Los Angeles (48-59) at Washington (57-50)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 4, 2005
  • TV: FSN2, WDCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Washington Nationals are hoping the Preston Wilson they thought they traded for has finally arrived.

One night after hitting a big home run that led to a victory, Wilson will look to help the struggling Nationals build some momentum when they play the deciding game of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wilson hit his 18th home run of the season—his third with his new club since coming over in a trade with Colorado on July 14—on Wednesday to give the Nationals the lead in an eventual 3-1 win, just their fifth victory in their last 19 games.

Wilson, who had a first-inning double, entered the game hitting .220 with just six RBIs in 17 games with the Nationals. Overall, he’s hitting .255 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs in 89 games.

“We felt like he’s capable of doing it when he walks up to home plate on any given at-bat,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said of Wilson.

Wednesday’s win was huge for the Nationals considering they pulled within 4 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves dropped an 8-5 decision to Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Wilson and starter John Patterson will try to help the Nationals win this series on Thursday.

Patterson is probably wondering what he has to do to get some wins. The veteran right-hander has a 1.76 ERA over his last seven starts, but is just 1-1 in that span because the Nationals have scored a combined 12 runs.

“I’m pretty speechless at this point,” Patterson said of his poor run support after allowing two runs and five hits over six innings in a 3-0 loss to Florida on Saturday. “I really don’t have a comment.”

The Dodgers have lost six of eight and are 11 games below .500. However, because they play in the lowly NL West, they are just four games out of first place.

Brad Penny will try to pitch the Dodgers a little closer to the division lead. The hard-throwing right-hander has dominated the Nationals franchise in his career, going 11-4 with a 2.24 ERA in 17 career starts against the Montreal Expos.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Penny CWS vs. J. Patterson Tex
7-9 Record 9-7
3.90 ERA 3.13
122 K 185
41 BB 65
1.29 WHIP 1.19