Nationals Game Notes: July 15 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Pittsburgh Pirates (46-43) vs. Washington Nationals (54-36)
LHP Francisco Liriano [5-8, 5.15] | RHP Stephen Strasburg [12-0, 2.62]
Friday, July 15 l Game #91 / Home #43 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C. l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN / WUSA9 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates will open the second “half” of the 2016 season Friday night at Nationals Park, kicking things off after the All-Star break with a three-game set…The Nationals will be looking to pick up where they left off, as their 54 wins before the break were the most in team history (2005-present) and matched the 1994 Expos for the most in franchise history tallied before the Midsummer Classic…Washington’s 54-36 (.600) record is tied for the third-best record in the Major Leagues (along with Texas), and behind only the Chicago Cubs (53-35, .602) and San Francisco Giants (57-33, .633).

Nationals All-Star 2B Daniel Murphy is making quite a case for the best free agent signing of the offseason as he enters the second half leading the Major Leagues with a .348 batting average…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Murphy is just the second player in the last 50 seasons to lead MLB in batting average at the All-Star break in his first year with a team…Murphy joins former Nationals catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who hit .369 and led MLB at the break in 2004 with the Detroit Tigers (after leaving the Marlins as a free agent).

  • Murphy’s tremendous first half was due in part to his outstanding performances against his former team, the New York Mets…In 13 games against the Mets this year, Murphy has hit .423 with seven home runs and 21 RBI, while collecting at least one hit in every game…According to Elias, his seven HR and 21 RBI are each the most ever for a player at the All-Star break against the team for which he played the previous season…In fact, not since Roger Maris drove in 27 runs for NYY against OAK in 1960 has any player driven in as many as Murphy’s 21 in their first season vs. their old team…Also via Elias, no player since Willie Stargell (7) in 1966 has hit as many as seven home runs against the Mets in the season’s first half…Additionally, Murphy joins Tony Gwynn as the only players with a hit in each of his first 13 career games against the Mets.
  • In addition to batting average, Murphy also leads all National League second basemen in doubles (25), home runs (17), RBI (66), and slugging percentage (.598).

Nationals All-Star RHP Stephen Strasburg takes the mound on Friday night looking to extend both of his impressive winning streaks:

  • His personal winning streak sits at 15 games (dating to Sept. 15, 2015), a franchise best (Nationals Expos)…The streak trails only that of RHP Firpo Marberry (17 G, 6/23/30-7/25/31) for the longest streak by a starting pitcher in D.C.-baseball history…It is tied with RHP General Crowder (15 G, 8/2/32-4/12/33) for the second-longest streak.
  • Strasburg is the first National League starting pitcher to begin a season 12-0 since 1913…Via Elias, Strasburg is the fourth pitcher in MLB history to go 12-0 or better before the All-Star break, joining BAL LHP Dave McNally (13-0, 1969), PIT RHP Roy Face (12-0, 1959) & CIN RHP Brooks Lawrence (12-0, 1956).
  • The Nationals are currently the only team in the National League with two 10-game winners, RHP Max Scherzer (10) and Strasburg (12).

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