Series Preview: Reds @ Nationals

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By Michael Marzzacco

Friday June 23: Luis Castillo (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (8-2, 3.28 ERA) 7:05 p.m. MASN
Saturday June 24: Homer Bailey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (3-3, 5.98 ERA) 4:05 p.m. MASN 2
Sunday June 25: Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.20 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.88 ERA) 1:35 p.m MASN

The Nationals and Reds face off for the first time this season at Nationals Park this weekend. Don’t forget about tonight’s epic Game of Thrones night! The Nats and Reds will meet seven times this season, three at home and four in Cincinnati. They’ll meet in Cincinnati to begin the second half of the season after the All Star break from July 14-17.

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Series Preview: Nationals @ Marlins

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Photo from Wikipedia

By Michael Marzzzacco

Monday June 19: Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.39 ERA) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 4.15 ERA) 7:10 p.m. MASN 2
Tuesday June 20: Gio Gonzalez (6-1, 2.89 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (3-7, 3.72 ERA) 7:10 p.m. MASN
Wednesday June 21: Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.26 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (5-4, 3.58 ERA) 12:10 p.m. MASN

After a strong series that saw the Nationals take three out of four games against the New York Mets, the Nationals continue their seven game road trip against another NL East rival. The Nats flew out of crazy and noisy New York City and now head to sunny Miami to take on the Marlins. The three game set from Marlins Park begins Monday night with Tanner Roark up against Justin Nicolino.

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Series Preview: Nationals @ Braves- Nats final series at Turner Field

Series Preview: Nationals @ Braves- Nats final series at Turner Field
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Turner Field

By Michael Marzzacco

After taking two of three from the Mets, the Nationals travel to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves beginning tonight. The magic number for the Nationals to clinch is seven. This is also the Nationals final series at Turner Field, as the Braves move into SunTrust Park next season. Turner Field had been the Braves home since 1997.

Atlanta’s biggest threat against Washington is Freddie Freeman, who is clubbing .325 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs against Washington. Ender Inciarte has also given the Nats a run for their money this year, hitting .306 with a home run, five RBIs and 10 runs scored. Rookie Dansby Swanson has also had an impact in the season series as he’s batting .300 with two home runs and four RBIs against Washington.

Ryan Zimmerman has put up good numbers against Atlanta, hitting .278 with two home runs and four RBIs.

Max Scherzer takes the mound tonight looking for his 17th win of the season. It would be the third time in his career he has reached such a feat, having won 21 games in 2013 and 18 games in 2014.

The Braves will counter with John Gant (1-3, 4.40 ERA).

The series:

Tonight: Max Scherzer (16-7) vs. John Gant (1-3, 4.40 ERA) 7:35 TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Tomorrow: Gio Gonzalez (11-9, 4.27 ERA) vs. TBD 1:05 TV: FOX Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Sunday: TBD vs. Matt Wisler (6-12, 5.00 ERA) 1:35 TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 The Fan

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Series Preview: Nats @ Mets

Series Preview: Nats @ Mets

By Michael Marzzacco

After sweeping the Phillies on Wednesday night the Nationals will continue their road trip this weekend in New York with a big three game series with the Mets.

The Mets have been struggling much of the season and have been plagued with injuries but their recent series win over the Marlins at home indicates they aren’t going away anytime soon. The Mets (69-65) sit just two games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. Expect them to be highly motivated with their big rivals coming to town. They took the first three games of the Marlins series while dropping the fourth game last night. The Mets are 9 1/2 games behind Washington.

The Mets are without David Wright, Matt Harvey, Neil Walker and Lucas Duda for the remainder of the season.

The Nationals (78-55) have swept the Phillies and look to increase their division lead over Mets and Marlins. The Nats magic number to clinch the division is 20. Speaking of the number 20, the Nationals’ day off on Thursday ended a string of 20 games in 20 days. They’ll be well rested for this series and ready to put the Mets away.

Friday night will likely be the Nats’ toughest challenge in this series as New York sends ace Noah Syndergaard to the mound. The Nats will counter with A.J. Cole. Saturday and Sunday the pitching match-ups will be much more in favor of Washington as they counter with Tanner Roark tomorrow and Max Scherzer on Sunday.

In just a few days, the regular season of Minor League Baseball will come to a close and the Nats will call up several prospects. Some likely players to make the expanded roster this month are Mat Latos, Sean Burnett, Wilmer Difo, Pedro Severino and Reynaldo Lopez.

The pitching match-ups:

A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.97 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (12-7, 2.55 ERA) 7:10 MASN 2, WUSA 9, 106.7 The Fan

Tanner Roark (14-7, 2.87 ERA) vs. Robert Gsellman (1-1, 3.72 ERA) 7:10 MASN 2, 106.7 The Fan

Max Scherzer (15-7, 2.89 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.60 ERA) 8:08 ESPN, 106.7 The Fan

Series Preview: Nats @ Phillies

Series Preview: Nats @ Phillies

By Michael Marzzacco

The Nationals embark on a six game road trip beginning tonight in Philadelphia. Washington will conclude the month of August with a three game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and end the dog days of summer in New York with a big series against the Mets.

The Nationals are coming off a series loss to the Rockies, where they fell in extra innings on Saturday and dropped a 3-5 decision yesterday. On Friday the Nats took the opener as Gio Gonzalez notched his 100th career win.

The Phillies also dropped two of three over the weekend but unlike the Nats, they won the series finale avoiding the sweep. This came at the hands of the Mets at Citi Field. The win yesterday was the first game for A.J. Ellis, who was traded to the Phillies from the Dodgers. He delivered the big hit, a tiebreaking two-run double in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie.

The Nationals are ahead of the Marlins by eight games for first place in the NL East. Big leads like this with about a month left of regular season baseball can also be dangerous too. If you’re the Nats you gotta find all the motivation in the world to go out and play these games so you can punch a ticket to the playoffs. They got a weekend series coming up with the Mets, who are just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card. The Phillies are in fourth place in the division with a 60-70 record, 15 games back of first place and 8.5 in the Wild Card. They are certainly building for the future.

Pitching match-ups:

Tonight: Tanner Roark (13-7, 2.99 ERA) vs. Jake Thompson (1-3, 9.78 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

Tomorrow: Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

Wednesday: Gio Gonzalez (9-9, 4.25 ERA) vs. Adam Morgan  (1-8, 6.50 ERA) 7:05 MASN 2

Series Preview: Nats vs. Indians 8/9-8/12

By James Kenney

The Nationals will host the red-hot Cleveland Indians at Nats Park starting Tuesday night. The Reds have ascended to the top of every major power ranking, joining the Nats and other divisional leaders, in recent weeks. Cleveland has made this jump through in-house talents such as phenom Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jason Kipnis. They made a splash in free agency in acquiring reliever Andrew Miller from the Yankees and also shelled out significant resources to try to trade for Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Nationals will be again tested in this upcoming series. In the last two weeks, the Nats played the first place San Francisco Giants, going 4-3 against them while winning by decisive fashion and losing in pretty close contests. Before that series, the Nationals split a two-game series with the Indians, only losing the first game because of Jonathan Papelbon’s continued ninth inning woes. Between playing the Giants, the Nationals had a successful series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, outscoring them 32-8.

The Nationals will feature Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez against Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Neither of those Indians starters have been great recently, following suit of the rest of the club. Over the last 10 games, the Indians have gone 5-5 and been outscored 70-55. The Indians will look to do well in this series to retain their mere one game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the Central.

Over the Nats’ last 10, they have gone 7-3 and beaten two first place teams in the last few weeks. They will look to keep momentum before consecutive series against poor fairing teams, such as the Colorado Rockies and the Atlanta Braves, before the Battle of the Beltways begins on Aug. 22.

First pitch of the mini series is at 7:05 p.m. at Nats Park.

Series Preview: Dodgers @ Nationals

Series Preview: Dodgers @ Nationals

By Michael Marzzacco

The Nationals open up a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning tonight at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nats are looking for payback after getting swept by the Dodgers in LA last month.

Reynaldo Lopez, the fifth ranked prospect in the Nationals Minor League system will make his MLB debut tonight. He boasts a fastball that can reach 100 mph, a power curveball to complement that, and a changeup. He pitched for the World in the MLB Futures Game last week in San Diego as part of the All Star festivities where he retired all three batters he faced.

Last time: The Nationals dropped all three games to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in LA last month by scores of 1-4, 2-3, and 3-4 respectively. The first game was supposed to feature an epic pitcher’s duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg but Strasburg got scratched from the lineup with a back injury. In the second game the Nats had a 2-0 lead until a three run bomb in the home half of the eighth by Yasmani Grandal swung the momentum back in the favor of the Dodgers. In the third game, the Nats once again had a lead and blew it in the late innings, this time in the ninth. Michael Taylor misplayed a base hit by Yasiel Puig that allowed Puig to race around the bases for an inside-the-park homer to stun Washington. The Nats would go on to lose seven in a row during that June road stretch. The Nats will look for some payback this week in front of their home fans.

Scouting the Dodgers: The Dodgers carry a 52-42 record and are 5.5 games back of the division-leading Giants in the National League West. They are in first place in the NL Wild Card race one game ahead of the Marlins. The Dodgers are much better on their home turf with a 30-18 record. Away from Dodgers Stadium, LA is two games under .500 at 22-24. The Dodgers opened their second half of the season dropping two of three this past weekend to the D-Backs in Arizona. Joc Pederson will return to the lineup after serving time on the DL with a right shoulder separation.

Scouting the Nationals: The Nationals are coming off a home series win over the Pirates despite dropping an 18-inning affair two days again. Washington carries a 57-36 record, 21 games over .500 and 5.5 games ahead of the second place Marlins. Expect Daniel Murphy to return to the starting lineup today after hitting a pinch hit homer in that tough 18-inning loss on Sunday afternoon. His heroics came as the Nationals were down to their final strike. Murphy had the day off so he could rest his left hamstring. Anthony Rendon missed Sunday’s contest with flu-like symptoms and the Nats hope he can play today.

Pitching match-ups:

Tonight: Scott Kazmir (7-3, 4.52 ERA) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (0-0) at 7:05

Wednesday: Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1, 11.57 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (5-8, 4.70 ERA) at 7:05

Thursday: TBD vs. Stephen Strasburg (13-0, 2.51 ERA) at 12:05