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Apr 9, 2024 8:56 am

Nationals’ Josiah Gray looks to get on track vs. Giants

josiah gray

Two pitchers trending in opposite directions this season will go head-to-head Tuesday night when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants continue their three-game series.

Trevor Williams outdueled reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell in an 8-1 Nationals win in Monday’s series opener in San Francisco, spoiling Snell’s debut with the Giants.

Right-hander Josiah Gray (0-2, 14.04 ERA) will attempt to duplicate Williams’ effort and extend his unbeaten run against the Giants to five games. The 26-year-old has gone 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 24 career innings against San Francisco, making three starts and four appearances overall.

Gray has benefited from a total of 32 runs in his three starts against the Giants, including 11 in an 11-6 win at San Francisco last May. He’s been particularly good in San Francisco, winning both previous starts while allowing just two runs in 13 innings.

Gray has not shown that kind of form this season, however. He’s been hit hard by the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates for 13 runs and 15 hits in 8 1/3 innings in his first two starts.

The Giants haven’t scored more than four runs in any of their eight outings since they defeated the San Diego Padres 9-6 on March 30. San Francisco was limited to six hits and one run in Monday’s series opener, the team’s fourth consecutive game without a home run.

To make matters worse, the Giants went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position against Williams and three relievers. Williams gave up one run and three hits over five innings.

“That’s been our problem so far this season,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said of clutch hitting. “We’ve done some situational things right, but if we’re going to have big innings and score multiple runs in games when we’re down like this, we’re going to have to get big hits. But we haven’t done that so far this season.”

Giants left-hander Kyle Harrison (1-1, 4.91 ERA) will look for the kind of support he got in an 8-3 win at San Diego in the second game of the season. He also pitched on the road when beaten 5-4 by the Los Angeles Dodgers last Wednesday.

The 22-year-old San Francisco Bay Area native has never lost at Oracle Park. He went 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA in four home starts in his debut campaign last year.

Harrison has never faced the Nationals, and he can expect to see a team looking for opportunities to run. Washington had four steals — three by Trey Lipscomb, including home as part of a double steal — in the series opener, raising its season total to 20. Nationals runners have been caught stealing once.

Washington manager Dave Martinez gives one of his new coaches — first-base coach Gerardo Parra — credit for setting the tone for this year’s offense.

“Gerardo Parra has been doing a great job … on what to look for,” Martinez noted of his team’s running game. “We’re going to expose other teams when we can.”

–Field Level Media

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