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Gameday Thread, #90: 7/8 vs. Nationals


Brandon Webb
RHP, 12-4, 3.43


Odalis Perez
HP, 2-5, 3.78 preview [opens in new window]

Little tidbit I saw mentioned on Yahoo this morning. Three months into the season, the five teams in the National League West have managed exactly one winning month between them - our April. Still, that's not much comfort on a day when our lead, which has been shrinking like a snowball in hell of late, finally evaporated entirely in the wake of Kuroda one-hitting the Braves last night. We are tied for first with the Dodgers now, and the franchise-record streak of sole ownership has ended.

Time to regroup, and if you have to go on the road to face an opponent, you'd pick the Washington Nationals, who are currently on pace for 101 losses. That would be the worst showing in a new stadium, since 1982, when the Twins went 60-102 during their first year at the Metrodome. They've just lost five games in a row, and 14 of their last 19. Given we've got Webb and Haren going during this series, we simply must look to take two of three games here - and a sweep would be, obviously, better.

Though Arizona scored less than four runs per game on the homestand, we did show some signs of life from the offense: we hit 279/.341/.429, an OPS of .770. The last time before this stretch we had that high a batting average over a seven-game period, was back from May 3-9. Being at home helped, no doubt - but that's still a better BA than on the previous six-game homestands:
May 13-18: .274/.370/.409
May 27-June 1: .230/.305/..435
June 13-19: .231/.291/.354

I'm therefore optimistic that this will carry forward to Washington, though the new Nationals park has proven to be very pitcher-friendly so far [albeit in a small sample of 44 games], with a park factor of 93-94. Or maybe it's just that the Nationals offense sucks: their HR leader is Ryan Zimmerman, with eight, and Cristian Guzman is the only player with 200 AB and an OPS+ above average - at 102. This would be why they have averaged 3.35 runs/game since June 6, lower even the Diamondbacks, who are at 3.48 over the same time. Like I said: two out of three is an absolute minimum.

East coast games on this road-trip, so we're looking at some early starts. I'll be in stealth mode early on, but should be home in time for the last couple of innings. At least it means I shouldn't need to stay up late, doing recaps!