET start time. In that outing, he went five innings, gave up six runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked one in a loss. He is 2-4 with a 3.42 ERA in eight starts vs. the Nats. Bryce Harper is 4-for-11 with two home runs and three RBI’s against him.

Advantage: While I do expect Ross to bounce back and put up a quality outing, going up against another ace on the road is going to be challenging for a lineup that couldn’t get any runs against Greinke and Kershaw. I like the Giants to win this game and get a split of the four game series.

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