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It's Dave Williams vs. John Patterson Tonight At RFK

The Nationals missed Dave Williams when they played the Pirates in Pittsburgh early last week. Let's take a look at the Steel City southpaw.

Age: 26 -- Throws: Left -- Drafted in the 17th round of the amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. -- First year in the majors: 2001

Williams has a fastball that, with the wind at his back, may reach 90 mph. However, his killer change-up makes it seem like it's 10 mph faster than is really is. He also has a good curveball, and great command of all three of his pitches. Williams has problems with right handed hitters, walking them in a far greater percentage than lefties. They hit him much harder than lefties as well. His mind seems to stroll when he's on the mound, and he tends to give up a higher percentage of runners in scoring position than a major league pitcher should.

Williams' Last four games: Innings Pitched: 20 -- Hits: 26 -- Runs: 12 -- Walks: 9 -- Strikeouts: 14 -- ERA:4.95

John Patterson's last for games: Innings Pitched: 24 -- Hits: 28 -- Runs: 10 -- Walks: 7 -- Strikeouts: 22 -- ERA:3.75

John Patterson has pitched well, and Williams has pitched 'ok,' with some fine games and some lousy ones in the past few weeks. Williams has given up 35 base runners in 20 innings, while Patterson has given up 35 baser unners in 24 innings. Patterson, then, has gotten himself out of more jams than Williams has.

NATS NOTES: The Nationals continue to sport the best home winning percentage in the major leagues, and have now 8 consecutive series in the friendly confines of RFK Stadium ... on the road, the Nationals have one more games than St. Louis, Arizona and Chicago ... The Nationals have the best record for the month of June in major league baseball with an 18-6 record, the Angles are 2nd and the White Sox 3rd ... The Nationals lead the majors in one-run victories with 19, San Diego is 2nd ... Chad Cordero has sent the franchise record for most saves before the all-star break with 26 ... Cordero has also set the all-time record for most saves in a month [13] and is two shy of the major league record of 15 ... Beginning tomorrow, 10 of the Nationals next 15 games will be day games [they have a record of 14-10 in day games] ... In the last 17 games at home, Nationals starting pitchers have a 1.73 ERA [wow!] ... a Nats win tonight will give them a record of 15 games over .500 -- it has been 9 years since the franchise has been those many games over .500 .

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