Joe Ross (1-1, 3.46 ERA) and the Washington Nationals (34-33) go up against A.J. Burnett (6-2, 1.89 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-27) in the first of a three-game series at Nationals Park. The Pirates enter this series on an eight-game winning streak. The game gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Jun. 19 and will air on ROOT-PIT and MASN2.
In his most recent outing, Ross pitched 0.0 inning, giving up zero runs in a 16-4 loss to the Rays. Denard Span (.307, 29 Rs, 5 HRs, 20 RBIs, 7 SBs) continued his strong season yesterday, going 2 for 4 with one run and one stolen base. In his pitching opportunities against the Nationals, Burnett is 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 20 walks. Starling Marte (.285, 37 Rs, 12 HRs, 45 RBIs, 13 SBs) has been hitting the ball well for the Pirates, going 2 for 5 yesterday with one run.
Oddsmakers have deemed this game an even matchup and the Over/Under (O/U) is unavailable at the moment. The Nationals don't give up many walks to opposing batters, ranking second in the NL with only 2.4 walks allowed per game.
The Pirates will be looking to pick it up in this one after recent offensive struggles. In their 10 most recent games, Pittsburgh's run production has dropped to 2.9 runs per game, compared to 4.4 for the duration of the season. Pittsburgh is a terror on the base paths, ranking fifth in the MLB with 51 stolen bases. The Pirates are a problem for opposing batters, sporting a 2.87 ERA on the road this season. They have a WHIP of 1.17, second best in the MLB. They also have some of the most overpowering arms in the NL with an average of 8.2 strikeouts per road game.
The Nationals will take on a right-hander (Burnett) in this game and have a 25-28 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. Taking the hill against the Pirates will be the right-hander Ross. They sport a 30-23 record against righties.
Predictions: SU Winner - PIT
In their last game, the Pirates won by a margin of one run. The Nationals are 11-7 in one-run games. The Pirates have a 12-11 record in close games.
Pittsburgh has won 44% (11-14) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Washington has won 56% (18-14) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Nationals are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Pirates have an 8-14 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
The Pirates are coming into the game with eight consecutive wins, while the Nationals currently have a losing streak of two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Pirates are 29-5. The Nationals have a 25-2 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 16th, Pittsburgh sits in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 270 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 292.
Ranking 22nd, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 165 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 211.
The Nationals are 25-14 when they hit at least one home run. The Pirates perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 23-14 record.