Buoyed by what has been easily the best pitching staff in baseball thus far, Washington looks for its fifth consecutive win and its first three-game series sweep of the season. The struggling San Diego Padres, meanwhile, own the National League’s worst record. The Nationals coasted to a 7-2 victory on Wednesday behind a combined seven-hitter from Jordan Zimmermann and Tom Gorzelanny, both of whom drove in runs during the rout.
Washington Nationals upgraded its pitching rotation in the offseason by acquiring Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, a move that has helped negate an offense that remains one of the more sluggish in the National League. One of the few lineups with less punch has been that of the Padres, which sports a league-worst .211 batting average and just 63 runs scored in 19 games.
Nationals Padres Betting
When: 10:05 PM ET, Thursday, April 26, 2012
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), Fox Sports (San Diego)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Edwin Jackson (1-1, ERA 4.26) vs. Padres RH Edinson Volquez (0-2, ERA 4.30)
Jackson has been a solid addition to the Nationals’ suddenly imposing rotation, posting a WHIP of 0.84 and holding opponents to a .188 batting average. He earned a complete-game win against Cincinnati Apr. 14 (2 H, 1 ER, 9 K, 1 BB) but struggled in his last outing, an Apr. 19 loss to Houston (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Jackson has yet to beat the Padres, going 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in seven games.
Volquez had a rough 2011 season with Cincinnati, even being sent down to the minors for a spell, and while he hasn’t fared much better thus far with San Diego, he hasn’t been awful. The right-hander pitched seven solid innings in a hard-luck loss against Arizona Apr. 10 (5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) and turned in another quality start 10 days later against the Phillies (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER).
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1. Volquez is 1-1 in two career starts against Washington, but he has a 9.72 ERA in those games after taking a beating back in July of 2010 (2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB).
2. Wednesday’s solo home run by San Diego’s Orlando Hudson broke a string of 26 scoreless innings by Washington starting pitchers. The Nationals have allowed just four homers, seven fewer than any other team.
3. Current Padres are a combined 24-for-74 (.324) against Jackson, but the most successful hitter in the bunch, OF Carlos Quentin (5-for-14, HR), is on the disabled list.