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Washington Nationals vs San Diego Padres Series Preview: Nats send three best arms to the hill

The Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres have both had problems with rotation depth this season, but the Nats are getting Stephen Strasburg back to shore up their front end of their rotation.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (71-47) vs. Padres (54-66) Series Info:

Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 17 at 10:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, Aug. 18 at 10:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8:40 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 20 at 4:40 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Edwin Jackson (3-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (11-8, 4.06)

Friday: Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.25) vs. Luis Perdomo (6-7, 4.95)

Saturday: TBA (Stephen Strasburg?) vs. Travis Wood (1-1, 5.57)

Sunday: Gio Gonzalez (11-5, 2.49) vs. TBA

What to watch for:

Stephen Strasburg returns…

Washington will get a boost this weekend when Stephen Strasburg comes off the disabled list to pitch in his hometown of San Diego.

Strasburg hasn’t pitched since July 23, when he left a start against Arizona after just two innings with a right elbow nerve impingement.

Sporting a (10-3) record and 3.25 ERA, Strasburg will be a much-needed upgrade over replacements A.J. Cole and Erick Fedde who have pitched in his absence.

…while Brian Goodwin hits the shelf

Rotation depth has been an issue for the Nats amid their injuries, but it’s been nothing compared to the long list of outfielders that have suited up for the club this year.

Rookie Brian Goodwin was in the middle of a breakout year with a .811 OPS and 13 homers, but a groin strain has sent him to the DL.

Howie Kendrick and the recently activated Michael Taylor will be everyday players until Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth return, but some combination of Adam Lind, Andrew Stevenson, Alejandro De Aza will fill out the rest of the outfield for now.

Who starts next for the Padres?

The Friars weren’t expected to have a very strong pitching staff prior to the season, but for better or for worse the rotation has lived up to expectations.

San Diego’s 4.76 starter’s ERA ranks fifth highest in the NL, which has been compiled by 12 different pitchers (tied for the second most in the Senior Circuit).

The carousel of starters continues with three starters sporting ERAs above 4.00 slated to pitch in this four-game series.

Who to watch out for: Cory Spangenberg

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego’s place in the standings has kept most of their players out of the spotlight this season, but Cory Spangenberg has been hitting the cover off the ball over the past two months.

Since the beginning of July, Spangenberg is hitting .307 with 15 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs, making him one of the hottest bats in the lineup.

The Padres are actually 21-17 over that span, putting the weight on the Nats to slow their roll and keep Spangenberg off the basepaths.

In their words…

Jodi Paranal, Gaslamp Ball

“By design, the Padres were supposed to be the worst team in baseball in 2017. Fans prepared themselves for a full-on tank job, and for the most part the team has delivered. But they've also managed to put together some remarkable performances lately. Against the MLB-leading Dodgers last weekend they scrapped together a win and a couple of hard-fought losses. Most recently they completed a sweep against the Phillies, leading into this series against the Nationals. Honestly, this could go either way.”