Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Brewers (8/21-8/23)

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Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Nelson (9-9, 3.61 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (9-5, 3.86) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN2

As I mentioned earlier, Nelson leads the Brewers in every statistical category. Plus, the 26-year-old right-hander has found his form of late. In his last ten starts, Nelson is 6-1 with a 2.31 ERA and he has given up nine total runs in his last six starts (3-0, 1.99).

It has been night and day for Nelson since the All-Star Break. Before the second half began, he was 6-9 with a 4.21 ERA and had opponents hitting .253 against him. In the last six games, opposing batters have hit a mere .199. While Nelson’s control has been better, he still has 50 walks this season, which is in the top ten in the National League.

Nelson did face the Nationals back on June 13 and gave up seven runs on ten hits in five innings of work during a 7-2 Nats win. Those seven runs were the most he has allowed in a game this season. During that start, Wilson Ramos went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI’s.

As for Gio Gonzalez, he is trying to bounce back after his worst start of the season against the Giants. Last Saturday, Gonzalez went 2.2 innings, gave up six runs on five hits, struck out one, and walked two on 65 pitches. In that loss, Gonzalez only got three swinging strikes and only threw first pitch strikes to five hitters.

Now, the question that has to be answered is whether or not that bad start for Gonzalez is a blip or will it turn into a trend? Despite that clunker, the 29-year-old left-hander is 3-1 in six starts since the break with a 3.45 ERA. Plus, Gonzalez has been able to shut down opposing hitters at home this season. In nine home outings, he is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA (4-4, 4.84 in 13 road starts).

In his career, Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.235, 4 HR, 26 RBI’s) is 3-for-5 against Gonzalez with two RBI’s and three walks.

Advantage: This pitching matchup is interesting because it comes down to which trend ends up holding true between Nelson’s string of great starts and Gonzalez’s rough outing against the Giants. Plus, how do the Nats respond after a tough loss in Colorado? With Nelson pitching well, Washington has had their offensive struggles the last couple of days and I could see that happening again in this game. Gonzalez keeps the Nats in it, but Nelson and the Brewers edge out a low scoring game.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup

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