The Washington Nationals have had plenty of big stories this season, with Bryce Harper making an immediate impact and the constant Stephen Strasburg innings watch eating up most of the attention. Lost in the shuffle lately has been the play of Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche, who have carried the offense during a string of five wins in six games. The Houston Astros have not put up much resistance against any team recently and have dropped six of seven.
Morse ran his hitting streak to 15 games and drove in a run during Monday’s 5-4 11-inning victory in the series opener while LaRoche drove in a run to give him 11 RBIs in the last seven contests. The Astros are getting offense from Justin Maxwell – 7-for-12 in the last three games – but have gotten little else from the lineup as the young pitching staff goes through some inconsistencies and the defense struggles. Houston tied it in the ninth on Monday to force extra innings but allowed the go-ahead run to score by making a pair of errors on the same play, attempting to field a bunt.
Washington vs Houston
When: 8:05 PM ET, Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSH (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Ross Detwiler (6-4, 3.02 ERA) vs. Astros RH Jordan Lyles (2-8, 5.95)
Detwiler is coming off one of his strongest starts of the season, earning a win over the Philadelphia Phillies by allowing only three hits in seven scoreless frames. The 26-year-old has surrendered one earned run or less in three of his last four outings and has succeeded at keeping the ball on the ground, yielding only one home run in that span. Detwiler won his lone career start against the Astros, giving up two runs on seven hits in six innings on Sept. 23, 2010.
Lyles has been getting knocked around lately, going 0-4 with an 8.02 ERA over his last six turns. He was clubbed for nine runs (seven earned) in five innings at Milwaukee last week and has surrendered two home runs in each of his last three turns. The 21-year-old has made two career appearances – one start – against the Nationals, going 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 10 1/3 total innings.
1. The Nationals picked up INF Cesar Izturis off waivers on Monday, providing some insurance for injured SS Ian Desmond (oblique).
2. Houston is watching the innings of its young starters and could go to a six-man rotation or skip starts in September when rosters expand.
3. Washington C Kurt Suzuki recorded his first two hits since joining the Nationals with a 2-for-5 effort on Monday.