Washington (59-42) at San Francisco (59-42)
When: Thursday, July 28th 2016
Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
Time: 10:15 ET | TV: MASN2, CSN Bay Area
Two division leaders start a four-game series at AT&T Park when the San Francisco Giants host the Washington Nationals on Thursday. The Giants have lost nine of 11 since the All-Star Break and have seen their lead in the National League West evaporate to 2.5 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Francisco wasted a solid outing by Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati. The Giants are struggling with a 4.97 ERA in their last 11 games, dropping their season number to 3.70, and have recorded only three quality starts since the break. The Nationals have only been slightly better with a 5-6 record since the break. One reason for the losing record is the slump that star Bryce Harper is currently in. He is 0-for-17 over his last five games and batting .177 in July to drop his season average to .237. Washington LF Jayson Werth extended his career-best on-base streak to 30 games – the longest current run in the majors – with a walk Wednesday.
Pitchers: Nationals – Tanner Roark (9-6, 3.05 ERA) | Giants – Johnny Cueto (13-2, 2.53)
Tanner Roark suffered his first loss since June 21st last time out against San Diego when he allowed five runs and four hits including two home runs in five innings. Roark was 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his previous five games (four starts) while earning a hold in a relief appearance prior to the All-Star break. Roark is 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 14.1 innings in four games (one start) against San Francisco.
Cueto received a no-decision after allowing an unearned run and striking out nine in six innings of the Giants’ 2-1 victory in 12 innings at Yankee Stadium on Saturday – one of the Giants’ two wins since the break. Cueto will try and be the second 14-game winner in the NL with a win tonight. He is 5-1 with a 2.43 ERA in nine home starts this season. Cueto is 7-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 starts against Washington and owns a 16-inning scoreless streak versus them.
This is a tough game to predict, but I’m going to go with San Fran tonight. Cueto has been great all year and he’s almost un-hittable against Washington in the last few starts. The Nationals are only hitting .239 versus righties all season and .220 in the last ten games.
Pick: Giants -140