The Washington Nationals have now won seven of their last nine games and it has some wondering if this once-struggling team has turned things around. Over the next seven games, we’ll find out. First up in this gauntlet stretch is a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants.
Washington Nationals (32-29, 1st in NL East) vs San Francisco Giants (42-21, 1st in NL West)
Game 1: Monday, June 9 @ 10:15 PM EST
Game 2: Tuesday, June 10 @ 10:15 PM EST
Game 3: Wednesday, June 11 @ 10:15 PM EST
Game 4: Thursday, June 12 @ 3:45 PM EST
Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opponent)
Game 1: Stephen Strasburg (5-4, 3.10; 2-0, 1.89) vs Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 3.39; 1-1, 5.59)
Game 2: Doug Fister (4-1, 3.19; N/A) vs Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 2.68; 2-2, 2.61)
Game 3: Tanner Roark (4-4, 2.91; 1-0, 0.00) vs Matt Cain (1-3, 3.52; 5-4, 3.12)
Game 4: Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78; N/A) vs Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97; 16-5, 2.45)
Players to Watch
- Angel Pagan (CF): .323 BA, .373 OBP, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 11 SB
- Michael Morse (LF): 13 HR, 42 RBI, .550 SLG
- Hunter Pence (RF): .290 BA, .831 OPS, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 7 SB
- Sergio Romo (Closer): 3.12 ERA, 20 SV, 21 K
- Jayson Werth (RF): .290 BA, .367 OBP, 67 H, 5 HR, 25 RBI
- Ian Desmond (SS): 13 HR, 37 RBI, .439 SLG
- Ryan Zimmerman (LF): .321 BA, .536 SLG, 2 HR, 9 RBI
- Drew Storen (Relief Pitcher): 1.35 ERA, 21 K, 20 IP, 8 HLD
Notables on the Injury Report
Gio Gonzalez is the most notable player on the injury report for the Nationals not named Bryce Harper. Gonzalez was, at one point, expected to return to Washington in time for their game on June 11. However, after a rough outing in his first rehab appearance and Blake Treinen scheduled to start, that’s not likely. Anthony Rendon (thumb) is currently listed as day-to-day and missed their last two games.
Second baseman Marco Scutaro (back) and relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (hamstring) are the notable players on the injury report for the Giants. Neither player is expected to make an appearance in this series and Scutaro hasn’t played in a game all season long.
Expect pitching to rule this series as two of the best pitching staffs in baseball go head-to-head. The Nationals and Giants are in the top ten in MLB in ERA, quality starts, WHIP and batting average against. Two match ups to watch will be Doug Fister vs Madison Bumgarner and Blake Treinen vs Tim Hudson.
Speaking of Tim Hudson, he’s one of two familiar faces that Washington will come across in the next four games. Former fan favorite and current Giants’ slugger Michael Morse will be manning the outfield. Hudson has defeated the Nationals 16 times in his career with the Braves and Morse can hit baseballs really far.
The Nationals are on a hot streak in which they’ve outscored their opponents 53-16 in their last nine games. Against the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in the series following this one, they’ll get a tough test in where they actually are. Can keep the ball rolling?
Since moving to D.C. in 2005, the Nationals 28-29 against the Giants, including 12-16 on the road. In the last two years, the Nationals are 3-3 on the road and 8-4 overall against San Francisco.
Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area. He’s had work published on Yahoo Sports and Rant Sports, and has made several radio show appearances across the country to discuss his works. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!