Currently on pace for their first winning record in five years, the Giants have to like their chances of continuing their dominance in the series.
The Giants go for their 14th win in 20 games—and their eighth straight against the Nationals—as the clubs open a three-game set Monday night in San Francisco.
Though San Francisco finished fourth in the NL West at 72-90 in 2008, it won all seven meetings with Washington. The Giants outscored the Nationals 38-13 in those games, batting .288 and posting a 1.71 ERA—their lowest against any team last season.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy has to feel good about his club’s ability to extend its winning streak against Washington based on the way the Giants (16-14) have been playing lately. After stumbling to a 3-8 start, they’ve won 13 of 19, including two of three in a weekend series against the NL-best Los Angeles Dodgers.
“There’s no quit in this team. We’re not going to give up and roll over,” outfielder Aaron Rowand(notes) said. “We feel we have a good team and we have the ability to win a lot of games, especially with our pitching staff. So there’s a lot of confidence in here.”
While the Giants are riding the emotion of a dramatic victory, the Nationals (10-19) are coming off a discouraging defeat. They had their season-high three-game winning streak snapped with a 10-8 loss at Arizona on Sunday.
Ryan Zimmerman(notes) extended his franchise-record hitting streak to 28 games with a double and two singles, and Adam Dunn(notes) and Josh Willingham(notes) both homered twice. But that wasn’t enough as Washington gave up at least nine runs for the fourth time in six games.
“Anytime you score over six runs, you should be able to win the ballgame,” manager Manny Acta said.
Acta may not be able to count on that much offense Monday against San Francisco starter Randy Johnson(notes) (2-3, 5.68 ERA). The 45-year-old left-hander, who’s three wins shy of 300, is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his first three home starts for the Giants.
However, Johnson gave up seven runs for the second time this season Wednesday, lasting 5 2-3 innings in an 11-1 loss at Colorado. He didn’t strike out a batter in the game for the first time since Aug. 4, 2006, when he was with the New York Yankees.
“I’m not too worried about strikeouts,” said Johnson, who is second all-time with 4,819. “It is a sign something is wrong? No. By no means.”
Johnson is 3-3 with a 2.67 ERA in nine career starts against the Washington franchise, which he hasn’t faced since 2004, when it was based in Montreal.
Dunn, 8 for 18 (.444) with four homers and eight RBIs over his last four games, is 0 for 9 with six strikeouts in his career against Johnson.
Daniel Cabrera(notes) (0-3, 4.85) will start for the Nationals, who have lost the first six games started by the right-hander, including a 10-3 road defeat against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Cabrera gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings in that game.
Cabrera, who spent the first five seasons of his career in the AL with Baltimore, has never faced San Francisco.