The San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals will begin their National League Division Series with Game 1 Friday afternoon at Nationals Park. San Francisco will send right-handed starter Jake Peavy to the mound, with the Nats countering with 14-game winner Stephen Strasburg.
Before he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox earlier this year, Peavy had a 1-9 record with a 4.72 ERA, but he received little run support from the offensive-challenged Sox. In 12 starts for the Giants, Peavy’s completely turned his stuff around. He’s 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA and 58 strikeouts to 17 walks in 78 2/3 innings of work. Friday marks Peavy’s sixth postseason start, but he’s only earned three decisions, all losses.
After struggling through injuries early in his career, Strasburg racked up a 14-11 record and led the NL with 34 starts and 242 strikeouts with a 3.14 ERA.
The Giants are two days removed from their stunning 8-0 wild-card victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, highlighted by starter Madison Bumgarner’s complete game shutout and 10 strikeouts and second baseman Brandon Crawford’s fourth-inning grand slam.
The Giants were one of several teams hoping to claim one of the NL’s final playoff spots in the final two weeks of the regular season, and were even in contention for the NL West title. However, they finished six games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers and survived the one-game playoff with Pittsburgh.
Bruce Bochy’s team has advanced to the Divisional round for the third time in the last four seasons, having made and winning the World Series on the two previous occasions.
San Francisco will miss outfielder Michael Morse as Bochy left him off the Division Series roster due to an oblique injury, according to the Washington Post. The former Nationals slugger hit 16 home runs and knocked in 61 RBI this season, but has appeared in one game since suffering the injury on Aug. 31.
Finishing with a 17-game lead in the NL East, the Nationals notched the best record in the NL this season, 96-66, behind the best pitching staff in the majors. Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Tanner Roark and Doug Fister combined for 87 quality starts and 58 wins with a 3.04 ERA.
Washington’s bullpen was also one of the most consistent and feared this season. Reliever Rafael Soriano totaled 32 saves and Tyler Clippard set him up with 40 holds.
Start Time: Friday, 3:07 p.m. EST
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Live Online Stream: A live online stream is available at Fox Sports Go
Prediction: Giants over Nats, 3-2