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San Francisco Giants vs Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats look to wrap up homestand on a good note

The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants are two teams trending in very different directions, but they clash in D.C. for a three-game weekend series.

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Giants (46-70) vs. Nationals (68-45) Series Info:

Game 1: Friday, Aug. 11 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Saturday, Aug. 12 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 13 at 1:35 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Friday: Chris Stratton (0-2, 6.63 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.34)

Saturday: Jeff Samardzija (7-11, 4.75) vs. Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.23)

Sunday: Matt Moore (3-12, 5.88) vs. A.J. Cole (1-2, 5.63)

What to watch for:

Add Adrian Sanchez to the list of young players stepping up

Injuries have stretched the Nationals’ depth thin, but rookie Adrian Sanchez has turned it on at the plate and his manager is taking notice.

Over his past eight games, Sanchez is hitting .526 with three doubles and three runs scored. It’s a small sample size, but Dusty Baker has hit him second in the batting order a few times and there’s been a quick and handsome payoff.

“I put him in the order ahead of [Bryce Harper], which doesn’t hurt,” Baker joked, “and I know he can hit that fastball.”

Sean Doolittle giving both fans and teammates confidence

The new Nationals closer is 7-7 in save opportunities with a 3.60 ERA, providing stability in the ninth after an adventure of a first half for the bullpen.

Fans showered Sean Doolittle with “Doooooo” when he entered the ninth Thursday, which sounds eerily similar to the things they used to say when most relievers were on the mound.

"Those guys are coming in and shutting people down," Brian Goodwin said, as quoted by ESPN. "They're going right at hitters and attacking them, and they're being kind of vicious about it. Just the way they're throwing the ball, they're commanding the ball, and their presence on the mound, it's relaxing for us."

Giants already have their eyes on the 2018 season

The team is in the running for the No. 1 pick in next year’s MLB draft, and with the team selling at the deadline it’s no surprise that USA Today reports they’ve thrown in the towel on this season.

What is surprising is that they apparently consider this season an aberration and plan to bank on most of their underperforming players to turn things around next season.

San Francisco’s fall from grace did come out of nowhere, but can they really expect a lineup that ranks dead last in the league in OPS and rotation that owns a measly 4.73 ERA on the year to both have miraculous comebacks?

Who to watch out for: Denard Span

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Posey is the only healthy starter on the Giants with an OPS+ above 100, but watch out for Denard Span trying to wreak havoc against his former team.

Span’s hitting .269 with 24 doubles and 48 runs scored in 88 games this season but is 0-9 against Nationals pitching this season.

The law of averages says that he’s due to turn things around, so we’ll see if he’s able to get something going in D.C.