Washington Nationals (85-75) at Arizona Diamondbacks (80-80)
Saturday, September 28 - 8:10 PM EST
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
The Washington Nationals can give retiring manager Davey Johnson the gift of a series victory on Saturday when they continue their three-game set against the host Arizona Diamondbacks. While this present is worth substantially less than a playoff berth, the Nationals are looking to salvage what's left of a season that fell significantly short of expectation. Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos started the party by belting three-run homers as Washington opened the series with an 8-4 triumph Friday.
The Diamondbacks aren't making any postseason plans as well, but Paul Goldschmidt is finishing the campaign in style. The slugger singled in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, matching a personal best set earlier this season. Goldschmidt's 36 homers are one more than Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez while his 124 RBIs have him comfortably ahead of the rest of the National League.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Dan Haren (9-14, 4.87 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Brandon McCarthy (5-10, 4.64)
Haren fell to 1-3 in his last six outings despite yielding just three runs in six innings against Miami on Sunday. The 33-year-old is struggling on the road this season, posting a 4-8 mark with a 4.31 ERA in 16 appearances. Haren is 1-1 against the Diamondbacks, but settled for a no-decision despite striking out eight in six innings in his last appearance against them.
McCarthy suffered his first loss since Sept. 2 after yielding four runs in six innings against San Diego on Monday. The 30-year-old has only walked one batter in his last six starts - but has permitted a whopping 29 hits in his last three (18 innings). McCarthy has sputtered versus Washington, posting a 3-4 career mark while allowing a .291 batting average in 11 starts.
1. Johnson admitted that he'd like for LHP Gio Gonzalez to pitch Sunday's season-ending contest because he wants to remain 300 games over .500. Johnson (1,371-1,070) could send RHP Tanner Roark to the mound if Washington wins on Saturday.
2. Arizona 3B Martin Prado has hit safely in four straight contests and eight of his last nine.
3. Washington OF Tyler Moore is batting .364 (20-for-55) since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse in mid-August.
PREDICTION: Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 4