Jun 14, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) is congratulated by second baseman Jose Altuve (27) after scoring a run during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals Series Preview

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The Houston Astros open up their series against the Washington Nationals in Washington D.C. at Nationals Park tonight. The Astros are coming off of a three game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, which the Astros lost two games to one. The series with the Nationals starts a six game road trip, two of the games played in Washington D.C. and four in Tampa, Florida. The Astros have been on a roll lately and are looking to continue. Here are some things to look at it in the upcoming series.

The Washington Nationals are one of the best pitching teams in all of baseball. They rank second in the MLB and team ERA; they only allow 2.98 earned runs a game. They also rank ninth in batting average against (BAA). Their staff is lead by superstars Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman but the numbers 3, 4, and 5 pitchers in the rotation are no pushovers either. The Nationals are currently in a tight race for the NL East Division League, despite their four game losing streak. In their last series against the Cardinals, it looked like the Nationals’ bats were left in D.C. They got swept in that series.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals are middle of the road on the offensive side. They ranked 16th in runs scored, 18th in batting average and 14th in strikeouts. With Bryce Harper on the DL, and Ryan Zimmerman feeling his way back after missing half of April and all of May with a broken right thumb injury, the Nationals’ offense is struggling.

With the depleted lineup, the Nationals will face Dallas Keuchel in game one of the series. Keuchel has been dominant in his first two starts in the month of June. He has won both of his starts and has a 0.64 ERA. In his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Keuchel pitched eight innings allowing four hits, one run, and struck out five on his way to the victory.

For the Nationals, Tanner Roark will get to face the red-hot Astros. Roark currently has lowest ERA for the Nationals at 2.92. He has won his last two starts, including his June 6th start against San Diego, when he pitched eight innings only allowing three hits while striking out eleven. He will look to rack up the strikeouts against the Astros as the Astros rank second in the league in total strikeouts.

Game two of the series will feature Blake Treinen against Scott Feldman. Treinen has been starting in place of the injured Gio Gonzalez. Scott Feldman has struggled with consistency throughout the year. Look for game two to be the higher scoring game of the series.

The Astros will look to bring their hot bats to D.C. It seems as though every game, someone new steps up; over the weekend Matt Dominguez and Marwin Gonzalez had big games. However, Gonzalez may be regulated back to bench duty this series. Jose Altuve should return to the Astros lineup after missing a few games with a hand injury.

The Houston Astros will look to get back on track after losing their last series to the Rays. The first pitch of game one is set tonight for 6:05 CT.

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