Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Phillies (9/25-9/27)

3 of 4

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.84) vs. Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.81) – 4:05 PM, MASN2

The Nats will see Aaron Nola for the second time this season and they were able to have a great night against him the first time around. Back on September 14, Nola went five innings, gave up six runs on nine hits, struck out eight, and walked one in a no-decision. During that game, Nola gave up three home runs, which is the most he has given up in any of his 12 outings this year. Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 that night with one of those home runs.

However, one thing you have to give the 22-year-old credit for is the ability to bounce back after a bad outing. In his last start against the Braves on September 20, Nola went seven innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out four, and walked three in a no-decision. The key in that game was that he induced 12 groundball outs, the most in any start this year.

As for Stephen Strasburg, this will be his first start since winning NL co-player of the week this week along with Harper. Since returning from the disabled list on August 8, Strasburg has had the most dominant stretch of his young career. He comes into tomorrow night’s game giving up four total runs over his last 22.1 innings.

In his last three starts, the 27-year-old right-hander has struck out 37 batters. He is three strikeouts behind his teammate, Max Scherzer, for the most K’s of any pitcher this month. He has a 1.61 ERA in those three outings and has held opponents to a .152 batting average.

Against the Phillies this season, Strasburg is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts, but the Philly lineup has to remember how dominant he was last time. Back on September 15, Strasburg went eight innings, gave up one hit, struck out 14 batters, and walked one in a win. Jeff Francoeur (.256, 12 HR, 43 RBI’s) is 2-for-8 against him with a home run and two RBI’s.

Advantage: It will be interesting to see how Nola adjusts to facing this Nationals’ lineup the second time around and I think he will put up a better showing tomorrow. However, Strasburg has been dominant this month. While he probably won’t throw another one-hitter, he will find a way to get another win.

Next: Sunday's Matchup