The Washington Nationals are off to their best start since moving from Montreal and seek to continue their solid play when they open a three-game road series against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. Washington is a surprising 12-4 and leads the National League East while enjoying its best season-opening stretch in eight seasons in the nation’s capital. San Diego has posted its first two-game winning streak of the season after beating the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday and Sunday.
Pitching has been big in Washington’s early-season success and offseason acquisition Gio Gonzalez will start for the Nationals. Gonzalez has hurled seven innings of two-hit shutout ball in each of his last two starts and will be well-rested after Sunday’s postponement. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman sat out Saturday’s game with shoulder soreness and the rain-out and off-day should aid his recovery. The Padres are just 5-12 but scored 11 runs in the final two games against Philadelphia after scoring just eight runs over their previous four contests. Catcher Nick Hundley homered and had a career-best four RBIs on Sunday.
Nationals Padres Betting
When: 10:05 PM ET, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Nationals), Fox Sports San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 2.04 ERA) vs. Padres LH Clayton Richard (1-1, 5.89 ERA)
Gonzalez has rebounded nicely after a poor outing against the Chicago Cubs in his first start since joining the Nationals in a trade. He has struck out 21 batters and walked only five in 17 2/3 innings. Gonzalez never previously faced the Padres during parts of four seasons as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
Richard has allowed 16 runs (12 earned) in his last two starts and has given up four homers in 18 1/3 innings. The Colorado Rockies torched him for eight runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing. Richard is 1-2 with a 3.48 ERA in five career starts against Washington.
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1. The Nationals are 6-2 in one-run games.
2. Washington shortstop Ian Desmond has hit two homers in 12 career at-bats against Richard.
3. San Diego third baseman Chase Headley is batting .362 with four homers while hitting safely in 13 of 14 games.