What to Watch for: 5.18.13

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Washington Nationals (23-19) vs. San Diego Padres (18-23)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-1, 1.69) vs. LHP Eric Stults (3-3, 4.57)

The Nationals can guarantee a series win as they send Jordan Zimmermann to the hill in search of his league-high eighth victory. Washington has won eight of its last 10 against the Padres, including season-series wins in both 2011 and 2012.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Lombardozzi LF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore RF

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

ADAM BOMBS

Adam LaRoche has homered in three consecutive contests, pocketing a total of four home runs during that stretch. With a homer tonight, LaRoche would match his career high with a four-game homer streak, accomplished when he hit five over straight games from September 3-6 vs. the Chicago Cubs last season.

START ME UP

Washington’s starting pitchers have rolled off a string of eight consecutive starts yielding two or fewer earned runs. The rotation has posted a 1.94 ERA (11 ER/51.0 IP) and 3.0/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (33 K/11 BB) during that stretch. For the season, Nationals starting pitchers rank second in the NL/MLB with a 3.13 ERA (90 ER/258.2 IP).

GOON SQUAD IS HEATING UP

Washington’s bench, affectionately know as the “Goon Squad,” has gone a combined 3-for-7 in the last three contests. Chad Tracy’s game-winning homer in the 10th inning on Friday marked both the first pinch-home run and pinch-RBI for the Nationals this season.

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