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

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 26, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) delivers in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.44) vs. Matt Cain (2-6, 5.95) – 4:05 p.m, MASN2

Even though the Washington Nationals lost that late lead Tuesday, that shouldn’t take away from the good start by Gonzalez. He went 6.1 innings, gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits, struck out four, and walked two in the no-decision.

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For the fifth straight start, the left-hander was able to pitch into the sixth inning and he has given up 12 earned runs over that span. Gonzalez had some command issues in the first inning, but he bounced back to put together a quality start. In four starts in July, Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and opponents are hitting .221.

Against the Giants in his career, Gonzalez is 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA in nine starts (1-2, 4.40 ERA in five starts in San Francisco). Brandon Crawford is 3-for-11 against Gonzalez with a home run and three RBI’s in his career.

Cain has only made two starts since he came off the disabled list this month with a hamstring injury. Against the Reds on July 26, he went 5.1 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out four, walked one, and even hit a home run in a win.

This season, Cain hasn’t been able to get many swings and misses. The 31-year-old right-hander has 46 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched and has just eight strikeouts in his last four starts combined. Plus, teams are hitting .314 against him this season.

In 15 career starts against the Washington Nationals, Cain is 5-5 with a 3.64 ERA, but he is winless against the Nats since 2011. Bryce Harper has just one hit in six at-bats against Cain, but he has a home run and four RBI’s.

Prediction: In the battle of the veterans, this could go either way. But, I like the consistency that Gonzalez has pitched with lately and due to Cain’s struggles since coming back form the injury, I will take the Washington Nationals to win this game and get a split of the four game series.