Game Details: Tampa Bay Rays (48-31; second place in the AL East) v. Washington Nationals (38-38; second place in the NL East)
Pitching Matchup: LHP Rich Hill (6-2; 3.52 ERA) v. RHP Joe Ross (4-7; 4.12 ERA)
Date & Time: June 29, 2021; 7:05 p.m. | Game #77 / Home #41
Location: Nats Park | Washington D.C.
TV: MASN 2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Game Time Forecast via National Weather Service
Mostly clear, with a low around 76. South wind around 6 mph.
Today in Nationals History
2008 – Down 2-1 with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 12th, Ronnie Belliard hit a walk-off two-run shot off George Sherrill to secure a 3-2 win vs. Baltimore. Belliard became just the third Washington National (2005-pres.) to erase a deficit with a walk-off home run while down to the last strike. He was also the first D.C.-based big leaguer to hit a walk-off homer in the 12th inning or later since May 15, 1971, at RFK Stadium, when Senators pinch-hitter Don Mincher hit a solo shot off Detroit’s Tom Timmermann, in the 15th inning.
Washington Nationals Game StoryLine: Power Hour?
The Washington Nationals look to extend their winning streak to three as they welcome the second place in the AL East Tampa Bay Rays. This will be the first of two games against the Rays.
LHP Rich Hill (6-2; 3.52 ERA)
The Nationals have their work cut out for them tonight, as Hill Is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA (60.1-IP, 14-ER) in his last 11 starts since April 26, yielding 2 runs (or fewer) in nine of them…among starting pitchers over that stretch, ranks 7th in the majors in ERA and 2nd in the AL behind TEX Kyle Gibson (1.87), and leads the AL with a .166 opp avg.
Against the Nationals, Hill is 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA (28.2-IP, 13-ER) in seven career apps (6 starts) against the Nationals, including 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA (10.2-IP 3-ER) in 3 apps (all starts) at Nationals Park. Hill last faced the Washington Nationals on May 9, 2019 at home (with the Los Angeles Dodgers), taking the loss after allowing 3 runs in 5 IP, all coming on a 1st-inning 3-run homer by Howie Kendrick.
RHP Joe Ross (4-7; 4.12 ERA)
Today’s start marks Ross’s first career start against the Tampa Bay Rays. However, during the month of June, Ross, has allowed just five earned runs in 26.0 innings pitched (1.73 ERA), struck out 26 batters against just four walks in his four starts this month.
Impressive Pitching from Start to Finish
Starting and the closing pitching staff has been impressive this month. Washington’s starting pitching staff has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 18 of 23 starts dating to June 4. The starting pitching rotation has pitched to a 2.56 ERA with a .211 opponents’ batting average. Nationals starting rotation combined is 2.56 ERA is the second-best mark in Major League Baseball during this span (New York Mets, 2.20 ERA).
Across his last 17 outings, Brad Hand has pitched to a 0.98 ERA (2 ER/18.1 IP) and has converted all 12 save opportunities over this stretch. Brad Hand has converted 14 straight save opportunities dating to May 16. Hand’s 17 saves this season rank sixth in the National League.
Moving on Up
The Nationals have won seven of their last nine, 12 of their last 15, 13 of their last 17 and 14 of their last 19 games dating to June 9 Washington’s 14–5 (.737) record since June 9 is tied for the best record in Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros (14–5, .737) and ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers (13–6, .684) The Nationals are 5–2 since they started a stretch of 20 games
Kyle Schwarber leads the Washington Nationals with 32 extra base hits, 52 RBI’s, 24 home runs and is batting .257. Schwarber’s 15 home runs this month are the most in any single month in Nationals history (2005-pres.)
Kyle is just the third player in Major League history to hit 15 home runs in 17 games (Barry Bonds, 2001; Sammy Sosa, 1998) and is just the second player in Major League history to hit nine homers in 11 games (Frank Howard, 1968).
Additionally, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 15 homers this month are tied for the second-most homers hit in the month of June in MLB history (5x, Last: Jim Thome, 2004) behind Sammy Sosa (20, 1998). Elias Sports Bureau also notes that he is only the fourth player in MLB history to have five multi-homer games in a single calendar month along with Harmon Killebrew (May, 1959), Albert Belle (Sept., 1995) and Edwin Encarnacion (May, 2014).
The latest roster Moves
Before today’s game, the Washington Nationals announced the following roster moves:
- Recalled right-handed pitcher Ryne Harper from Triple-A Rochester
- Selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein from Triple-A Rochester
- Placed right-handed pitcher Tanner Rainey (retroactive to June 28) on the 10-day Injured List with a stress reaction in his right tibia
- Designated right-handed pitcher Justin Miller for assignment.
Game Lineups (Subject To Change without Notice)
Kyle Schwarber – LF
Trea Turner – SS
Juan Soto – RF
Ryan Zimmerman – 1B
Yan Gomes – C
Josh Harrison – 2B
Starlin Castro – 3B
Victor Robles – CF
Joe Ross – RHP
Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Lowe – 2B
Ji-Man Choi – 1B
Wander Franco – SS
Austin Meadows – LF
Joey Wendle – 3B
Kevin Kiermaier – CF
Mike Zunino – C
Brett Phillips – RF
Rich Hill – LHP