After a much-needed day off, the Nationals head out west to begin a 10 game road trip, starting with the San Francisco Giants (22-21). Although the Giants wont intimidate anyone with their bats, their starting pitching is arguably one of the best in the league, and the Nats will get to witness that first hand.
In game 1, the Giants will send out Todd Wellemeyer, who has had an up and down start to his 2010 campaign by going 2-4 with a 5.71 ERA. Wellemeyer is also coming off one of his worst performances of the year, which he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings in a 13-1 loss in Arizona. The difference between Wellemeyer pitching at home vs. the road is like night and day. In San Fran he has respectable numbers with 2-1 record and 3.04 ERA, but as a visitor he is 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA. Regardless of how he will pitch, the Nats should consider this a gift compared to the guys they will face in games 2 and 3.
The reigning two-time NL Cy Young Winner, Tim Lincecum (5-0, 2.35) will be toeing the rubber in game 2, and the newly resurrected Barry Zito (6-2, 2.80), who has a Cy Young of his own, will take the mound in the final game of the series. Their resumes speak for themselves, Lincecum the righty and Zito the lefty both has some of the nastiest stuff in the game, which could make the young and undisciplined Nationals hitters look like little leaguers if they are not careful.
It will be interesting to see how the Nationals respond to some of the best pitchers in the game. This will be a great test to see what this lineup is really made of. The trip to San Francisco is probably the most difficult stop on Washington’s road trip, so realistically, they should be aiming to take 2 of 3 from the Giants, but it they complete a sweep it would be a huge boost of confidence for a team rapidly on the rise.
As for the Giants hitters, Pablo “the Kung-Fu Panda” Sandoval continues to make his presence felt in only his second full year in the bigs, but it has been the arrival of first baseman Aubrey Huff that could be the best move in the off-season you never heard of. Huff is a great power threat and is leading the team in walks thus far with 18. Management has done a fantastic job building the team around their ballpark on the mound and at the plate. In the spacious AT&T Park, Huff, Sandoval, and Andres Torres are all on pace to hit a respectable 40 doubles, making the Giants an interesting and dangerous team come pennant race time.