Giants Start Series Against Best Second-Half Team in Baseball in Nationals: Fan’s Preview

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The San Francisco Giants have once again found success on offense against the Colorado Rockies. After getting shutout by the Rockies on Friday night with only three hits, the Giants had no trouble winning on Saturday with Matt Cain on the mound and benefited from Hunter Pence's first home run as a Giant to win 9-6 on Sunday. In the team's most recent six games against one another, the Giants have outscored the Rockies 53 to 25.

This same dominance against Colorado won't be as easy to come by against an elite Washington Nationals starting rotation. With the rotation sporting a Major League-best 3.22 ERA, the Nationals will hope to stifle the Giants success with Gio Gonzalez, who is coming off the first nine-inning complete game of his career. While Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong has been the most consistent starter for the team, his last outing, which resulted in a 15-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, will not be as easy to stop since it features the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, and Bryce Harper. The Nationals are also have an MLB-best .617 winning percentage since the All-Star break and are the only team to have a winning record in every month this season.

This three-game series between two first place teams will feature three great pitching duels. After Vogelsong and Gonzalez pitch on Monday, the Nationals will use Jordan Zimmermann against Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday. Wednesday will feature Tim Lincecum against Stephen Strasburg in what will likely be one of Strasburg's last starts of the season.

Matchup:

The San Francisco Giants will host the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park located in San Francisco, CA on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. PT. This will be the first game in a three-game series.

Season series:

Nationals lead series 3-0.

Standings:

Washington comes into the matchup with a 71-44 record and in first place in the National League East. They are 39-22 when playing on the road and have won eight of their last 10 games.

San Francisco enters the game with a 63-52 record and in first place in the National League West. They are 34-24 when playing at home and have won seven of their last 10 games.

Starting pitcher matchup:

Washington: Gio Gonzalez

2012 season: 14-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 154 Ks

Numbers vs. Giants in last five years: 1-2, 3.42 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 23 K

San Francisco: Ryan Vogelsong

2012 season: 10-5, 2.27 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 105 Ks

Numbers vs. Nationals in last five years: No statistics

Where to watch and listen to the game:

The game can be watched live locally at the following:

In Washington: MASN HD, 106.7 The Fan, WHFS 1580, and WFED 1500

In San Francisco: CSN-BA HD, KNBR 680, and KTRB 860

Batting statistic leaders:

Washington: Jayson Werth - .308 batting average, Adam LaRoche - 23 home runs, Adam LaRoche - 75 runs batted in.

San Francisco: Melky Cabrera - .348 batting average, Buster Posey - 19 home runs, Buster Posey - 76 runs batted in.

Sources:

Nationals-Giants series loaded with pitching, MLB.com

Nationals-Giants Preview, AP

Monday's Giants lineup is still missing a Panda, Giants Extra, Bay Area News Group

More from this contributor:

Fan's Preview: Have the San Francisco Giants turned around their offensive struggles at home?

Matt Cain Faces Rockies in Hopes of Turning Around Second Half of Season: Fan's Preview

Giants' Tim Lincecum and Rockies' Tyler Chatwood face off again at AT&T Park: Fan's Preview

Giants Hand Cardinals Worst Shutout Loss in Busch Stadium III History, Look to Cap Successful Road Trip: Fan's Preview

San Francisco Giants Acquire Hunter Pence from Philadelphia Phillies: Fan's Reaction

Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Google+ and Twitter @_austinchang.

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