Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Marlins (9/17-9/20)

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Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Hand (4-6, 5.32) vs. Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.98) – 1:35 PM, MASN

In his last three starts, Brad Hand has been awful, to say the least. During those three games against the Mets and Nats (twice), he has given up 15 runs in 9.1 innings, has walked eight batters, and given up four home runs.

Plus, if the 25-year-old left-hander was looking for a bounce back start on Sunday, going on the road may not be the best for him. In 16 road appearances this season, Hand is 1-4 with a 7.60 ERA. Plus, right-handed hitters are hitting .327 against him this season (lefties hitting .219). In 11 career games (nine starts) against the Nationals, Hand is 0-7 with a 7.97 ERA. Anthony Rendon is 8-for-16 against Hand with two doubles and four RBI’s.

While Hand is trending in the wrong direction, Stephen Strasburg’s trend is going upward. On Tuesday night, Strasburg was dominant against the Phillies. He went eight innings, gave up one hit, struck out 14 batters, and walked one in a 4-0 win.

In his last 15.1 innings, Strasburg has struck out 27 batters and walked only two. The only criticism you can have of Strasburg right now is that he has allowed five home runs in his last three starts. However, now that he is finally healthy, he is showing signs that he can be a force in the National League in 2016.

Strasburg is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA in three starts this season against the Marlins. In his last outing against them on August 30, he had to leave the game after four innings because of back tightness. He is 9-7 in 22 career starts against them with a 3.83 ERA. Marcell Ozuna (.249, 8 HR, 37 RBI’s) is 7-for-19 against Strasburg with a home run and five RBI’s.

Advantage: While anything can happen in baseball, this game appears to be a mismatch. As long as Strasburg can stay healthy, I like the Nats’ chances for a blowout win and a series win over the Marlins.

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