Washington Nationals: Road show moves north to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 31: Max Scherzer
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 31: Max Scherzer /

The Washington Nationals hope to bounce back after a rough weekend in Los Angeles. This episode of the DoDCast sets you for three games on the bay.

Right in time for the Washington Nationals upcoming series with the San Francisco Giants rolls off another edition of the DoDCast.

With Blake Finney on vacation, Site Expert Ron Juckett and contributor Ross Shinberg break down the Los Angeles Dodgers series, what is wrong with the Nats bullpen and preview the pitching matchups over the next three games.

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Finney took time from his relaxing vacation to ask a question on which bench player we are most surprised over.

We started the show, as the Sunday game ended, figuring what the biggest fix was to the team’s sluggish start. When you are missing three potential All-Stars on offense, as Washington is, your margin for error is gone. Until they come back, and easier wins follow, there is not much you can do.

With Jeremy Hellickson pitching well from the fifth spot that will drop workload for the bullpen as he can give Washington six innings on a good night. The mix of close, high-leverage games is a killer for modern pens.

Ross broke down the pitching matchups for the Giants and think the Nats are a solid favorite, especially with San Francisco’s putrid offense.

Late night on Monday, Gio Gonzalez squares off against the hot Chris Stratton. Tuesday, the resurgent Tanner Roark faces Ty Blach. The getaway date, Wednesday, sees Max Scherzer and Jeff Samardzija lock horns before Washington flies home Thursday for a weekend trio versus Arizona.

Stratton boasts a 2.22 ERA in his first four starts with a healthy 0.954 WHIP. Blach, a lefty, has pitched okay, but not great. In five starts, he sports a 4.10 ERA with a 1.595 WHIP. With a 10.3 H/9 mark, this is Washington’s best chance to generate offense.

Scherzer and Samardzija is the sexiest matchup of the series, but Samardzija has pitched once this year and is not full strength. He went five innings his first time out.

As Mark Melancon continues to grace the disabled list, Bryce Harper’s best friend Hunter Strickland has closed for San Francisco when the need arises. Something to watch for after last year’s Memorial Day brawl.

As dear Mr. Finney would say:

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Hope you enjoy the show!

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Order some garlic fries and coffee while staying up late with us again. The next show is Thursday before the Diamondbacks visit DC.