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Nationals vs. Pirates: Series Breakdown

Oh the offense.  Here we are, 28 games in the 2012 regular season, and the trend thus far, for the most part, has remained the same.  The Pirates can’t score runs.  After a brief resurgence led by Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata in their series against the St. Louis Cardinals last week, the Bucs returned to their struggling ways this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park, tallying just four runs in the three-game set.  The Reds took two out of three from the Pirates, including a dominating 5-0 shutout on Sunday afternoon.

The Bucs are the worst offensive team in baseball.  Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes, two of the Pirates’ offseason acquisitions, have been abysmal at the plate.  Andrew McCutchen has been struggling as of late, which may or may not have to do with this recent stomach flu issues.  Neil Walker is heating up, while guys like Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee seem to be on a game-to-game basis in terms of hitting consistency.

While the starting pitching has been the strong suit of the team this season so far, it, too, has tapered off a bit in the past week.  A.J. Burnett was rocked last week by the Cardinals, while Charlie Morton turned in two mediocre (at best) performances in past couple times out on the mound.  Erik Bedard and James McDonald appear to be at the top of the rotation at this point, while Kevin Correia has once again adopted last year’s trend of a strong pitcher on the road and a struggling one at PNC Park.

The Bucs continue their longest home stand of the season thus far against the Washington Nationals, who are 18-10 and in first place in the N.L. East.  Viewed by some as an up-and-coming team that won’t be divisionally relevant for a couple years, the Nats are one of the more surprising teams of this early season.  Washington has been grabbing national attention a lot lately, not only with the return of Stephen Strasburg following Tommy John surgery, but now the debut of Bryce Harper.  Guys like Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler have been solid on the mound, while Adam LaRoche leads the team in batting average (.311) and RBI’s (17). 

Unfortunately for Washington, they lost Jayson Werth to a broken wrist, which he suffered on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to April 21, but after taking batting practice this weekend, it’s possible he’ll be in the lineup this series against the Pirates.

Nationals (18-10) vs. Pirates (12-16)

About the Nationals…

18-10 Record, 1st In N.L. East

Last Series:  2-1 Series Win Vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Pitching Matchups:

5/7 – Edwin Jackson (WSH) (1-1, 3.69 ERA, 29 K, 8 BB, WHIP 1.11) vs. A.J. Burnett (PIT) (1-2, 8.04 ERA, 17 K, 6 BB, WHIP 1.72)

5/8 – Ross Detwiler (WSH) (3-1, 1.59 ERA, 21 K, 9 BB, WHIP 0.99) vs. Erik Bedard (PIT) (2-4, 2.65 ERA, 37 K, 14 BB, WHIP 1.41)

5/9 – Stephen Strasburg (WSH) (2-0, 1.66 ERA, 38 K, 7 BB, WHIP 0.84) vs. Kevin Correia (PIT) (1-2, 3.37 ERA, 12 K, 9 BB, WHIP 1.12)

Quotes From Both Sides:

[box_dark] “We dealt with it before.  We’ll deal with it again.  We’ll weather this one.” [/box_dark]

          -Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson on Jayson Werth’s broken wrist  

[box_dark] “Everybody’s had a different opinion about Pedro Alvarez.  I get that.  But the bottom line is everybody in Pittsburgh wanted to see him succeed, from the North Hills to the South Hills and everywhere in between.” [/box_dark]

         –Clint Hurdle on the reactions from media and fans about his third baseman

After a difficult start to the home stand, the Pirates look to rebound in this series against the Nationals, while climbing ever so closely to that elusive .500 mark.  Check back here for recaps and reactions to every Pirates’ game from us, the Fans From The Stands!


As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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