Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’

What to Watch For: 8/15

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Washington Nationals (72-45) vs. San Francisco Giants (64-53)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.35)

The Nationals and Giants are slated for a marquee rubber game on Wednesday afternoon after splitting the first two matchups. Hard-throwing righties Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum go head-to-head as Washington looks to close an impressive road trip on a winning note.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Werth RF

7. Espinosa SS

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

The Nationals are 4-2 in rubber games this year, having won 8-4 on July 1 at Atlanta, 5-2 on June 21 vs. Tampa Bay, 2-1 May 3 vs. Arizona and 4-0 April 11 at New York (NL). However, Washington is 0-2 all-time in rubber games at AT&T Park (L, 1-3 in ‘11, L, 4-5 in ‘10). The Nationals have not lost a road series since the O’s took two-of-three at Oriole Park from June 22-24. Washington is 5-0-2 (win-loss-split) in seven road series since.

STRASBURG MAKES FIRST START AGAINST THE GIANTS

California native Stephen Strasburg will toe the rubber for the first time at AT&T Park later this afternoon. His only other career start against the Giants came on July 9, 2010 when he outpitched Matt Cain, working 6.0 strong innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out eight to earn the win. Strasburg is looking for his third win in a row after claiming victories over Miami on 8/5 and at Arizona on 8/10.

 THE POWER OF THE MIDDLE MEN

The Nationals rank 2nd in MLB with 31 home runs from their middle infielders (Ian Desmond 17, Danny Espinosa 12, Steve Lombardozzi 2). Only the Yankees (34) have more.

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Uncharted Waters

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It happens all the time in sports. There are certain players that simply seem to play their best against one particular team. Nationals fans can certainly attest to the head-scratching numbers put up by Andrew McCutchen or Hanley Ramirez against their team over the years. But through the first four of six matchups between the Nationals and San Francisco Giants this year, something truly inexplicable has happened. Washington has thoroughly dominated San Francisco, specifically their starting rotation, considered by many as the Giants most obvious strength.

Roger Bernadina had four hits and another great catch Monday night.

The Giants staff is a lot like the Nats – they don’t often have bad days, and even when they do, they manage to limit the damage. But for whatever reason, Washington has had San Francisco’s number this year. Ryan Vogelsong, who had not allowed more than four runs in a game all season, was tagged for nine (eight earned) in just 2.2 innings of work on Monday night. He had not thrown less than 6.0 innings in a start all year long, and was coming off a 7.0-inning, three-hit masterpiece in a win over the Cardinals. Even more ludicrous, he had allowed just 12 earned runs at home all season before last night’s romp.

Meanwhile, the next two starters in this series – Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum – each had their worst outings of the season when the teams met earlier this year in D.C. Bumgarner allowed seven earned in that series opener and Lincecum was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) as he did not escape the fourth inning. In fact, including the series finale in which they came back against Matt Cain and walked off in the bottom of the ninth, the Nats have outscored the Giants 38-14 over their four matchups this year.

There’s almost no rational way to explain it. Of course, the Nationals know they’ll have to be at their best again the next two days as they face Bumgarner and Lincecum. They will counter with new NL ERA leader Jordan Zimmermann (who took over the top spot after Vogelsong’s outing Monday night) and Stephen Strasburg, both coming off dominant performances against the Astros and Diamondbacks, respectively.

The Giants face NL ERA leader Jordan Zimmermann on Tuesday.

That task must look even more daunting for the Giants when you consider the following: the Washington offense has scored more runs since the All-Star break than any team in baseball. On Monday night, the Nationals leap-frogged both the Cardinals and Yankees and now possess the game’s biggest run differential, having scored 108 times more than their opponents. They have won nine of their last 10 and 13 of 15 on the road, where they are 40-22, a full seven wins more than the next closest teams in the majors (Reds and Yankees, 33).

But the Nationals stand at a historic crossroads as they enter play on Tuesday. It marks the first time this season that they have been as many as 5.5 games ahead in the National League East. That separation also matches the most that the 2005 team ever approached, after a 5-4 win on July 3 at Wrigley Field left them at 50-31. Of course, we are five big weeks later in the season and this edition of the Nationals sits a full 28 games over .500 at 72-44.

Nevertheless, in a season full of milestones, this is one of the biggest yet, as ultimately, it is the only one that really matters when it comes to determining just how long the Nationals will be playing baseball this year. If they can continue to perform as they have against a playoff caliber team in the Giants, they may find themselves in truly uncharted territory.

Nats open four game series vs. Giants

Last night, new dad Ian Desmond made an immediate impact on his return from paternity leave. Desmond led the offense with a triple in the fourth and launched a long ball into the visitor’s bullpen the following inning en route to a thrilling 4-3 win over the Mets. The win snapped a short-lived three-game losing skid and hopefully will serve to garner momentum into the series against the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants, who are in town for the first and last time for a four-game series starting tonight.

 Giants:

Aaron Rowand – CF

Freddy Sanchez – 2B

Aubrey Huff – 1B

Buster Posey – C

Pablo Sandoval – 3B

Pat Burrell – LF

Miguel Tejada – SS

Cody Ross – RF

Tim Lincecum – P

 Nationals:

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – LF

Ian Desmond – SS

Alex Cora – 3B

Jason Marquis – P

 *Jason Marquis, tonight’s starting pitcher, is 4-3 in 10 career starts against the Giants. He’s struck out 42 over 74.2 career innings with an ERA of just 2.77.

 *Throughout his career in the NL, Adam LaRoche has seen a lot of the Giants. In 200 plate appearances against San Fran, he’s hit for a .302 batting average with 21 doubles, one triple and 10 home runs. He’s also maintained an on-base percentage of .370 against the Giants.

 *Against Tim Lincecum specifically, LaRoche has knocked out two home runs and a double for four RBI. Jayson Werth also has two homers against the multiple Cy Young Award-winner and has batted .267 in his career against him.

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