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Washington Nationals vs San Francisco Giants Series Preview: Nats head to California

The Washington Nationals kick off their West Coast trip with a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (30-19) vs. Giants (22-30) Series Info:

Game 1: Monday, May 29 at 4:00 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, May 30 at 10:00 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, May 31 at 10:15 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Monday: Tanner Roark (4-2, 4.32 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (2-5, 5.28)

Tuesday: Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.90) vs. Jeff Samardzija (1-6, 4.50)

Wednesday: Max Scherzer (5-3, 2.77) vs. Matt Cain (3-3, 4.45)

What to watch for:

How long will Michael A. Taylor be able to keep hitting?

The owner of a .315/.351/.543 slash line in 24 games since Adam Eaton was lost for the year, Michael Taylor has been a force for the Nationals at the bottom of the order.

However, his BABIP is alarmingly high and he continues to pile up the strikeouts — prompting many to question whether or not he will cool off.

He primarily hits eighth and isn’t expected to carry the lineup by any means, but his play over the next two months will determine whether or not general manager Mike Rizzo looks to add an outfielder at the trade deadline.

Don’t look now, but the Nats’ bullpen is on a roll

Koda Glover took over the closer role on May 21, converting a four-out save to secure a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Including that game, the Nationals have played seven games with Glover handling the ninth inning and have allowed just two runs over that span.

That’s good enough for a 1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings — too small a sample to get excited about just yet but an encouraging sign for a group that Rizzo has said just needs to get established roles.

Jeff Samardzija and his absurd K/BB ratio

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija hasn’t been very good this season as his 4.50 ERA and 1.3 HR/9 will tell you.

However, in the month of May, Samardzija has struck out 44 batters while walking just one.

He’s going to give up plenty of extra-base hits, but the Nats could have their hands full if his swing-and-miss stuff is at the top of its game.

Who to watch out for: Buster Posey

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

I typically try to avoid putting no-brainer picks here for potential dangerous hitters, but with a San Francisco offense that ranks dead last in the majors with a team OPS of .640 there aren’t exactly many to choose from.

Buster Posey is having another Posey-esque year, on pace to finish the season with 25 home runs and a .953 OPS.

His RBI and runs scored numbers won’t jump out at you, but the blame for that rests on the shoulders of the struggling hitters around him — Brandon Belt is the only other qualified hitter on the team with an OPS+ above 100.