Jun 9, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT
The Nationals are playing their best baseball of the season right now, having won seven of nine to propel themselves into a three-way tie for first place in the NL East with the Braves and Marlins. The one caveat: This hot streak has come against the struggling Rangers, Phillies and Padres.
Tonight, the real test begins, with the Nats opening a four-game series in San Francisco against a Giants club that owns an MLB-best 42-21 record. Stephen Strasburg takes the mound, hoping to continue the Nationals’ dominant run of pitching — six earned runs, 40 strikeouts, zero walks over the last five games — against a lineup that features an old friend. Yes, Michael Morse is batting fifth and playing first base.
Anthony Rendon once again is out of the Nationals’ lineup, the third straight game he has missed after taking a hard grounder off his right hand Friday night in San Diego. Otherwise, Matt Williams is going with the same batting order that has been so successful over the last week.
I’m not on this trip, but enjoy the game tonight and check back for analysis in the morning…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 10:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 65 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Kevin Frandsen
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Stephen Strasburg
CF Gregor Blanco
RF Hunter Pence
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Michael Morse
LF Tyler Colvin
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Brandon Hicks
RHP Ryan Vogelsong
HP Quinn Wolcott
1B Alfonso Marquez
2B Phil Cuzzi
3B Gerry Davis (cc)
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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