It goes without saying that the Nationals had gotten off to a slow start this season, but the last week has seen a change of pace for the Nationals. Fortunately for them, the NL East hasn't been a supremely stand out division and even though their record is 1 game under .500, they have managed to wiggle into 2nd place. Tonight, the Nationals will take on the Marlins for the 2nd game of a 3 game set. If the National win tonight, they'll even up their record and be in a position to have a winning record after tomorrow's game.
The last time the Nationals saw Mat Latos, he was struggling big time. He'd not gone late into games and gave up a lot of runs. He corrected himself against the Nationals that night and was able to pitch well enough to get the win going 6.1 frames and allowing only 2 runs. After that he had another so-so start when he played the Mets, going 5 innings and allowing 3. It's fair to say he hasn't been all that great this season and the Nationals would do well to remind him of this fact tonight and right the wrong that took place the last time they saw this man on the mound. The Nationals have not done historically well against Latos, putting together a .606 OPS in the 128 plate appearances they have against him. Ian Desmond is the exception here, but let's hope there is a reversal of fortune against Latos tonight.
Latos vs. Current Nationals
Stephen Strasburg seems to be trending in the right direction, having won the last 2 games he's started. Given that the Win/Loss stat doesn't mean a whole lot, it goes to say that in his last start he only allowed 2 runs and even though he only went 5.1 innings, he struck out 2 and walked only 1. He lasted longer in his start prior to that, but allowed twice as many runs. What stands out to me the most is that Strasburg's FIP is a stingy 2.55 in 2015. His peripherals are pretty good too, sitting at a 2.5 BB/9 and a 9.2 K/9, which are all well within normal range for him. The only thing that seems to be elevated are the hits he has allowed per start with 11.7 this season and a career norm of 7.7. Not sure what the driving factor is for the higher number of hits, but I'd imagine that will get back to within a normal range before too long. The Marlins numbers against Strasburg aren't pretty, but he just needs to remember he's Stephen Strasburg and he'll be okay.
Strasburg vs. Current Marlins