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Nationals vs Padres Series Preview

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Nationals come in having won 4 straight

Alex Gallardo—AP

The Padres start a 4 game set against the Washington Nationals after dropping 2 of 3 from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Friars have lost 3 consecutive 3 game series dating back to their visit to the Bronx.

The Nationals are 28-33, but have won 9 of their last 11 since they were swept over four games by the New York Mets in mid-May. Their bullpen is still a cause for concern, but they are bringing a fearsome rotation and some top-flight offensive talent to the East Village this weekend. Meanwhile, the Padres will be hoping to capitalize upon the return of uber-dude Fernando Tatis Jr..

Pitching match ups

Patrick Corbin 5-3 3.46 ERA vs. Joey Lucchesi 4-3 3.96 ERA

Erick Fedde 1-0 2.55 ERA vs. Nick Margevicius 2-6 5.40 ERA

Max Scherzer 3-5 3.06 ERA vs. TBD

Stephen Strasburg 6-3 3.54 ERA vs. TBD

Hitters to watch

Eric Hosmer 5/28 1 HR 3 RBI .179 BA last 7 games (cooling after a torrid May)

Trea Turner 10/32 1HR 3RBI 2SB .313 BA last 7 games

Franmil Reyes 6/28 4HR 4 RBI .214 BA last 7 games (get someone on base for this man)

Fernando Tatis Jr. (Injured List since April 30th, expected back on Thursday)

Breakdown

Patrick Corbin vs. Joey Lucchesi

Corbin, the recipient of a massive free agent contract this offseason, has mostly delivered on that investment with a 3.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 75 IP. The Padres are familiar with him from his years in Arizona; in fact, the active roster boasts a .280/.341/.500 slash line against the left-hander. Lucchesi, for his part, was skipped in the rotation yesterday in favor of Cal Quantrill, perhaps buying Andy Green a bit more time to shuffle the rotation in the wake of Matt Strahm’s injury. Fuego has been brilliant over his last 7 starts, with a sparkling 1.00 WHIP over 40 IP.

Erick Fedde vs. Nick Margevicius

Fedde, longtime a prized jewel of a Nationals system that has struggled to produce pitching prospects, is off to possibly the best start of his career—even if the underlying metrics suggest he’s due to come back to Earth. Over his first 24 IP, Fedde sports a 2.55 ERA, but with 11 BB against 15 SO. Margevicius, meanwhile, has been god awful over his last 7 starts, regardless of whether you want to look at underlying or overlying measurements. A 7.24 ERA and 1.82 WHIP is about what you would reasonably expect from a guy who should likely be pitching in AA or AAA.

Max Scherzer vs. TBD

If you are looking to beat a guy like Max Scherzer, a man who is a Cy Young winner and possibly a cyborg, you would hope to throw out a counterpart more intimidating than the dreaded “TBD”. Alas, amidst the injuries to Strahm and some uncertainty around Quantrill’s ongoing status, we will have to wait to see whom Andy Green tabs to take on old “Blue Eye”.

Stephen Strasburg vs. TBD

The third-most famous athletic Aztec comes to town with 100 career Wins and a characteristically strong 3.54 ERA on this young season. To facilitate Tatis Jr.’s return, it is likely Ty France will be sent down—eliminating the possibility of a juicy Aztec-on-Aztec matchup.

Final Take

The Padres have acted this year like a quintessential .500 team: stretches of good play followed by stretches of foul play; young players ascending and regressing as the league adjusts to them; strengths, like power and starting pitching, counteracted by poor base running and middle relief. As for this series, they could be catching the Nationals at a very inopportune time. The D.C. team has been rounding into shape after being submarined for several weeks by a historically poor-performing bullpen. They recently added Padre-for-life Fernando Rodney, but he will be slinging arrows in AAA for the time being; if the Friars can jettison strong starters like Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin early in these games, the Nats bullpen would represent an achilles heel that can be capitalized upon.