Washington Nationals at Giants Series Preview (7/28-7/31)

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Jul 27, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits the ball during the ninth inning as Cincinnati Reds catcher Ramon Cabrera (37) looks on at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits the ball during the ninth inning as Cincinnati Reds catcher Ramon Cabrera (37) looks on at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Jul 23, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Tanner Roark (9-6, 3.05 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (13-2, 2.53) – 10:15 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2

For the first time in about a month, Roark picked up a loss in his last start against the Padres. He went five innings, gave up five runs on four hits, struck out four, and gave up two home runs to Matt Kemp.

Usually, Roark is a given for seven innings a night when you consider he is fifth in the National League in innings pitched. But, his streak of five straight starts going seven innings or more was snapped against San Diego. Plus, the two home runs were the most he’s given up in any start this season.

Against the Giants, Roark is 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four games, but only one of those was a start (2014). But, he had one win as a reliever last season. Buster Posey is 3-for-6 with a double and a RBI against Roark.

As for Cueto, he has put himself into the Cy Young conversation in his first year with the Giants. On July 23 against the Yankees, Cueto went six innings, gave up one unearned run on six hits, struck out nine, and walked one in a no-decision.

This month, the 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.00 ERA in four starts and has given up nine runs. However, most of those runs have come via the long ball (four home runs allowed). Cueto is second in the National League in wins (one behind Strasburg) and second in innings pitched.

Cueto is 7-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 starts against the Washington Nationals in his career. Last season, in his only start against the Nats with the Reds, he threw a complete game two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. Ryan Zimmerman is 4-for-14 against Cueto with a home run and two RBI’s in his career.

Prediction: I expect this to be a close pitcher’s duel and for Roark to bounce back from his start against the Padres. However, the one stat that puts this in Cueto’s favor is that he has yet to lose a game at night this season (10-0, 1.90 ERA in 12 starts). While all trends were meant to be broken, I’ll take the Giants to win the opener.

 

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup

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