After becoming the first team in the majors to win 10 games, the surprising Nationals go for a four-game sweep of the Astros on Thursday. Washington Nationals is thriving in pressure situations. The Nats are 5-2 in one-run games following Wednesday’s 3-2 victory. One big reason is the Nats’ ability to get on base. Four players have drawn at least eight walks, and the team’s .335 on-base percentage ranks eighth in MLB.
Now 4-8, the Houston Astros suffered another blow Wednesday when left fielder Travis Buck left the game with a hamstring strain. Houston ranks 10th in the NL in slugging percentage (.368) and is tied for 10th in homers with seven. The Astros have scored a measly five runs in the first three games of the series.
Astros Nationals Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2012
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN, FS-H
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Bud Norris (0-0, 3.46 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Norris is 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two career starts vs. Washington, holding the Nats to a .220 average. In 11 career at-bats against Norris, Jayson Werth has two hits (.182) with five strikeouts. But Ryan Zimmerman is 3 for 7 with a homer.
Jackson was brilliant last time out, going the distance vs. the Reds while allowing one run on two hits. He’s fanned 15 batters in 14 innings after signing with Washington as a free agent. In five career appearances against Houston, Jackson is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA.
1. Nats reliever Brad Lidge has been suffering from vertigo but reportedly was feeling better Wednesday.
2. Nats closer Henry Rodriguez has converted all three of his save opportunities.
3. Astros CF Jordan Schafer is tied for fourth in MLB with six stolen bases.