Found August 10, 2012 on The Nats Blog:

aaronhillNot only do the Washington Nationals (69-43) comfortably posses the best record in baseball, they also have the best road record of MLB teams (37-21), which they will try to add on to this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks (57-55).

In the past, the Nationals and the Diamondbacks have been pretty evenly matched, splitting their wins in contests between the two teams just about 50-50. This year, though, the Diamondbacks have continued their even keel record throughout all their play with a 57-55 record and a third place ranking in the NL West, while the Nationals have broken away from the pack.

Winning eight of their last ten games, the Nationals have dominated in August. Coming off a four game sweep of the Houston Astros, which pushed the second place Atlanta Braves to 4.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East, the Nats are going to be eager to continue their winning ways.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have been merely staying afloat, losing their most recent series against the Philadelphia Phillies and splitting a four game series against the Pirates, putting them 4-for-8 so far in August.

The Nationals won two of three against the D-backs in May and are 11-12 at Chase Field.

Hot Hitters

The Diamondbacks are an aggressive offensive team, with all of their hitting stats in the top half of team rankings. Their team slash line is an impressive .263/.331/.426, but, unlike in years past or even at the start of this season, the Nationals have put together an impressive slash line of their own (.256/.319/.413) to contend with teams like the D-backs. Their recent offensive production has pushed all the Nationals main hitting stats into the top half of the rankings, and on their current streak those numbers only stand to get better.

A good offensive performance during this series will show that the Nats can hang with hot hitting teams, like the Diamondbacks, that they are sure to face in postseason play.

Player Profiles

- Trevor Cahill pitched the D-backs only win to the Nationals this year, going 7.1 innings and only allowing one earned run on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts. Cahill will take the hill against the Nationals again this series, facing off against Stephen Strasburg in the series opener.

- Michael Morse wasn’t the only major leaguer to hit two homers in one game on Thursday night – Arizona’s Jason Kubel went 2-for-5 on Thursday with two home runs, batting in four of six of the D-backs runs. The breakout performance could put an end to Kubel’s recent cold-streak. He is batting .156 (7-for-45) in his last 12 games.

- The Nationals missed seeing Chris Johnson in Houston because he was traded to the Diamondbacks shortly before they arrived there; however, to Nats pitchers chagrin they will see him and his hot bat this weekend. In 10 games since the trade, he has homered in half of them, and he is batting .342.

- Current Diamondbacks are only batting .130 off Ross Detwiler in 23 at bats.

Who’s hot?

Paul Goldschmidt (1B) .421 AVG, .419 OBP, .737 SLG, 3 HR, 10 RBI (last 10 games)

Chris Johnson (3B) .342 AVG, .375 OBP, .763 SLG, 5 HR, 16 RBI (last 10 games)

Miguel Montero (C) .267 AVG, .421 OBP, .533 SLG, 2 HR, 8 RBI (last 10 games)

J.J. Putz (CL) 0.00 ERA, .121 BAA, 14 SO, 6/6 SV/SVO, 10 IP (last 10 games)

Who’s not?

Stephen Drew (SS) .222 AVG, .349 OBP, .472 SLG, 3 SO (last 10 games)

Mike Zagurski (RP) 4.05 ERA, .300 BAA, .450 SLG, 6.2 IP (last 10 games)

Probable Starters

Stephen Strasburg (12-5, 2.97 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill  (9-9, 3.76 ERA)

Edwin Jackson (6-7, 3.56 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (12-7, 2.85 ERA)

Ross Detwiler (6-4, 2.99 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (3-4, 3.53 ERA)

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