Washington Nationals: 5 storylines to watch at Miller Park

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 28: Manager Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers congratulates Domingo Santana
MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 28: Manager Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers congratulates Domingo Santana /
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Washington Nationals
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Pitching matchup of the week

By far, the best pitching matchup in this series is tonight’s game between Gio Gonzalez and Zach Davies. Gonzalez and Davies have been two of the best pitchers in the National League since the All-Star break.

First, let’s start with Davies. He had a bad outing against the Minnesota Twins on August 10, but the 24-year-old right-hander has responded since then. Over his last three starts (19.2 innings), he has given up a total of one earned run.

Now, if you look at Davies’ numbers since the break, he is 5-3 with a 2.28 ERA in nine starts. Teams are hitting .236 against him and he’s only allowed two home runs. While he isn’t going to strike many hitters out (105 in 156.2 innings), hitters hit groundballs against him 48% of the time (Fangraphs).

Back on July 25 at Nats Park, Davies went 7.2 innings, gave up three hits, struck out seven, and walked three in a win. In fact, only two Washington Nationals have driven in a run against him in their careers (Murphy and Rendon).

No one would’ve predicted that Davies would lead the NL in wins at this point in the season, but he’s had a good year. The Brewers will need him in September if they want to make that push to the postseason.

As for Gonzalez, he continues to put himself in the Cy Young conversation with his dominant pitching. In his last six starts, the left-hander has allowed a total of five runs and he is 5-0 in those outings.

There are many numbers that you can use to talk about Gonzalez’s dominance, but one number to take a look at is the innings. His option will vest for next season when he throws over 180 for the year and he has pitched at least into the sixth inning in every game since May 3 against the Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez also pitched against Milwaukee in their series at Nats Park. On July 26, he went seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out eight, and walked one in a no-decision. Domingo Santana is 2-for-6 against him with a pair of home runs and three RBI’s.

Both of these teams will throw talented pitchers in this series, but Gonzalez-Davies should be the best matchup of the week considering how good these two have pitched as of late.