Series preview: Nationals vs Padres

If you look at the Padres and Nationals’ records and metrics, you will find it hard to believe that a Nats win tonight would tie these two teams in the standings. You would never know it by their payroll and star appeal. One team has former Nationals superstar Juan Soto, along with All-Stars Fernando Tatis, Xander Bogaerts, and Manny Machado, although the Padres’ third baseman is injured. In comparison, the National’s leading hitter is wait for it, Lane Thomas, with a .787 OPS. Even his defense is showing improvement since the Mets series when he botched a potential catch at the wall.

The matchup between the two teams should be interesting, with the Padres pitching better on the mound lately and better results from Soto. It’ll be a three-game set, starting tonight, when the Nationals go against San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish. The Padres won last season’s series 4-3, as Juan Soto and Josh Bell played their first game in the nation’s capital in August.

San Diego has been a disappointing team this season, and that’s an understatement. A team viewed as an N.L. contender early, hasn’t been able to click and has had trouble with quality players like LHP Blake Snell. He has started the season 1-6 and has posted a 5.40 ERA, a monumental step down from last season. The Padres lost four of their last five series and two of three at home to the Red Sox a couple of days ago. However, they avoided a Boston road sweep with a shut-out win on Sunday. Meanwhile, although Tatis has returned, his return didn’t spark much, if any, momentum for his team. Soto has only 21 RBIs batting near the top of the order, but he recorded a 1.040 OPS in May, and his defense has been better since he left the Nats. As aforementioned, former Gold Glove winner third-baseman Manny Machado suffered a hand injury and landed on the team’s IL list.

The Nationals will have the former Padre, MacKenzie Gore, who the Nats acquired in that blockbuster Soto trade, on the mound for the series opener. Gore has been consistent this season, even in the first couple weeks of the season, but his last two starts showed some control issues which Gore has said he is trying to improve. In his last appearance against the Marlins, the lefty went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs. This season, Gore has tallied a 3.69 and a 1.45 WHIP in 46.1 total innings.

The Nationals rebounded from a gut-wrenching three-game set against the Miami Marlins, where the Nats dropped all three games in close scoring contests, to win two of three against Detroit, collecting 17 runs as the bats came alive. Let’s see if the bats can continue to stay hot against a tough Padres rotation.

The Nationals sit at the bottom of the N.L. East with a 20-27 record, and after a great start to May, the Nationals were 2.0 games off in the Wild Card chase to 4.5 games today. The Mets are on a roll as of late, winning seven of their last ten as they leapfrogged the Marlins and Phillies for second place in the division. However, the Nationals are 4-6 in their last ten contests due to getting swept in Miami.

Tale of the Tape

Divisional Standings5th4th
All-Time matchup record264-237237-264
Team Average.263 (5).222 (30)
Runs193 (23)182 (26)
Hits421 (7)339 (30)
Home Runs34 (29)50 (T-18)
K%19.0% (1)23.7% (21)
OBP.324 (T-13).312 (T-21)
ERA4.35 (18)3.92 (10)
WHIP1.42 (25)1.25 (11)
Run Differential-21 (21)-8 (18)
Errors31 (T-4)12 (30)

Scouting the Lineup

Projected starting lineupABBAHHRRBIOPSWAR
RF Fernando Tatis Jr.117.27432714.8101.5
1B Jake Cronenworth161.21134416.6970.7
SS Xander Bogaerts171.25744616.7601.6
LF Juan Soto165.24841821.8711.5
DH Matt Carpenter90.21119421.7650.2
3B Ha-Seong Kim144.23634414.6871.9
2B Rougned Odor57.1751017.564-0.3
CF Trent Grisham145.18627412.6470.0
C Brett Sullivan37.189714.5620.2

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tues 5/23 – Yu Darvish (2-3) 3.56 ERA vs. MacKenzie Gore (3-3) 3.69 ERA

Game start – 7:05 p.m.

Wed 5/24 – Ryan Weathers (1-2) 3.42 ERA vs Trevor Williams (1-2) 4.26 ERA

Game start – 7:05 p.m.

Thur 5/25 – Blake Snell (1-6) 5.40 ERA vs Jake Irvin (1-2) 5.50 ERA

Game start – 4:05 p.m.

Betting Nuggets

Favorite: Padres (-150)

Underdog: Nationals (+125)

Over/Under: 8

Broadcast Information

Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Padres on MASN2. Bob Carpenter will handle play-by-play duties, with Kevin Frandsen as the color analyst. Dan Kolko will report from the field. MASN’s television territory covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Charlotte, N.C., including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Local Radio: 106.7 is the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. Find all listings here. Play-by-play broadcasters Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes will call the action. All games will be available to listen to on the radio.

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