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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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MLB Monday Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Preview: Start Time, Odds, Free Pick


Monday night baseball and we will see the Washington Nationals travel to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco Giants in game 1 of their 3 game series. The game is scheduled for a 10:15 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN2. Currently the odds have San Francisco favored at -119while Washington is dogs of +112. The total for the game sits at 6.5 runs.

Free Analysis: Washington visits San Francisco in a battle between division leaders, and runs figure to be at a premium during the three-game series. After Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Vogelsong meet in the opener, Jordan Zimmermann faces Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday before Stephen Strasburg takes on Tim Lincecum. Washington had its season-high eight-game winning streak snapped Sunday, but the Nationals still pace the National League East by 4.5 games over Atlanta. The Nationals’ offense has been rolling of late, but is hasn't been due to rookie Bryce Harper, who is mired in a slump right now. He’s 1-for-18 during the first seven games of the team’s road trip, and his .249 batting average is the lowest it’s been since May 20. Left hander Gio Gonzalez opens the series on the mound for the Nats, looking to build on a 4-3 win over Houston. Gonzalez tossed his first complete game since 2010 in that game, giving up three runs while also hitting the first home run of his career. He has gone 3-3 with a 3.97 ERA in his last seven starts and has a 42-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 45 1/3 innings over that span. He’s making his first trip back to the Bay Area since being traded by Oakland during the offseason. The Giants lead the Dodgers by one game in the NL West after scoring five runs in the eighth inning to beat Colorado on Sunday. The Giants have won seven of their last 10, and they’re expected to get third baseman Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) back Monday. Sandoval will likely also see time at first base, while Marco Scutaro gets regular playing time at second base, shortstop and third base. The Giants are hoping Sunday’s tiebreaking three-run homer sparks Hunter Pence, who is 8-for-52 since being acquired from Philadelphia at the trade deadline but did receive a standing ovation after Sunday's blast. Since the All-Star break, Giants C Buster Posey has hit safely in 24 of 27 games, batting .449 (44-for-98) with 14 runs, nine homers, 33 RBIs and 17 walks. San Francisco sends Mr. Consistency Ryan Vogelsong to the bump Monday, who is coming off off a stellar 15-0 victory over St Louis. Vogelsong leads the National League and ranks second in the majors with a 2.27 ERA in 21 starts this season. He pitched seven shutout innings last Wednesday at St. Louis for his NL-leading 19th quality start. He’s making his first career start against Washington after posting a 1.13 ERA in four career relief appearances, all with Pittsburgh. Washington has won 12 of its last 14 road games.  

Free Pick: We will take a shot with the Over in this one. Both pitchers have been solid this year, but it has been these offenses that have been on a roll of late. The Nats do score very well on the road at 4.62 rpg, but in winning 12 of their last 14 away from home they have averaged a solid 5.5 rpg. The Giant's offense has shown some life of late as they have averaged 7.2 rpg in their last 10 games and they put 9 runs in each of their last 2 here vs a Rockies staff that has pitched very well on the road of late and in fact shut the Giants out in the first game of that series. I really dont see how both teams can't get at least 3 runs each in this one, despite the pitching matchup.    

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