After a six-game homestand that saw the San Francisco Giants go 5-1, they will hit the road for a 10-game road trip that starts in Washington Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Nationals are coming off a two-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays and are now tied for first in the National League East.
The Giants find themselves just 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies entering the weekend.
Let’s take a look at this weekend’s matchups:
Andrew Suarez is coming off his best start of the season when he shutout the Phillies over seven innings, allowing just 3 hits and no walks with 5 strikeouts.
Like many teams Suarez will face this season, no one on the Nationals roster has ever faced him at the major league level. Hopefully, that will be an advantage as it was against Philadelphia.
Stephen Strasburg is someone the Giants are very familiar with. Over the past three seasons, he’s 0-2 against the Giants in three starts with a 3.77 ERA.
Brandon Crawford (5-for-15) and Buster Posey (9-for-21) have very good numbers against the talented right-handed pitcher. Hunter Pence is the only Giant that has taken him deep in 127 combined at-bats against him.
Mutch like Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez is coming off his best major league start — granted he’s only made two starts. He allowed just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings against the Phillies with 6 strikeouts.
Also like Suarez, no Nationals hitters have faced him at the major league level. We’ll see if the rookie can keep the good vibes going.
Gio Gonzalez has made five starts against the Giants over the past three years and is 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA in those starts.
Go figure, but Buster Posey is 9-for-29 (.310) against him with a home run. Andrew McCutchen is 7-for-23 versus Gonzalez.
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The Giants have won Holland’s last two starts despite him not lasting longer than five innings in either start. In all honesty, the veteran is on the chopping block for a spot in the starting rotation.
Surprisingly, he doesn’t have a ton of experience against the Nationals’ hitters. Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters both have at-bats against Holland, but neither will be active for the Nationals this weekend. That leaves only Mark Reynolds with experience against the lefty, and he’s 3-for-10 against him.
The San Francisco Giants actually have decent numbers against Max Scherzer over the last three years. In four starts he is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA.
Still, Scherzer is the best pitcher on the planet right now, and Giants fans may want to pray for rain on Sunday in D.C.
Pablo Sandoval has the best numbers against him with 5 hits in 14 at-bats, including a pair of home runs.
Similar to what I said against the Phillies last weekend, we better win the first two games of the series. Now we wound up beating the Phillies and Jake Arrieta last weekend, but Scherzer is a whole other level.
I really think the Giants have a good chance to take the first two games in this series. With the Nationals hitters not having much experience against either Rodriguez or Suarez, that should be an advantage for us.
Hopefully, the Giants can get this road trip off to a good start with a series win over the first place Nationals.