Game 1: Tuesday, May 23 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)
Game 2: Wednesday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)
Game 3: Thursday, May 25 at 4:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)
Tuesday: Christian Bergman (1-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (1-0, 7.47)
Wednesday: Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 1.29) vs. Tanner Roark (3-2, 4.73)
Thursday: Ariel Miranda (3-2, 4.28) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.86)
What to watch for:
Was Joe Ross able to fix his mechanics in AAA?
After struggling to the tune of 13 earned runs allowed in his first 15.2 innings of the season, Joe Ross was demoted to AAA to work on readjusting his arm slot.
The 24-year-old righty had strikeout and walk numbers hovering around his career norms, but his HR/9 shot up to a baffling 2.9 per nine innings.
Washington’s front office has insisted that Ross is healthy and that his issues were strictly mechanical, so the pressure will be on Tuesday for him to return to form.
Nats’ bats going cold
The biggest strength of the Nationals’ roster has been their lineup so far this season, but several key hitters have struggled over the past week.
Bryce Harper (.167 average in past seven days), Ryan Zimmerman (.227), Trea Turner (.185), Jayson Werth (.200) and Anthony Rendon (.133) all struggled mightily at the plate during the team’s six-game road trip.
Slumps will happen, but the Nats all seemingly lost their rhythm at once. Perhaps they will be able to get back on track against the Mariners’ pitching staff, whose 4.84 team ERA is the worst mark in the AL.
Meet the AL version of the New York Mets
The Seattle Mariners entered the year with high hopes of competing in the AL West, but a myriad of injuries and poor pitching performances has dropped them out of the playoff picture.
Essentially the junior circuit Mets, the Mariners have several key rotations pieces on the shelf in Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Drew Smyly as well as hitters Robinson Cano, Mitch Haniger and Shawn O’Malley.
The Nationals have faced a few struggling teams over the past week with little success, but Seattle is teetering in the AL basement after losing eight of their last 11.
Who to watch out for: Jean Segura
Since the beginning of last season, Jean Segura has quietly developed into one of the more consistent hitters in the majors.
While he doesn’t hit for much power, Segura ranks in the top 10 of the AL in batting average (.336) and on-base percentage (.379).
His career .316/.342/.456 batting line with 36 hits and 16 runs scored in 114 at-bats against the Nats should have manager Dusty Baker on edge if Segura steps to the plate in a late-game situation.