What to Watch for: 7.31.13

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Washington Nationals (52-55) vs. Detroit Tigers (60-45)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.97) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (10-8, 3.99)

Washington takes aim at a two-game split and a season series victory over the Tigers as the Nationals send Gio Gonzalez to the hill against Justin Verlander. The Nationals have a travel day Thursday before concluding their road trip with three games in Milwaukee over the weekend.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper LF

3. Zimmerman DH

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Rendon 3B

8. Suzuki C

9. Lombardozzi 2B

LHP Gonzalez

KINDRED SPIRITS

Not only did Verlander and Gonzalez finish second and third, respectively, in their league’s voting for the 2013 Cy Young Awards, both rank second in their league in wins since the beginning of last season. Gonzalez’s 28 victories rank trail only Lance Lynn’s 30 in the NL, while Verlander’s 27 rank 2nd behind teammate Max Scherzer’s 31 in the AL.

INTERLEAGUE INTRIGUE

Washington is 9-7 (.563) in interleague play this season (3-0 vs. White Sox, 2-1 vs. Tigers, 1-3 vs. Orioles, 2-1 vs. Twins, 1-2 vs. Indians). The Nationals need to win at least two of the four remaining interleague matchups (one at Detroit, three at Kansas City) this season to record a third consecutive winning mark against the AL (10-8 in 2012, 8-7 in ‘11). League-wide, the NL is 99-114 (.465) against the AL this season. The last time the Senior Circuit posted a winning interleague record was 2003 (137-115, .544).

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL HISTORY

JULY 31, 2010 – Ryan Zimmerman clouts a three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning off Philadelphia’s Brad Lidge for his seventh career walk-off home run, giving Washington a 7-5 home win over Phillies.

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