On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every postseason series during the 2014 season.
The Teams: The Giants are the battle-hardened team that no one wants to face in the postseason, and with good reason. The last two times they've made the playoffs, they've won the entire thing. The Giants couldn't catch the Dodgers in the NL West, but they easily took one of the two Wild Card spots and had a dominant showing in the Wild Card game in Pittsburgh to advance. The Nationals are the popular pick to win it all this year behind what is arguably the league's most well-rounded team. However, they also came out of possibly the worst division in baseball, so their record and stats are a bit padded.
Past 2014 Meetings: The Nationals took the season series 5-2.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (14-11, 3.14); Saturday — Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (14-5, 2.66); Monday — Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98) vs. Doug Fister (16-6, 2.41); Tuesday* — Ryan Vogelson (8-13, 4.00) vs. Gio Gonzalez (10-10, 3.57); Thursday* — TBA vs. TBA.
What's Hot: Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford carried the Giants' offense in the Wild Card win over Pittsburgh, driving in three and four, respectively. Crawford had the big blow with a grand slam off Edinson Volquez. Bumgarner tossed a complete-game shutout and struck out 10 with just one walk in that game.
Jayson Werth and Denard Span have been hitting the ball well over the past month, but no one has been better for the Nationals than Anthony Rendon, who is hitting .338 over his last 20 games with three home runs and 10 RBIs. The four projected starters for the Nationals have combined to make 18 starts over the past month, and Gonzalez's 2.03 ERA in that span is the highest of the bunch. That's sick. Oh, and Adam LaRoche has seven homers and 22 RBIs in his last 20 games.
What's Not: Really not much to speak of here for either team. The Giants had their thorough hide-tanning of the Pirates, and the Nationals rolled to the NL East crown and were the first team in baseball to clinch.