Nationals and Royals ready for rare showdown

O washington national are ready to visit Kansas City for the first time in seven years, when they oppose the Royal members in opening a three-game game on Friday

Washington took two of three at Kansas City in May 2016. The teams have met once since then, when host national claimed two of the three in July 2019

national left-hander Patrick Corbin (3-5, 4.47 ERA) will oppose Royal members right-hander Jordan Lyles (0-8, 7.15) on Friday

Corbin helped the national to winning the 2019 series, pitching seven shutout innings, striking out 11 and not dropping a single one. He went without a decision in a game that Washington won 5-2

Corbin allowed no runs in 9 2/3 innings in two appearances against Royal members. Among Kansas City’s current hitters, only Matt Duffy has hit safely against Corbin, going 3-of-12

In each of his seven starts since April 16, Corbin has pitched at least 5 1/3 innings, allowing no more than three earned runs. He has six quality starts this year, tied for fifth in the National League.

Corbin, who is on a winning streak, has not won three consecutive decisions since May 2021. His command of the strike zone has been especially strong lately, as he has allowed just one walk in the last 25 innings.

O national arrive in Kansas City after losing an 8-6 decision against the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon to complete a 3-3 homestand

Though Washington has lost six of its last nine games, its offense has been more productive recently, generating 52 runs in its last 10 games.

Lead hitter Lane Thomas has a 10-game hitting streak in which he is hitting . 366 (15-for-41) with three home runs.

Ildemaro Vargas has hit safely in six of eight games since his May 3 return from the 10-day injury list, batting . 440 (11-for-25). He had been sidelined for nearly a month due to a left shoulder strain.

“I can’t say enough about what Vargas does”, national said manager Dave Martinez. “He goes out there and plays with a lot of fun, a lot of energy.

In his last 10 games, Washington’s Jeimer Candelario is hitting . 436 (17-of-39) with eight extra-base hits. In between national hitters, Candelario has more experience against Lyles, with one hit in eight at bats.

“When he gets ready to hit the fastball, he’s really good and he stays consistent,” said Martinez. “The most important thing is losing his mind about trying to hit home runs with every hit. He has enough power to hit the ball and send it flying in the air.”

Lyles is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA in 12 previous games (four starts) against Washington. He faced the national most recently, losing to the Baltimore Orioles on June 21, 2022, when he gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings

Lyles’ 7.15 ERA is the highest among major league starting pitchers, and his 14 home runs allowed are tied for the most.

Consistent starting pitch has been difficult for the Royal memberswho has just one starter win since May 11. The club amassed 49 games in relief, losing nine of the 13 games in that span.

Kansas City’s rotation is 8-26 with a 5.49 ERA.

O Royal members bolstered his heavily taxed bullpen this week by promoting right-hander Nick Wittgren from Triple-A Omaha, where he had five saves and a 1.25 ERA in 17 appearances. He struggled in his debut for Kansas City on Wednesday, allowing two runs in two innings.

“He’s still developing” Royal members manager Matt Quatraro said of the eight-year veteran. “He used to make heavy changes. Now he’s developed a cutter/slider.

Wittgren said, “I changed my slider this offseason and it helped me a lot. I’m attacking the zone with all four shots. It’s paying off.”

–Field level media

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