National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, August 15
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (64-57) at Washington Nationals (66-53), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Charlie Morton (5-11, 3.62)
Washington - Tanner Roark (11-7, 2.86)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals are back in the nation's
capital and look to stay on track when they open a three-game series Friday
versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The National League East-leading Nationals are coming off a three-game sweep
of the New York Mets at Citi Field and have a six-game lead on the Atlanta
Braves in the division. The Nationals posted a 4-1 win over the Mets on
Thursday behind a rare road win from Stephen Strasburg, who struck out eight
and allowed one unearned run on three hits and two walks in seven innings.
"Tonight he had really good fastball command," Nationals manager Matt Williams
said of Strasburg. "He pitched well."
Adam LaRoche hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Bryce Harper
belted a two-run shot in the fourth, as the Nationals won for the eighth time
in the last 12 games. Ian Desmond went 2-for-3 with a run scored for
Washington, which won its 11th straight game at Citi Field.
The Nationals' previous club record for consecutive road wins over a team was
10, set by the Montreal Expos over the Chicago Cubs from 1982-83.
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth received a cortisone shot in his balky right
shoulder this week and said he feels better. Werth could see action in this
upcoming series with the Pirates and is batting .279 with 12 homers and 63
runs batted in. He hasn't played since Sunday's loss at Atlanta.
"He said today he feels a lot better," Williams said. "He said he is about 50
percent better, so that is a good sign. It means the anti-inflammatory
medication is working. We'll see what he looks like (Friday). Potentially, we
could give him some work, let him start swinging."
The Nats will also host Arizona and San Francisco on this 10-game homestand.
Tanner Roark gets the start for Washington Friday and is 11-7 with a 2.86
earned run average. He is 0-1 in his last two starts after winning four
straight and did not factor in the outcome of a 4-1 win over the Braves on
Saturday, tossing seven innings of one-run ball.
Roark has never faced the Pirates and the right-hander is 5-5 with a 2.40
earned run average in 11 home starts.
Pittsburgh split a four-game home-and-home series with the Detroit Tigers and
lost both matchups at Comerica Park.
In Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Tigers, Max Scherzer held the Buccos in check by
tossing eight shutout innings and striking out 14 with two walks. Francisco
Liriano was dealt the loss for giving up two runs and three hits in six
innings of work.
"I got a lot of swings and misses," Liriano said. "I wasn't trying to do too
much, just locate pitches. I was using all my pitches well."
Gaby Sanchez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning for the Pirates, who have
lost four of their last six games and sit two games behind Milwaukee for the
NL Central lead.
Pirates infielder Jordy Mercer left Thursday's game against the Tigers in the
seventh inning with right forearm tightness and could miss Friday's game.
Charlie Morton draws the start for Pittsburgh and is a lowly 5-11 with a 3.62
earned run average. Morton is 1-4 in his last 10 starts and previously took
the mound in Sunday's 8-2 loss to San Diego, charged with five runs and five
hits in five innings.
The right-handed Morton is 2-7 with a 4.52 ERA in 13 road starts and 2-2 in
five career meetings -- all starts -- with the Nationals.
Pittsburgh won three of four games versus the Nationals at PNC Park from May
22-25 and has won six of the last eight games in this series.
08/15 10:38:16 ET