The Padres (27-33) host the Washington Nationals (29-28) for a 3-game weekend series at Petco Park. The Nationals have won 4 of their last 5. The Friars will avoid San Diegan Stephen Strasburg, who fanned 11 Phillies Wednesday night.
The Nationals have been plagued by injuries. Bryce Harper has been out since the last time these two teams met. Gio Gonzalez is also sidelined with an injury. However, they did just reactivate sluggerRyan Zimmerman from an extended stay on the DL. Zimmerman should be one to watch, as he is now playing left field for the Nats.
Game 1 on Friday will featureTyson Ross (6-4, 2.85 ERA) against Tanner Roark (3-4, 3.25 ERA). Roark threw a near perfect game on April 26th against the Padres, but he has lost his last 3 starts. In Game 2, the Padres expectAndrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35 ERA) to come off the DL to pitch against Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.40 ERA). The finale has Eric Stults (2-6, 5.03 ERA) against Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 3.59 ERA). This is a nice turnaround from the pitching against the Pirates, where the Padres needed 2 spot starters. The Friars will have their regular rotation pitch against the Nats.
The Nationals hit .251 as a team, compared to the Padres .221. Both teams are near the top in team ERA, the Nationals 4th with 3.11 and the Padres 5th with 3.37. Despite the injuries, the Nationals have good hitters throughout the lineup. Anthony Rendon has had a good start to the season, hitting .270 with 8 HRs and 32 RBI. Adam Laroche is always dangerous, he is hitting .315 with 7 HRs. Also, Denard Span has 15 doubles and a .284 average.
The Padres limp into this series with struggling bats. Jedd Gyorko may be heading to the DL and Chase Headley seemed like the hit by pitch bothered his leg. Bud Black has said he should be good to go by Friday. The key to a series win for the Padres is to have all 3 starting pitchers go at least 6 innings, spelling the bullpen and keeping the Padres in the game. The pitching needs to keep the score low so the offensive output the Padres get will be enough.