Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Washington Nationals - Thanks Obama

Gah! - Greg Fiume

The Rangers play NL ball in the nation's capital against the kindred spirit Washington Nationals

Series Schedule:

Friday, May 30 6:05: RHP Stephen Strasburg vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Saturday, May 31 11:05 am: RHP Doug Fister vs. RHP Nick Tepesch

Sunday, June 1 12:35: LHP Tanner Roark vs. LHP Yu Darvish

This series can be summed up in four words:

Colby gets to hit.

In many more words, I kind of feel a kinship with the Washington Nationals. Washington is, after all, where the Rangers came from. The Nationals themselves are a displaced franchise. And, well, this happened to them:

If any other franchise knows what that feels like, it's those of us hovering around the Texas Rangers.

Still, it's been a while since these teams have met. The last time the Rangers played the Nationals was in 2008. It's been so long ago that C.J. Wilson was the team's closer back then. Kevin Millwood was the No. 1 starter. Kason Gabbard wasn't even Darren O'Day yet. Now the Rangers get to face the Nationals to finish up this 11-game road trip with Joakim Soria at closer. Yu Darvish is the ace. And Jurickson Profar isn't even Rougned Odor yet.

Even if the Rangers were to get swept in DC, they'd still head home with a winning record on this trip. Before the Rangers headed out, I'd have taken a 6-5 road trip gladly. Anything else that happens this weekend is pretty much gravy.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the town that gave us the Texas Rangers:

  • Colby Lewis: 4-3, 7.87 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, .399 BABIP, 74.6% LOB, 3.88 FIP, 4.33 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 17.1 innings
  • Stephen Strasburg: 3-4, 10.67 K/9, 2.37 BB/9, .357 BABIP, 70.6% LOB, 2.60 FIP, 2.65 xFIP, 1.7 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 21.0 innings

Thoughts: Colby gets to hit! ...against Stephen Strasburg. :(

  • Nick Tepesch: 2-0, 7.85 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, .245 BABIP, 81.4% LOB, 3.70 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, 0.4 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 18.1 innings
  • Doug Fister: 2-1, 6.46 K/9, 0.38 BB/9, .276 BABIP, 81.0% LOB, 4.61 FIP, 3.46 xFIP, 0.0 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 19.1 innings

Thoughts: We got to laugh at the Tigers for trading Doug Fister for Robbie Ray when Ray allowed seven runs to the Rangers last week. Now we get to curse the Tigers for trading Doug Fister because the Rangers have to face Doug Fister at a National League park.

Big Dick Nick Tepesch is an emotionless killing machine. I know this because he has a goatee.

  • Yu Darvish: 4-2, 10.42 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, .297 BABIP, 82.1% LOB, 2.40 FIP, 3.20 xFIP, 2.2 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 23.2 innings
  • Tanner Roark: 3-3, 6.64 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, .258 BABIP, 73.4% LOB, 3.79 FIP, 4.01 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Thoughts: Yu Darvish just put off starting against the Twins so he could hit against the Nationals. I'm sure of it.

If the name Tanner Roark is at all familiar to you it's probably because Tanner Roark is the guy the Rangers traded to the Nationals for Cristian Guzman during the stretch drive of the 2010 season. We make fun of Jorge Cantu a lot around here but at least he hit the home run that clinched the AL West for the Rangers that year. Cristian Guzman was just actively, aggressively terrible. I guess the chickens were going to come home to roost eventually.

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Washington Nationals (25-27, 3rd Place in NL East)

Rangers' Record vs. Washington: Haven't played since 2008

Washington's Recent Results: Swept 2-0 in two-game series at home against the Miami Marlins

Washington's Home Record: 14-14

Nationals Park Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 84/86 - Runs: 106/97

SB Nation Nationals Blog: Federal Baseball

Match-up: (as of 05/30) Rangers Nationals Advantage
Batting (RAR) -12.3 (19th) -16.9 (20th) A team worse than the Rangers at hitting!
Base Running (RAR) 0.0 (19th) 0.6 (14th) The Rangers used to be good at this
Starters (RAR) 29.2 20.3 This is the best the Rangers have to offer
Bullpen (RAR)

21.3 (4th)

17.2 (8th) Soria got mad
Defense (UZR) -7.5 (22nd) -17.4 (28th) >fielding
Overall (UZR + RAR) 30.7 3.8

This was supposed to be the 2012 World Series

Questions to Answer:

  • Do you consider the Washington Senators a part of Texas Ranger franchise history?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I'm tuning in to see Colby Lewis hit.)
  • Over/Under: 2.5 double plays Ranger pitchers bunt into in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish on Sunday after having his start pushed back due to neck stiffness?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers win this series and end the road trip at 8-3?
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