Going into arguably one of their most difficult stretches of the season, the Washington Nationals have proven thus far that they have what it takes to compete this year. They will look to sweep the Boston Red Sox after winning the second game of the series on June 9 by the score of 4-2. Gio Gonzalez picked up his eighth win of the year while Tyler Clippard converted for his seventh save.
Gio was named the pitcher of the month in the National League in May, and for good reason. In five starts for the month Gonzalez had five wins, 45 strikeouts, and only eight earned runs given up. Coming off of a mediocre start against the Atlanta Braves on June 3, Gonzalez looked great against the Red Sox, going more than six innings while giving up two runs on three hits to go along with five strikeouts on the day. Gio still needs to work on getting the walks down, but for the most part if he can keep up this pace I have no doubt that the Nationals will stay in contention all year.
One of the keys for the team as to whether or not they stay in contention as well is Michael Morse, who went 1 for 4 with a ground rule double on June 9. Since coming off of the DL Morse has looked a bit rusty, but he has shown some flashes of power from time to time, and I think it is only a matter of time before he gets things sorted out and starts hitting for both average and power.
The Nationals will look to sweep the Red Sox on June 10 as Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound against Jon Lester. Both pitchers have been somewhat inconsistent over their past few starts, with Jordan giving up four runs in two out of his past four starts and Lester in three out of four. I think the Red Sox should find a way to avoid the sweep, but if Bryce Harper can put up a game similar to the one on June 8, the Nationals could pull it out.
Ryan Kekoufski lives near the Nationals' stadium and has been following the team ever since they moved to Washington D.C.
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