After splitting with the Indians, the Washington Nationals begin a four game series tonight against the Giants
On the start of their nine game road trip, the Washington Nationals (59-42) picked up a split against the Cleveland Indians. Stephen Strasburg threw seven shutout innings while Trea Turner went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s in yesterday’s win. The Nats could’ve won both games if not for a bullpen meltdown, mainly by Jonathan Papelbon, in Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss.
Tonight, the Washington Nationals continue their road trip when they begin a four game series against a team that they will see seven times in the next ten games and what could be a playoff preview in October. That team would be the San Francisco Giants (59-42), who currently lead the Dodgers by 2.5 games in the NL West.
It’s been a rough beginning to the second half for Bruce Bochy’s squad. They have lost nine of their first 11 games and they’ve scored a total of 37 runs (two runs or fewer in six of those ten). The offense is currently without a couple key players in right fielder Hunter Pence (hamstring injury) and third baseman Matt Duffy (Achilles). Second baseman Joe Panik (concussion) was activated off the DL today.
Despite those injuries, catcher Buster Posey leads the team in batting average (.285) and home runs (12). This month, the players to watch have been shortstop Brandon Crawford (three home runs, 11 RBI’s) and right fielder Mac Williamson (.311, four home runs, 15 RBI’s). Plus, this will be the first time the Washington Nationals will face their former teammate, Denard Span (.256, four home runs, 31 RBI’s).
In terms of the starting pitching, the Washington Nationals catch a break in that Madison Bumgarner (10-6, 2.09 ERA) will not be pitching for San Francisco in this series. San Francisco’s starters have a 3.70 ERA this season (fourth in the National League) and have thrown the second most innings (Washington Nationals are first).
While the Giants will be looking for a bat to fill in at the trade deadline, their main weakness is in the bullpen. Their bullpen ERA of 3.91 is ninth in the NL and closer Santiago Casilla is 22-for-27 in saves with a 3.35 ERA.
Before this series starts tonight, check out my breakdown of the four pitching matchups in this series:
Next: Tonight's Matchup