Thursday, May 13, 2010

MLB Preview - Washington (19-15) Vs Colorado (16-17)

Though the Nationals are 3-11 at Coors Field since the start of the 2006 season, and where they were swept last year, they’re 8-7 on the road in 2010. Washington, which split a four-game home set with the Rockies (16-17) in April, has won four of five overall.

“I think the greatest thing about this team is we don’t get too high or too low,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman told the Nationals’ official website. “That’s a great attitude for us to have. We have been playing well.”

The Nationals are on a high after light-hitting outfielder Roger Bernadina hit his first two major league homers, including a tiebreaking shot off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning of a 6-4 win over the Mets on Wednesday.

Adam Dunn had two hits, and is batting .311 with 15 RBIs in his last 20 games. The Nationals slugger, however, was 3 for 14 against the Rockies last month.

Washington will get its first look at Chacin (2-0, 0.00), who has thrown 15 1-3 scoreless innings over two starts and one relief appearance since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on April 27.

The 22-year-old right-hander, who appeared in nine games for Colorado last season, gave up six hits and struck out seven in 7 1-3 innings of an 8-0 win at Los Angeles on Saturday. That came after he allowed one hit and fanned seven in seven innings of a 4-1 win at San Francisco in his first start May 2.

“This kid’s capable of winning a lot for us right now,” manager Jim Tracy said.

Miguel Olivo went 5 for 5 and hit a game-winning homer in the Rockies’ 4-3, 10-inning victory over Philadelphia in the first game of a scheduled day-night doubleheader Wednesday. Poor weather postponed the nightcap.

Carlos Gonzalez had three hits after missing the previous two games after attending the funeral of his uncle. Gonzalez is batting .330 this season, and .353 with two homers and five RBIs in nine games versus the Nationals.

He’s 4 for 4 against Thursday’s scheduled starter, John Lannan (1-2, 6.34), who returns to the mound after missing his last start because of elbow discomfort. Lannan, who allowed six runs in five innings of a 9-3 loss at Florida on May 2, could be on a limited pitch count.

“We want him to pitch pain free, throw his pitches and keep the ball down,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “That first performance will be more how he feels and how he recovers from that more so than just the results of the game.”

Lannan is 0-1 with a 7.41 ERA in three starts against the Rockies. The left-hander gave up four runs and 11 hits in six innings, but didn’t get a decision in the 6-4 win over Colorado on April 21.

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