Opposite dugout: Padres throw one of NL's top pitching staffs at Nats out west

PadresLogo.jpgManager: Bud Black, eighth year
Record: 27-33
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: LF Seth Smith (.306/.414/.538, 22 XBH, 21 RBIs); 2B Jedd Gyorko (.162/.213/.270, 5 HR, 24 RBIs); RHP Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP); RHP Tyson Ross (6-4, 2.85 ERA, 70 K)
Season series vs. Nats: 2-2, 9 runs scored, 20 runs allowed

Pitching probables
June 6: Tyson Ross vs. Tanner Roark, 10 p.m., MASN2 HD
June 7: Andrew Cashner vs. Blake Treinen, 10 p.m., MASN HD
June 8: Eric Stults vs. Stephen Strasburg, 4 p.m., MASN2 HD

Series breakdown
Don't solely look at the record and discard the Padres as a walk for the Nationals this weekend.

Because that's certainly something San Diego won't often issue, especially when playing at home.

The Padres might struggle offensively, but they are a force on the mound. San Diego ranks fourth in the National League with a 3.37 ERA and third with a 2.47 bullpen ERA. Teams won't have much luck coming back late against the Padres either, as they've converted 19 saves in 21 chances.

At home, the Padres' staff is even better with the majors' fifth-best home ERA (2.87) and fourth-best home WHIP (1.14) at Petco Park.

Right-handers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross have been San Diego's top two starters this season, and the Nats will see both in the series.

Ross faces Tanner Roark in tonight's series opener and Cashner takes on rookie Blake Treinen on Saturday night. Cashner, who leads the rotation with a 2.35 ERA, will be making his first start since May 13 after missing time with elbow soreness.

Ross enters the contest 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA over his last six starts. He's 6-4 with a 2.85 ERA overall.

Closer Huston Street has a 1.13 ERA and 18 saves in 18 chances.

The San Diego offense hasn't been as successful, ranking last in the majors with a .221 average and 191 runs scored while tying for 25th with 45 homers.

Outfielder Seth Smith has stood out, however, batting .306 with a .951 OPS. He has six homers, 13 doubles and 21 RBIs.

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko has had a rough year despite leading the team with 24 RBIs. He's batting just .162 with a .482 OPS.

So while the Nats' pitchers might be set up for a good weekend, the bats will have some work to do in a big park against a quality Padres staff.

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