Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, June 13th
(All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (37-23) at Toronto Blue Jays (31-31), 12:37 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Stephen Strasburg (7-1, 2.41)
Toronto - Kyle Drabek (4-6, 4.43)
(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals have yet to blink through the
opening stages of their tour through the always-tough American League East.
The Nationals look to secure their first undefeated road trip since relocating
to Washington and turn to ace Stephen Strasburg this afternoon in the finale
of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Washington opened up a span of 15 straight games against the AL East with a
three-game sweep in Boston and have taken the first two of this series in
Toronto. A victory today would give the Nats their first undefeated, multi-
city road trip since the Montreal Expos swept back-to-back three-game sets in
Houston and Atlanta from July 4-10, 1988.
The Nats will next return home for six in a row, three against both the
Yankees and Rays, before a three-game set at Baltimore.
The Nationals have also made just their fourth trip back to Canada since
relocating prior to the 2005 season a successful one. They came into this
series having lost seven of nine in Toronto, but can sweep the franchise for
the first time in Toronto and for only the second time in franchise history.
The Blue Jays also dropped all three games of a set in Montreal from June
Rookie Bryce Harper continued to impress north of the border, notching his
second straight three-hit game in last night's 4-2 win. Harper also connected
on a monster solo homer in the third inning, one of three hit by Washington in
"I have guys around me that are swinging [the bat] and that helps me out even
more," said Harper, who is hitting .382 in his past 20 games with five homes
and 14 RBI.
Danny Espinosa also homered for the Nats, who have won a season high-tying
five in a row, and Jhonatan Solano added his first career long ball.
Chien-Ming Wang picked up the win, allowing two runs in five innings. He gave
up four hits and walked five, but he struck out five for the Nats, who have
won five of their past six against the Blue Jays and own a four-game lead over
the Braves for first place in the National League East.
Henderson Alvarez suffered the loss for Toronto, allowing four runs on nine
hits over seven innings. The 22-year-old righty was tagged for all three
Washington homers and has allowed 16 home runs in 13 starts.
"When he has missed on the plate, he hasn't gotten away with a mistake.
For a ground-ball pitcher it's a high number of home runs at this point," Blue
Jays manager John Farrell said.
Farrell's club will now have to deal with Nats ace Strasburg, who tries to
stretch his winning streak to five starts in a row today.
Strasburg hasn't lost since suffering his only defeat so far this season on
May 15. He has allowed two earned runs or less in three of the four victories,
pushing his season record to 7-1 with a 2.41 earned run average in 12 starts.
The young right-hander got the start at historic Fenway Park on Friday and
gave up a pair of runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out a season
high-tying 13 batters -- one off his career high -- and threw 75 of his
career-high 119 pitches for strikes.
The outing gave Strasburg 208 strikeouts in 29 career games, making him just
the sixth player since 1900 to fan 200 batters in 30 or fewer games according
to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"He's a competitor and when he goes out there he's going to give you his best
stuff," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "He did great tonight against a
good hitting ballclub."
Strasburg, who faces the Blue Jays for the first time, remained undefeated on
the road, with the 23-year-old 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA in six starts.
The Blue Jays counter with their own young righty in 24-year-old Kyle Drabek,
who had lost two straight starts before getting a no-decision versus the
Braves on Friday. Drabek pitched five-plus innings and yielded three runs on
six hits and four walks while also failing to record a strikeout in the 4-3
Drabek is 4-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 12 starts this season, but 3-2 with a 1.95
ERA in five outings at home. He has never before faced the Nationals.
06/13 10:39:50 ET