Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Padres (8/25-8/27)

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Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.32) vs. Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.98) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN

Tyson will be the first of the two Ross brothers to make a start in this series. In Tyson’s last start against the Braves on August 19, he went six innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out five, and walked three in a no-decision. He has not won a game in his last three starts.

One of the problems for Ross this season after having a 2.81 ERA in 31 starts last season has been his command. The 28-year-old has 70 walks this season (leads the league) after having only 72 walks a season ago. Even though Ross’ command has not been great, he still is one of the best groundball pitchers in the game and he has not given up more than three runs in a game since June 15 against the A’s (12 starts).

In five games (two starts) against the Nats, Ross is 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA. Back on May 14, Ross went five innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out six, and walked three in a 8-3 Padres’ win. Anthony Rendon is 2-for-5 against him with a home run and three RBI’s.

After being the Nats’ best starter during the month of July, Gio Gonzalez has struggled and gone back to his inconsistent form that he had during the beginning of the season. In four starts this month, he is 1-2 with a 5.23 ERA and opponents are hitting .326 against him. Gonzalez gets the start in this game because the Nationals are aligning their rotation to get their top three starters to face the Mets in a couple of weeks:

Against the Brewers on August 21, he went five innings, gave up five runs (four earned runs) on eight hits, struck out five, and walked two. Gonzalez has walked ten batters in his last five starts and has given up 11 runs over his last 7.2 innings. If the Nats are going to make that last playoff push, they need Gonzalez to bounce back and put together a great outing.

In three starts against the Padres, Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA. Justin Upton is 5-for-16 against him with three home runs, four RBI’s, and six walks.

Advantage: While I expect Gonzalez to pitch better, I am going to go with the Padres in this one. Even though Ross has been struggling this season, his ability to get key groundball outs is going to help him in this game and get San Diego the victory.

Next: Thursday's Matchup