Game 2 of 4: Tuesday, June 26, 8:40 EDT, Coors Field
After a night when the offense struggled mightily once again and not even Stephen Strasburg could will the Nats into the W column, the Nationals send their 1A stopper Gio Gonzalez (9-3, 2.55 ERA) to the mound to face Christian Friedrich (4-4, 5.65 ERA).
Despite still not being as efficient as you’d like nor having his best stuff over his last four outings, Gio has battled in every game he’s started, going at least 6 IP in three of those four and eleven of his fourteen overall starts. The more important facts are that even with less than stellar stuff, he’s made sure to keep the Nats in the game having only given up more than three runs in a start only once (game 2 of the season at Wrigley) and is still extremely tough on hitters, allowing them to compile an OPS against of .564 in June and .522 for the entire season. The team is 23-6 when Gio or Strasburg start, including last night’s loss, and the odds of this losing streak growing to 3 are extremely low assuming some modicum of offense shows up. But a W is not a lock this evening, as while Gio and Stras are phenomenal stoppers the team has lost back to back games in which they started earlier this season (4/28, 4/29). Gio has only faced two current Rockies and it’d be pretty hard for him to have more polar opposite results as Cuddyer (13 PA) has a 1.238 OPS against Gio, while Scutaro (12 PA) sports a miniscule .333 OPS.
Gio Gonzalez vs. Current Rockies
Friedrich has been fairly up and down throughout his nine major league starts, having five starts of giving up 3 earned runs or less, but also four starts of giving up 4 or more earned runs (including two 8ER games). Not surprisingly three of his four poor outings (two 8ER outings and a 5ER) came at Coors Field. In his last three outings he’s sitting on an 8.40 ERA, a 1.132 OPS against, 6 HR’s allowed, a K:BB of 1.44 and taking the loss in all three games. His last outing was utterly average at the Rangers in a 4-1 loss. As Friedrich is a rookie, he has yet to face any current National.
Lineup Notes: The usual lineup vs. a LHP with Moore in LF.