Seattle (37-36) at Washington (36-37)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 90° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jun 22, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Late-inning dramatics have the Washington Nationals on the cusp of .500 at this point or later in a season for the first time in nearly six years.

Having John Lannan(notes) on the mound could help them get there, but he’ll be opposed by Erik Bedard(notes), who has been dominant against the National League.

Lannan looks to lead the red-hot Nationals to an eighth straight win over the Mariners on Wednesday night.

Washington (36-37) continued its impressive play with a 6-5 victory over Seattle on Tuesday, scoring five runs in the ninth inning for its ninth win in 10 games. Wilson Ramos(notes) capped the stunning comeback with a three-run, walkoff homer.

The rookie catcher’s heroics have the Nationals in position to reach the break-even point at this stage or later in a season for the first time since they finished 81-81 in 2005.

“We are closer as a team,” reliever Collin Balester(notes) told the team’s official website. “I think everyone is feeding off each other. We are just hot right now. It doesn’t matter what the score is, this team never gives up. That’s the biggest part about this team. There is a lot of fight, and no giving up.”

Lannan (4-5, 3.52 ERA) looks to continue his terrific pitching in his first meeting with the Mariners.

The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five starts after going 0-4 with a 6.06 ERA in his previous six.

Lannan was excellent again Thursday, yielding two runs in seven innings before Danny Espinosa(notes) connected for a three-run, walkoff homer in a 7-4, 10-inning win over St. Louis.

“Same as always, I just had the sinker working,” Lannan said. “I felt I had a good rhythm, and I knew if I got in trouble, I could go to the sinker.”

Rhythm has been hard for Lannan to find in his last three starts against the AL. He’s lost all three with a 10.67 ERA.

Bedard (4-4, 3.16) will try to pitch the Mariners to their first win against Washington since June 13, 2004, when the franchise was the Montreal Expos.

Bedard’s 1.79 ERA in 16 interleague starts is the lowest of any pitcher with at least 100 innings, and he’s 8-1 in that stretch. He has no record and a 2.08 ERA in two meetings with the Nationals, but hasn’t faced them since June 14, 2008.

The left-hander has been outstanding his last nine games, going 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA. He limited the Los Angeles Angels to three hits over seven scoreless innings last Wednesday in a 3-1 victory.

Ichiro Suzuki(notes) is hitting .462 with 10 runs in his last nine games, raising his season average 27 points to .279. The star right fielder is batting .385 over his past 33 games against NL foes.

Washington is expected to be without left fielder Laynce Nix(notes) after a sore right Achilles’ forced him out of Tuesday’s win in the seventh inning. He’s considered day-to-day.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Bedard LAD vs. J. Lannan Col
5-9 Record 10-13
3.62 ERA 3.70
125 K 106
48 BB 76
1.28 WHIP 1.46


Wednesday, Jun 22