Pirates (60-39) at Nationals (48-53)
12:35 PM–Nationals Park, Washington
The Pirates look to sweep away the Nats in today’s getaway day afternoon game. Before the break, the Nats were thought to be the Pirates’ biggest potential contender for the second wild card spot (if the Bucs were to fall off a bit). Now the Nats aren’t even part of that conversation, having fallen nine games out of the race and 13 behind the Bucs. They are a talented club with potential to get hot, but that’s quite a deficit.
A.J. Burnett (4-7, 3.07) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.89)
Burnett hasn’t been great since his DL stint, although he certainly hasn’t been bad either. A struggling Nats club could help him out today, just like it helped the Bucs’ previous three starters. He’s been getting strikeouts, though, and pitched much better in Cincinnati after a brutal first inning (when his defense hurt him more than anything else).
Gonzalez is one of the NL’s elite pitchers, and is still having a strong season despite his team being a disappointment. The lefty strikes out a bunch and presents a second straight big test for the offense, which was mostly stymied by Strasburg yesterday.