Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Phillies (9/14-9/16)

3 of 4

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg (8-7, 4.30) vs. David Buchanan (2-8, 9.11) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN2

After missing one start due to back tightness, Stephen Strasburg re-entered the rotation against the Mets on September 9. In that outing, he went 7.1 innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out 13 batters (a season-high) and walked one on 103 pitches. However, he would get the loss because of Yoenis Cespedes hitting a two-run homer off Drew Storen in the eighth.

That being said, Strasburg has still been very good since he returned to the rotation in August. Over his last six starts, he is 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA, has 48 strikeouts to just four walks, and has held opponents to a .193 batting average. If the velocity is there on his fastball, he is going to have success.

In three starts against the Phillies this season, he is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA. He is 6-2 in 14 career starts against Philadelphia with a 2.48 ERA. Ryan Howard is 5-for-25 with two RBI’s against him.

It’s been a rough season for Buchanan as he has gone back-and-forth between the rotation and the bullpen. He made his first start since August 11 on September 9 against the Braves. After giving up 11 runs in 1.2 innings against Arizona in August, Buchanan went 3.1 innings, gave up four runs on ten hits, and walked three hitters in a loss.

The 26-year-old right-hander has not been able to go deep into games this year as he only averages about 83 pitches per start. Plus, due to his high ERA, opponents have been able to hit .373 against him.

Buchanan faced the Nationals back on April 19 at Nats Park. He went five innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out four, and walked three in a loss. He is 0-2 with a 8.18 ERA in two outings vs. the Nats in his career. Ian Desmond is 3-for-6 against him with a double, a home run, and two RBI’s.

Advantage: On paper, this one looks to be a mismatch in favor of the Nationals, but that is why they play the games. Nevertheless, if Strasburg shows no problems with his back, he should be able to put up another good outing against a pitcher that has to be lacking confidence in Buchanan. Nats break out the bats and cruise to a win.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup