Monday, July 26, 2021

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Series Preview: Nationals Return Home After Six-Game Road Trip

After taking two out of three against St. Louis, the Nationals are back home to host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-game series.

The Washington Nationals were able to win the series against St. Louis behind strong performances from starting pitchers Erick Fedde and Joe Ross

Here is a look at the projected pitching matchups for the four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Thursday, April 15, LHP Patrick Corbin (0-1, 12.46 ERA) vs. RHP Merrill Kelly (0-2, 8.10 ERA) | First Pitch: 7:05 pm ET; Jackie Robinson Day

Coming off a horrific start to his 2021 campaign, Patrick Corbin will take the mound for the Nats on Thursday night in the series opener against the D-Backs in DC. In his first start against the Dodgers, Corbin gave up six hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings of work for a 12.46 ERA. To be fair to him, he was reinstated off the COVID-19 list and had to fly across the country just hours before he was on the mound. 

Corbin has only pitched against Arizona once in his career, which came during the 2019 season. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs for an 8.75 ERA. An interesting note, Corbin spent his previous six seasons with Arizona before signing as a free agent with Washington in 2019. 

The Diamondbacks were swept in a two-game set with the Oakland A’s earlier this week and have lost five of their last seven games to fall to four games under .500 (4-8).  Arizona’s lineup is batting just .221 as a team and giving up an alarming 5.67 runs per game. They haven’t been much better with the glove either, already committing nine errors in their first 12 games. 

Arizona will be starting 32-year-old pitcher Merrill Kelly on Jackie Robinson Day at Nationals Park on Thursday. Kelly is 0-2 in two starts this season with an ERA of 8.10. He has never pitched a game against the Nationals, who are 3-6 and currently batting .266 while only scoring 3.44 runs per game. 

This will be the first time the Nationals and Diamondbacks have faced off since June 2019, when the teams split a four-game series at Nats Park as Washington was getting their season on track. 

The game can be seen on MASN and heard on 106.7, the Fan.


Friday, April 16, Max Scherzer (0-1, 3.75 ERA) vs. RHP Taylor Widener (1-0, 2.45 ERA) | First Pitch: 7:05 pm ET

Looking at Friday’s game, Nationals ace Max Scherzer will be on the mound to face the Diamondbacks. After a shaky first outing against Atlanta, Scherzer looked like his normal self again on Sunday, giving up only one run to the Dodgers vaunted lineup by way of a misplay by Victor Robles in the outfield. Despite being 0-1, Max improved his ERA to 3.75 after the excellent outing against LA and is facing an Arizona team that he is 7-0 against in his career. Scherzer has only given up a .183 BA with an ERA of 2.85 in nine games against his former team, who he pitched for from 2008-09. 

Arizona is throwing out a young pitcher in this matchup, starting 26-year-old Taylor Widener. A second-year pro, Widener is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts for the Diamondbacks this season and has never pitched against the Nationals. 


Saturday, April 17, RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 8.53 ERA) vs. RHP Luke Weaver (1-0, 2.13 ERA) | First Pitch: 1:05 pm ET

The third installment of this four-game series has the Nationals sending Erick Fedde back to the mound for his third start this season. Fedde got off to a rough start against Atlanta, surrendering six runs in only 1 2/3 innings, but had a huge bounce back against St. Louis on Monday. The 2014 first-round pick tossed 4 2/3 innings to a 1.23 ERA. He appeared much more in control and the Nationals are hoping that he can bring this into this game as well. He has pitched against the Diamondbacks once back in 2019, where he gave up a .261 batting average and had an ERA of 7.50. 

Arizona will be sending Luke Weaver to the mound for Saturday’s matinee. He has a 1-0 record in two games this year with a solid 2.13 ERA. In 2018, he faced the Nationals one time and gave up a batting average of .368 and had an ERA of 4.91, which could bode well if Washington gets their lineup in sync soon.  


Sunday, April 18, RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-1 6.30 ERA) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2 11.20 ERA)| First Pitch: 1:05 pm 

The final game of this series sees Washington send out their second ace, Stephen Strasburg. While looking outstanding in his first outing, Strasburg struggled mightily on Tuesday night against the Cardinals. Throwing 88 pitches in only 4.0 innings, something seemed off all night long. He and the team chalked it up to faulty mechanics and not an injury, which is good, if they are telling the truth. Still, he has only given up a .231 average on the year and has 13 appearances in total against Arizona that has given him a 4.74 ERA and 5-5 record. 

The final pitcher for the Diamondbacks is veteran Madison Bumgarner, who was acquired from the Giants prior to last season. He has not enjoyed success since being in Arizona and is already 0-2 in three games this season with an ERA of 11.20. His average exit velocity is also the highest it’s been in his career since the stat became available. He has made 10 appearances against Washington with a 2.69 ERA. 

Series Notes: Arizona Diamondbacks

  • The Diamondbacks are currently 4-8 and have lost 5 of their their last 7
  • Former National Asdrubal Cabrera is leading Arizona with .273 average at .273
  • The Diamondbacks are scoring 4.58 runs per game with a batting average of .221
  • Bumgarner has their most IP, most hits given up, most runs given up, most strikeouts, and most home runs given up of their pitching staff

Edited by: Jonathan Mailloux