Rockies Vs. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg Looking For Elusive 10th Victory

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 8: Second basemen Danny Espinosa #18 of the Washington Nationals makes a play on Ty Wigginton #21 of the Colorado Rockies in the seventh inning at Nationals Park on July 8, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Colorado Rockies won, 3-2. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Nationals face the Rockies in the final series before the All-Star break, featuring the NL's best team against the league's worst.

After sweeping the Giants in three games, the Nationals joined the Yankees and the Rangers as the only three teams with a .600 or better record. With the National League's best record, the Nationals now have the luxury of a 4.5 game lead for the NL East entering the final series before the All-Star break. That final series will come against the team tied with the Cubs for the MLB's worst record at 20 games under .500.

The Rockies and Nationals faced each other in the final week of June and split the series, winning two games each. Colorado will have to defeat Stephen Strasburg in the first game if they want to hop out to an early lead in the series, though.

Strasburg ranks second in the NL in strikeouts and 11th in ERA, enough to earn him a spot in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. However, he has earned back to back losses, including one against the Rockies on June 25.

To get back on track and earn his elusive 10th win, Strasburg will have to defeat the winless Drew Pomeranz. After six starts, Pomeranz has earned three losses, but has yet to earn his first victory of the season. In his last outing he allowed just two hits and didn't allow an earned run in six innings, but earned the loss as the Rockies were held scoreless by the Padres.

The first pitch of the game will be thrown at 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park and will be televised on MASN and Root Sports.

For more on the Nationals, visit Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nats blog. Get caught up on the Rockies with Purple Row. Check out Baseball Nation for more news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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