What to Watch for: 5.21.13

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Washington Nationals (23-22) vs. San Francisco Giants (25-20)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.83) vs. RHP Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43)

Washington sends Stephen Strasburg to the hill against Matt Cain in a battle of Opening Day starters. The Nationals look to bounce back after dropping the series opener, as Strasburg aims to build off his career-long eight-inning stint in San Diego last Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

MERRY STRASMAS

Dating back to his MLB debut (5-2 win vs. Pittsburgh, 6/8/10), Washington is 21-11 when Strasburg starts a game following a loss and 9-6 when he starts a game looking to end a losing streak of two or more (5-4 when attempting to end a losing streak of three or more games). The only other time these two starters faced off, Strasburg (6.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K) outdueled Cain in an 8-1 victory, July 9, 2010 at Nationals Park. Strasburg is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts vs. the Giants.

STARTING BLOCKS

Washington’s starting pitchers have been touched for 11 earned runs in the last two games, after putting together a stretch of nine consecutive starts allowing two or fewer earned runs (1.83 ERA in 59.0 starting innings from May 10-18). For the season, the Nationals starting staff ranks third in MLB/NL with a 3.34 ERA (102 ER/275.0 IP).

KURT HANGS 10

Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

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