Nats vs. Padres–Game 1

The Nats begin a three game series with the Padres tonight and they hope the 100 degree heat can cool down the Padres–the NL’s best team. San Diego is winning with defense and pitching and if all goes as planned, the Nationals will get a rematch against the exact same starting pitchers they faced in San Diego on May 28-30: Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, and Mat Latos, three members of the stingiest pitching staff in the league. Padres pitchers lead the Majors with a microscopic 3.05 ERA as a team. They also boast the most efficient defense in the National League. However, like the Nationals, the Padres have suffered under a lack of offense recently, scoring three runs or less in nine of their last 13 games, while Washington has done the same in 12 of their last 18. Timing is everything, they say, and the Padres are coming off of three straight final at-bat wins. The Nationals, meanwhile, took two games from the Mets this past series in walk-off fashion. Expect at least one 1-0 or 2-1 game this series.

Padres (49-33):

1.    Tony Gwynn – CF

2.    Jerry Hairston Jr. – 2B

3.    Adrian Gonzalez – 1B

4.    Scott Hairston – LF

5.    Chase Headley – 3B

6.    Yorvit Torrealba – C

7.    Aaron Cunningham – RF

8.    Everth Cabrera – SS

9.    Clayton Richard – SP (6-4, 2.74 ERA)

* The Padres tossed their Major League leading 12th shutout Saturday night, tied for the fifth-most in franchise history, in a 1-0 win over the Astros.

 Nationals (36-47):

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.      Michael Morse – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (6-4, 2.98 ERA)

* The Nationals’ seven-game winning streak in home games started by Livan Hernandez is the longest such run of home wins behind a starter since Major League Baseball returned to DC in 2005.

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