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Rays Vs. Nationals Preview: Matt Moore Starts For Tampa Bay As They Try To Take Series From Washington

The Tampa Bay Rays enter Thursday's game against the Washington Nationals with an opportunity to take a series from the NL East division leaders and earn some ground back in the AL East. Matt Moore will start for Tampa Bay, coming off his best start of his young career. Seven shut-out innings with eight strikeouts and three walks against the Miami Marlins on June 15 to bump his record up to 4-5 and improved his ERA to 4.16.

The Nationals will counter with pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who despite his hot start has cooled off a bit in June, going 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his last three starts.

The three batters that could make or break the Rays' game on Thursday could be catcher Jose Molina, Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton. All three batters are a combined 2-for-22 against Gonzalez.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Rays, visit DRaysBay. For more on the Nationals throughout this interleague series, visit Federal Baseball.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.