Nationals Game Notes: September 23 at Pittsburgh Pirates

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Washington Nationals (89-63) at Pittsburgh Pirates (76-76)
LHP Gio Gonzalez [11-10, 4.48] | RHP Jameson Taillon [4-4, 3.39]
Friday, September 23 l Game #153 / Road #79 l PNC Park l Pittsburgh, PA l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

CONCLUDING AT THE CONFLUENCE
After enjoying their final off day of the regular season, the Washington Nationals will wrap up their final regular season road trip of 2016 on Friday in Pittsburgh, squaring off against the Pirates for a three-game set.

  • At 89-63 (.586), the Nationals boast the second-best record in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (97-55, .638).
  • The Nationals’ .551 (43-35) road winning percentage is currently the third-best in Nationals history (2005-pres.), behind the 2012 Nationals (48-33, .593) and 2014 Nationals (45-36, .556), but they are in range of finishing their road slate better than the 2014 iteration.

BOTTLE-POPPING POTENTIAL
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Washington’s “magic number” to clinch the National League East division title is down to two, meaning any combination of two Nationals wins or New York Mets losses will secure Washington’s third division crown in the last five years…If the Nationals were to defeat Pittsburgh in the series opener at PNC Park and the Mets were to fall to the Phillies at Citi Field, Washington could celebrate after Friday’s contest.

MAD MAX PUTS ‘EM BACK ON THE WINNING TRACK
RHP Max Scherzer helped Washington snap its four-game losing streak on Wednesday, allowing three earned runs on four hits in 6.2 innings of work as the Nationals topped the Marlins, 6-3…Scherzer has started nine games for the Nationals following a loss this season, and Washington is 6-3 in those games.

DYNAMIC DUO
Despite taking the hard-luck loss on Tuesday, Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (15-9) turned in his 18th outing of 7.0 innings or more, as well as his 12th start tossing at least 7.0 innings while allowing one run or fewer (the second-most such starts in the Major Leagues behind CHI LHP Jon Lester’s 13)…For Roark, whose only blemish on Tuesday was a solo home run off the bat of MIA RF Giancarlo Stanton, the 7.0 innings pushed him across the 200-inning threshold for the first time in his career (200.1 IP), topping the 198.2 regular-season innings he compiled in 2014.

  • Along with RHP Max Scherzer, the Nationals’ two right-handers have combined to throw at least 7.0 innings while allowing two runs or fewer 33 times this season…Of the 22 pitchers who’ve put together at least 10 outings of 7.0 (or more) IP with two runs allowed (or fewer), no team has a pair who’ve compiled more such starts…SFG has three in that group (Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, and Jeff Samardzija), giving them 36 of these games.

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