Washington Nationals take the long trip out west to take on the
Oakland A's in interleague play. The opening game of the series
will mark Doug Fister's first Major League start of the season.
Fister walked three in his 7.2 rehab innings in Single-A and
Triple-A over two starts. Fister is a guy that lives by his control
and ability to work down in the strike zone and a couple of
mediocre rehab starts shouldn't inspire confidence for this outing.
So far this season, the Nationals infield is -4 in defensive runs
saved and the defense should be busy with Fister's ground ball
76 pitches in his rehab start and the A's have six players in the
top 63 in pitches per plate appearance. It's highly unlikely that a
rusty Fister will be able to work deep into the game and it's
always a dicey situation for a manager when he has to go to the
bullpen early in the opening game of a series. For a pitcher
returning from injury, the A's are one of the worst lineups to
face. We expect Fister to struggle here.
The A's will
send Tommy Milone to the mound. Don't be scared away by Milone's
struggles because four of his five starts have come on the road.
Over his career, Milone has a 3.25 ERA at home compared to a 4.72
ERA on the road. Hitters are posting just a .301 wOBA at home off
definitely value on Milone given the overreaction to his road
performance and this is not a good spot for Fister.