Strasburg and Nats look to stop the skid
All eyes will be on Stephen Strasburg tonight as he makes his third Major League start. You couldn’t ask for better weather either. The temperature is in the mid-80′s and the sun is shining on one of the longest days of the year.
The Nationals are just happy to be back home.
Home Field Advantage
Back in March, it looked like the toughest portion of the Nationals schedule would be the first six weeks of the season. Using 2009 records, the Nationals squared off with winning ballclub’s in 31 of the season’s first 40 games and 13 of Washington’s initial 19 contests in 2010 came against either the Phillies (six games), Rockies (four) or Dodgers (three), all of which earned postseason berths last year.
In retrospect, the most overwhelming portion of their schedule thus far wasn’t games 1 through 40 but games 32 to 66. It’s not the opponents they played just where they have played–on the road. Since May 10, the Nats have played 25 road games (7-18) and only 11 homes games (7-4).
On May 13, the Nats beat the Rockies 14-6 on a dreary night at Coors Field and moved to 20-15 and a game out of first place in the NL East. They were in the midst of a nine game road trip and started it off winning three of four but then they lost the final five games of the road trip and they have yet to reverse their road fortunes–posting a 4-17 record on the road since May 15.
“I don’t care whether [wins] come at home, on the road or Japan… we need them,” Michael Morse said.
On the bright side, 16 of their next 22 games are at home before the All-Star break.
White Sox (31-34):
1. Juan Pierre – LF
2. Omar Vizquel – 3B
3. Alex Rios – CF
4. Paul Konerko – 1B
5. Carlos Quentin – RF
6. A.J. Pierzynski – C
7. Alexei Ramirez – SS
8. Gordon Beckham – 2B
9. Gavin Floyd – SP (2-7, 5.64 ERA)
*Tonight, Washington begins a homestand against the White Sox and Royals–the only two clubs that the Nationals have yet to play since MLB returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005.
1. Nyjer Morgan – CF
2. Cristian Guzman – 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
4. Adam Dunn – 1B
5. Josh Willingham – LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez – C
7. Roger Bernadina – RF
8. Ian Desmond – SS
9. Stephen Strasburg – SP (2-0, 2.19 ERA)
*Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham have combined for 41 homers on the season. With those 41 long balls, Washington’s trio is tied for the lead in the NL with the Brewer’s Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, and Casey McGehee.
*Ivan Rodriguez’s .340 batting average leads all MLB catchers who have played in at least 40 games this season.