Final
  for this game

Nationals-Astros Preview

Jun 3, 2010 - 5:41 AM By BRETT HUSTON STATS Writer

Washington (26-27) at Houston (18-34), 2:05 p.m. EDT

The Washington Nationals are in last place in baseball's most tightly packed division, but with the No. 1 pick in next week's draft and the arrival of their superstar-in-waiting, they're about to be the talk of the majors.

The Houston Astros would be happy simply extending their winning streak.

The Astros have won just one series since late April, but can double that total Thursday afternoon when they try to close their four-game set against the visiting Nationals with a third straight victory.

Washington (26-28) is just five days away from the highly anticipated debut of pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, and a night before the 2009 No. 1 pick debuts, it's expected to make power-hitting prospect Bryce Harper the top selection of the 2010 draft.

The Astros (19-34), on the other hand, seem to have far less hope on the horizon. While mired in last place in the NL Central, it's 2-0 in June after Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Nationals.

Lance Berkman had five RBIs in Tuesday's 8-7 victory, and Carlos Lee - finally showing signs he's emerging from a season-long slump - homered Wednesday for the first time in two weeks.

"It was nice again to see different guys contribute," manager Brad Mills said. "... If you could script it, it would be nice to script it like that.

"Anytime you can get the heart of your lineup driving runners, that's nice."

Berkman, Lee and Pence are hitting .337 (31 for 92) with 20 RBIs in their last eight games, and the trio could lead Houston to its first home series win since a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh from April 23-25.

To do so, the Astros will have to go through a starter who may be fighting for his job. J.D. Martin (0-1, 1.50 ERA) could be the odd man out of the rotation when Strasburg debuts Tuesday, making Martin's second start of 2010 - on the same afternoon Strasburg makes his final tune-up in the minors - that much more critical.

The right-hander gave up four runs - one earned - and struck out five over six innings Saturday in a 4-2 loss at San Diego.

"Overall, we lost. That was the main thing I didn't like," Martin told the Nationals' official website. "Overall, I felt I got deep enough in the game, but that's how it goes."

Martin, who started 15 games as a rookie in 2009, has yet to face the Astros.

None of Martin's outings last season went as poorly as Brian Moehler's first start of 2010 for Houston. Starting in place of the injured Bud Norris, Moehler (0-2, 7.29) was tagged for eight runs and 10 hits - three homers - over 2 2-3 innings Saturday in a 12-2 loss at Cincinnati.

"Poor location, and even when I did locate the ball they hit it," Moehler told the Astros' official website. "So I left some balls out over the plate, and they didn't miss them. I felt fine physically."

Moehler is 0-3 with a 21.21 ERA in his last three starts dating to September.

He fared well the last time he faced the Nationals, however, scattering seven hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-0 home victory July 12.






  • 77
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Nationals 4, Astros 6  FinalJun 4 4:43 AM


  • Astros 6, Nationals 4 - FINAL
    WASHINGTON ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    C Guzman ss-rf 5 0 1 1 0 0 2 .313
    N Morgan cf 5 0 1 0 0 0 2 .259
    R Zimmerman 3b 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 .311
    A Dunn 1b 4 0 0 0 0 2 4 .274
    J Willingham lf 4 0 2 1 0 1 2 .277
    T Clippard p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
    W Nie

    Jun 3 5:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (7) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF MATT CAPPS SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    FINAL SCORE: HOUSTON 6, WASHINGTON 4

    Nationals 4, Astros 6  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 3 5:08 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY CRISTIAN GUZMAN ALLOWED MICHAEL BOURN TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L BERKMAN ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM,9TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.209, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Nationals 4, Astros 4  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 3 5:08 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 4, Astros 4  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 3 5:08 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CRISTIAN GUZMAN SCORED WILLIE HARRIS
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C GUZMAN ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4
    HOUSTON 3 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: N MORGAN (.260, 1-FOR-4)

    Nationals 4, Astros 3  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 3 4:53 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 4, Astros 3  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 3 4:53 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY WILLIE HARRIS SCORED MICHAEL MORSE
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, W HARRIS ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    HOUSTON 3 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: C GUZMAN (.309, 0-FOR-4)

    Nationals 3, Astros 3  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 3 4:52 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 3, Astros 3  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 3 4:52 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 2, Astros 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 3 4:08 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROGER BERNADINA SCORED RYAN ZIMMERMAN
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R BERNADINA ON FIRST, J WILLINGHAM ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2
    HOUSTON 3 TOP,6TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KENNEDY (.242, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals 2, Astros 3  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 3 3:41 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSH WILLINGHAM SCORED RYAN ZIMMERMAN
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J WILLINGHAM ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    HOUSTON 3 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BERNADINA (.239, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 1, Astros 3  Top 4, 0 OutsJun 3 3:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY LANCE BERKMAN (6) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF J.D. MARTIN.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.212, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Nationals 0, Astros 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 3 2:52 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KEVIN CASH (1) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF J.D. MARTIN.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: B MOEHLER (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Nationals 0, Astros 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJun 3 2:38 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED JEFF KEPPINGER
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON FIRST, L BERKMAN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM,1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.277, 9 HR, 26 RBI)

    Nationals 0, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 3 2:23 PM