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

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.88) vs. Adam Morgan (5-6, 4.60) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN2

Gio Gonzalez takes the ball for the Nats in the series finale. While he has been able to keep the runs he allows to a minimum, he has not been able to go deep into the game. In his last outing against the Marlins on September 11, Gonzalez went 5.1 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out four, and walked three in a no-decision.

Gonzalez has 15 walks in his last six starts and his 60 walks are ninth in the National League. That being said, he has only given up four earned runs in his last three starts. While he has seven walks this month, he has a 0.79 ERA in two September starts after having a 5.46 ERA in six starts back in August.

Against the Phillies this season, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts. For his career, he is 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 starts against Philadelphia. Jeff Francoeur (.269, 12 HR, 43 RBI’s) is 8-for-20 with two doubles, a home run, and three RBI’s against Gonzalez.

On Wednesday, the Nats will get their first look at Adam Morgan. Morgan is one of those pitchers along with Nola who made their Major League debut back in June. Morgan was supposed to face Gonzalez back on June 27, but rain forced the game to be cancelled after the two teams had played one inning.

In his last start on September 11 against the Cubs, the 25-year-old left-hander went five innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, struck out five, and walked one in a loss. In two starts this month, he has given up ten runs in 11.1 innings. On the mound, Morgan has an average velocity of 89 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs) along with a slider, breaking ball, and changeup.

Advantage: Just like facing Nola on Monday, the X-Factor will be how the Nats adjust to facing a pitcher they have not seen before. If Gonzalez can cut down on the walks and stay efficient in this game, I like the Nationals to come out of Philadelphia with a series win.

Next: Nats Need To Start Looking Ahead To 2016

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