The Washington Nationals start a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night. This is the third game in a seven-game home stand for the Nationals, who are more than happy to be playing in front of their home crowd, where the team owns a 13-5 record.
Washington is sitting in second place in the NL East, just a half game behind Atlanta, thanks to very good results in the month of May. They lost just one series this month, out of five played so far, dropping two of three games to these very same Pirates.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez looks to continue his red hot start to the season on the mound for Washington. Gonzalez is 4-1 through seven starts with a 1.94 ERA. In almost 42 innings pitched, he has allowed only nine earned runs, striking out 50 and walking just 17 hitters. He has yet to surrender a home run.
Pirates starter Eric Bedard is having something of a revival year himself with a 2.57 ERA in seven starts and a 37/14 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He left his last start, against the Nationals no less, after one inning because of back spasms.
Expect the Nationals to go with a lineup heavy on right-handed hitters as they try to solve the lefty. Washington is hitting just .206 against southpaws this season, the second-worst mark in the National League.
19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper is likely to be in the lineup. Harper has been swinging a hot bat of late, with round-trippers in his last two games. He also has five hits in 16 plate appearances versus lefties.
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