What to Watch for: 5.17.13
Washington Nationals (22-19) vs. San Diego Padres (18-22)
LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.20) vs. RHP Burch Smith (0-0, 54.00)
The Nationals look for a second victory in as many nights to open this four-game set in San Diego as the send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the mound. Gonzalez has turned in three quality starts in his last four outings, going 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA over that stretch. He’ll be opposed by Burch Smith, making his second career Major League start.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi LF
3. Harper RF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Gonzalez LHP
START ME UP
Washington’s starting pitchers have been dominant of late, rolling off a string of seven consecutive starts yielding two or fewer earned runs. The rotation has posted a 1.83 ERA (9 ER/44.1 IP) and a 3.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (28 K/8 BB) during that stretch. For the season, Nationals starting pitchers rank second in the NL/MLB with a 3.14 ERA (88 ER/252.0 IP).
Washington’s pitching staff, which ranks second in the NL (third in MLB) having allowed just 32 home runs, has thrown 64.0 consecutive innings without surrendering a long ball, a stretch that has spanned seven-plus contests. The club record for consecutive games without allowing a homer is 11, accomplished September 5-16, 2011.
THRESHOLD OF THREE
The Nationals offense has averaged 3.5 runs/game this season, which ranks 13th in the NL/28th in MLB. The team is 19-2 when scoring three or more runs, compared to 3-17 when crossing the plate fewer than three times in a game.