The Nationals woke up Thursday with their mission a lot clearer: Prepare to face the Giants. After San Francisco’s 8-0 victory of the Pirates in Pittsburgh thanks to Madison Bumgarner’s dominating start, the Giants will now come to Washington to play the Nationals. The Pirates may have been the hotter and more complete team, but the Giants had the better pitcher on Wednesday night.

Because of the elimination game, however, the Giants will be weakened. Bumgarner is by far their best starter, and he will get to face the Nationals only once during the NLDS, likely Game 3 on Monday. So instead of Bumgarner in Game 1, it’ll be Jake Peavy and then likely Tim Hudson in Game 2.

Hudson has long been a Nationals killer, facing them often during his Braves days. The 39-year-old groundball pitcher is 18-5 with a 2.35 ERA in 31 starts against the Nationals in his career. This season he is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in 12 2/3 innings against the Nationals. But, overall, Hudson has struggled badly in the second half of his first season with the Giants. He had a 2.87 ERA in the first half but a 4.73 ERA in the second half, including allowing at least three runs in each of his past five starts.

NATIONALS PROJECTED LINEUP’S CAREER NUMBERS VS. HUDSON

Denard Span 2 for 20, 3 K
Anthony Rendon 0 for 5, 1 BB, 1 K
Jayson Werth 17 for 44, 4 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K
Adam LaRoche 8 for 33, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K
Ian Desmond 15 for 52, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K
Bryce Harper 4 for 16, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Wilson Ramos 4 for 18, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K
Asdrubal Cabrera 0 for 5, 1 K

BENCH OPTIONS

Ryan Zimmerman 17 for 64, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K
Kevin Frandsen 6 for 13
Jose Lobaton 2 for 3
Danny Espinosa 5 for 27, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 10 K
Nate Schierholtz 1 for 12, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
Scott Hairston 3 for 8, 1 RBI, 2 K

Peavy will be a tougher challenge than Hudson. The 33-year-old has boosted the Giants since he was acquired in a trade with the Red Sox. In Boston, Peavy had a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts. During the Red Sox’ playoff run last season, he wasn’t sharp either; 10 runs 12 2/3 innings. But since the trade deadline this season, Peavy has benefited from a rejuvenation and pitching in spacious AT&T Park, posting a 2.17 ERA over 78 2/3 innings.

NATIONALS PROJECTED LINEUP’S CAREER NUMBERS VS. PEAVY

Denard Span 7 for 20, 5 2B, 2 K
Anthony Rendon Never faced Peavy
Jayson Werth 3 for 16, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 8 K
Adam LaRoche 5 for 14, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K
Ian Desmond 2 for 6, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Bryce Harper 2 for 3, 1 K
Wilson Ramos 1 for 2
Asdrubal Cabrera 7 for 26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 K

BENCH OPTIONS

Ryan Zimmerman 3 for 16, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 K
Kevin Frandsen 2 for 13, 1 2B, 3 K
Jose Lobaton 1 for 7, 2 K
Danny Espinosa 0 for 3
Nate Schierholtz 2 for 7, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Scott Hairston 0 for 6, 5 K

For the Nationals, it will likely be Stephen Strasburg in Game 1 and Jordan Zimmermann in Game 2. One of Strasburg’s worst outings of the season was against the Giants on Aug. 24; he gave up five runs over four innings. But in his career, he is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA over five starts. Zimmermann, on the other hand, is 5-2 with a career 2.79 ERA in eight starts, including an eight-inning start in which he gave up only two runs. Here are both starters’ career numbers against a project Giants lineup:

Strasburg Zimmermann
Gregor Blanco 4 for 14, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 K 3 for 6, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Joe Panik 0 for 1, 1 BB 0 for 3, 1 K
Buster Posey 5 for 13, 1 2B, 1 BB, 5 K 3 for 15, 1 BB, 2 K
Hunter Pence 3 for 13, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K 8 for 20, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Pablo Sandoval 3 for 12, 1 BB, 5 K 6 for 13, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Michael Morse 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K 0 for 3, 2 K
Brandon Belt 1 for 6, 2 K 2 for 7, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Brandon Crawford 3 for 9, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K 3 for 13, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K

FROM THE POST

FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL

DAYS UNTIL NLDS GAME 1

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