Phillies vs Nationals: Series Preview

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Aug 13, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA;

Nationals pitcher Strasburg (37) is due to take the mound on Tuesday night.

(Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

PITCHING MATCHUPS

MONDAY: Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.32 ERA) vs Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.56 ERA) – Zimmermann is one National who has been winning, having taken four straight decisions before getting a no-decision in a solid start his last time out vs the Mets. He has allowed just 1 earned run in 5 of his last 7 outings. Only 4 times in 29 starts has Zimmermann walked more than 2 batters, so he is not likely to beat himself. This should prove a tough matchup for Phillies’ rookie Nola, but the 22-year old has proven up to all challenges during his debut season. In 3 of his last 4 starts, Nola has basically shut down the opposition, with only a beat down at the hands of the Mets staining his first 10 outings.

TUESDAY: Strasburg (8-7, 4.30 ERA) vs David Buchanan (2-8, 9.11 ERA) – Strasburg remains an enigma thanks mainly to perpetual concern that he is a pitch away from ending his career. On the other hand, he could somehow dodge the bullet of a 2nd TJ surgery, and go on to one of the greatest careers in MLB history. He has the talent for the latter, but the track record and style to make the former a legit worry. Strasburg spent a month on the DL, losing almost his entire July while his team began to seriously flounder. In a half-dozen starts since returning, he has been fairly strong, winning 3 times and throwing just one stinker. He struck out a season-best 13 batters just five days ago against the Mets. On the mound for the Phillies will be Buchanan, who frankly has stunk up the joint in 2015. In 11 starts, Buchanan has pitched into the 6th inning just three times. In his last three big league starts, he has allowed 22 earned runs on 31 hits over just 9 innings total, with a 3/6 K:BB ratio. Ugly is an understatement.

WEDNESDAY: Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.88 ERA) vs Adam Morgan (5-6, 4.60 ERA) – When you look at the three starters the Nats are throwing in this series, you have to shake your head in bewilderment at their place in the standings. Gonzalez has gone just 2-3, and the team just 2-7, over his last 9 starts. In that time he has allowed 50 hits in 47.1 innings. He can get a big wild, having walked 3 or 4 batters in 10 of his starts this year. In this battle of lefties, Phillies’ rookie Morgan may be hitting a wall. He was holding his own fairly well across his first 10 starts. But the team has lost 3 of his last 4 starts, he has a 6.43 ERA in that time, and has allowed 26 hits across 21 innings, including 5 home runs.

Next: PHILLIES-NATS SERIES KEYS

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