What to Watch for: 7.5.13

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San Diego Padres (40-46) vs. Washington Nationals (43-42)

 RHP Andrew Cashner (5-3, 3.31) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 3.09)

After celebrating our nation’s birthday with a 8-5 win over the Brewers Thursday, including five RBI off the bat of newly-returned Wilson Ramos, the Nationals look to make it back-to-back wins as they welcome the San Diego Padres to D.C. tonight. This is the second time and final tiem the Nationals will face the Padres this season after May’s series in San Diego ended in a 2-2 split.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Werth RF

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Gonzalez LHP

RAMOS RETURNS

Wilson Ramos returned from a 44-game stint on the disabled list with a (literal) bang, as his three-run homer in the seventh inning capped the scoring in Washington’s 8-5 Independence Day victory over the Brewers. Ramos finished with a career-high five RBI as the Nationals split the four-game series against the Brewers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ramos was the first player to post five RBI in the first game after a seven-plus week stint on the DL since Nelson Cruz did so on July 28, 2007 at Kansas City.

THESE GUYS ARE A-O.K.

Neither Fernando Abad, Ross Ohlendorf nor Ian Krol were member of the Nationals Opening Day roster, but all three joined the Nationals in June and are currently thriving in Jim Lett’s bullpen. Collectively, Abad, Ohlendorf and Krol are 1-2 with two holds, zero blown saves and a 1.49 ERA in 33 appearances. The trio has stranded seven of eight inherited baserunners and posted a .189 batting average against, a 0.83 WHIP and a 6.33/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 K, 6 BB).

OPPORTUNITY’S KNOCKING

At 8-6 (6-5 at home, 2-1 on the road), the Nationals are 14 games into a 49-game stretch (June 20-Aug. 15) in which they will enjoy 34 games within the comfy confines of Nationals Park. Washington is playing .571-ball in D.C. (24-18), but has struggled on the road (19-24, .441). The Nationals will play more home games in July than any other month this season, as 18 of July’s 27 contests will be played in The District.

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