Nationals-Rockies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 25, 2012
Top_first_year_62f1
Every time since May 20 that Stephen Strasburg has taken the ball, he's won a game for the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy hasn't had any starter win a game in three weeks. Making his first appearance against the Rockies, Strasburg will try to become the first Nationals pitcher to win seven consecutive starts Monday night at Coors Field. Washington (41-29) is in first place in large part because it has the best ERA in baseball at 2.95. Strasburg (9-1, 2.46 ERA) is the unquestioned ace of the staff, striking out 54 and walking 10 since his last loss. The right-hander, who leads the majors with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, fanned 10 and helped the Nationals end a four-game losing streak with seven innings of two-run ball in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay. "He seemed to get stronger as the game went on," manager Davey Johnson told the Nationals' official website. "Great seven innings. He's a true No. 1, and he's still learning. I think the best is yet to come with him." That does not bode well for a Rockies team that's dropped 14 of 17, going 3-6 on its longest trip of the season. Heading back to Denver for seven games isn't likely giving the team much consolation. Colorado (27-44) is in the midst of a six-game skid at Coors Field, the team's longest home losing streak since dropping its final seven last year. Giving the ball to Jeff Francis (0-1, 8.56) is certainly no guarantee that the Rockies will avoid matching that slide, but he might give them as good a chance as any other starter to get back into the win column. The left-hander has shown steady improvement in three starts since returning to Colorado as a free agent June 9, and he's started two of the team's three victories since June 4. That was the day the Rockies last had a starter win a game, as Christian Friedrich defeated Arizona. If Francis is going to pick up his first victory of 2012, he'll have to be efficient after Tracy decided last week to go with a four-man rotation. "We don't care if it's getting blown up (in the media) or not," Francis told the Rockies' official website. "If there's a way that we can make it work, then we're gonna do it." Francis will likely need to do a better job against Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman than Rockies pitchers did last season, although Colorado won four of seven meetings with Washington. Morse hit .464 (13 for 28) with a homer and seven RBIs in those contests, while Zimmerman was 10 for 26 with five RBIs. Zimmerman, a career .348 hitter against Colorado for his highest average against any team, got a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder before going 2 for 4 with an RBI in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Baltimore. "We just decided that would give me a chance to continue to play and not miss any more time," said Zimmerman, who is batting .223. "It took that pain and pressure away from me that has been bothering me for a while." While the Rockies' pitching has struggled mightily, the team got good production from infielder Chris Nelson and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on its recent trip. Nelson hit .355 (11 for 31) with three homers and nine RBIs while Gonzalez was 11 for 29 with a home run.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker