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State of the Nats: Good time for a homestand

Jun 1, 2015, 11:13 AM EST

May 30, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Washington Nationals pinch hitter Michael Taylor (3) hits a three-run home run off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias in the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Reds catcher Brayan Pena watches at right. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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Blue Jays, Cubs come to Washington – The Nationals were swept over the weekend for the first time since April 24-26 to a Reds team that had lost 10 of their previous 11 games before the series. It is most likely just a blip on the radar, but it’s perhaps good timing the Nats will now return home for a seven-game homestand.

The Nats start with the 23-29 Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto has the best offense in baseball, but one of the worst pitching staffs. The Nationals will also begin the series with their two best pitchers in Games 1 and 2 in Jordan Zimmermann and Max Scherzer.

After Toronto, the Nats welcome the 26-22 Chicago Cubs to town. Chicago played a close series with the Nats last week, but they have lost four of their last six games. Cubs ace Jon Lester is not scheduled to start in the series.

Will Harper finally face someone younger than him?  Despite being in his fourth major league season and his sixth overall as a professional, Bryce Harper has the unusual distinction of never facing a pitcher younger than him at any pro level. He’s 22 years old and playing like an MVP, but still has never faced someone born after his October 16, 1992 birthday.

That could all change this week with the Blue Jays in town, as Toronto has the youngest player in baseball in reliever Roberto Osuna. Osuna is only 20 with a birthday of Feb. 7, 1995.

Osuna, a right-hander, has been very good for the Blue Jays this season with a 1.75 ERA in 22 appearances. Toronto manager John Gibbons may opt for lefties to match up with Harper, but there’s a good chance Harper and Osuna will face off this week and make all of us feel old.

When will Anthony Rendon return? – The return of Anthony Rendon seems to be approaching quickly, as the Nationals star played on three consecutive days in minor league rehab games over the weekend. He logged 12 total plate appearances with the Harrisburg Senators and had two hits and a walk, including one double.

Rendon playing in three straight days right off the bat was surprising given how bad his first rehab assignment went. The Nats seemed to be taking it very slowly in his recovery before this weekend.

With Rendon back and playing every day, it would seem he will be ready to make his 2015 debut very soon. We’ll see what Matt Williams says in his Monday press conference.

NL East Standings

source:

Offensive game of the week: Ian Desmond 5/27 vs. Cubs – 3-for-5, 2 2B

Pitching game of the week: Max Scherzer 5/27 vs. Cubs – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, BB, 13 SO. 108 pitches, 72 strikes.

Quote of the week:

Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani after hitting Harper via MLB.com: 

“I threw it as hard as I could, and it ran up and in and hit him. What are you going to do? He should have jogged, but what are you going to do? Be a baseball player. Sorry I hit you, run.”

Tweet (Instagram) of the week:

Harper the day after getting hit by Cingrani and arguing with Joey Votto:

source:

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Road ahead

MON – 7:05 p.m. vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Zimmermann)
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Scherzer)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. Toronto Blue Jays (TBA)
THU – 7:05 p.m. vs. Chicago Cubs (Gonzalez)
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. Chicago Cubs (Roark)
SAT – 12:05 p.m. vs. Chicago Cubs (Zimmermann)
SUN – 4:05 p.m. vs. Chicago Cubs (Scherzer)

  1. Nats_UrbanPlanner - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    Here’s to righting the ship and hopefully Mets losses on their Left Coast swing for some seperation in the NL East. Hope to see T Jordan or AJ Cole fill in for Stras Wednesday, where the Nats should have already won the series with the Blue Jays and can play loose. RENDON looks to return for the cubbies late this week, thank goodness.

    Also, can we get a Fister update? He should be ending his 15-day DL this week as well?

  2. npb99 - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Gotta love how Harper never backs down.

  3. waddueyeno - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    Love the tweet. GYFNG

  4. coolhandbane - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    I just look at the forecast for at weather channel, accuweather, weatherbug, weatherunderground and NOAA weather and it doesnt look good for a game tonight. Best case, a 1-2 hour delay but a doubt it based on the forecast.

    Sucks because my little brother is going to the game tonight

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      It’s an over 60 mile round trip for us. I’ll decide around 2:00 p.m. The Nats have a history of waiting until long past the last minute to make the decision on whether to play, or not.

      • Toot D. Blan - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:14 PM

        Weather forecasts have a history of being wrong, so it makes sense for them to wait until close to game time to make a decision. In fact, I recall that on one of the few times they did cancel a game hours ahead of time it did not rain at all. That one actually worked out well for me. It was a $2 Tuesday, I had a ticket, and they made it up as part of a traditional single-admission doubleheader. So I got two games for $2. Didn’t even have to pay service charge since I bought the original $2 ticket at the box office!

  5. dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    THROUGH LATE TONIGHT

    * SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL INCREASE IN COVERAGE THIS
    AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE THROUGH THROUGH MOST OF TONIGHT. SOME OF
    THE STORMS WILL CONTAIN TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS WHICH MAY LEAD TO
    FLASH FLOODING. AVERAGE RAINFALL AMOUNTS BETWEEN ONE TO TWO
    INCHES ARE EXPECTED…BUT LOCALIZED AMOUNTS IN EXCESS OF THREE
    INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN HEAVIER THUNDERSTORMS. RAINFALL RATES
    AROUND ONE TO TWO INCHES PER HOUR ARE EXPECTED IN HEAVIER
    THUNDERSTORMS. RECENT RAINFALL HAS SATURATED SOILS WHICH WILL
    ALSO INCREASE THE THREAT FOR FLASH FLOODING DURING THIS TIME.

    * HEAVY RAINFALL IN SHORT PERIODS OF TIME MAY CAUSE RAPID RISES ON
    CREEKS AND STREAMS AS WELL AS FLASH FLOODING IN URBAN AREAS.

    • golfersal - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:48 PM

      I live in Leesburg and have tickets for tonights game. The Nats are terrible in doing the right thing for the fan and giving us warning.
      Of course I understand that weather forecasts are sketchy, but I feel that they want to open up the stadium and have us buy lot’s of beer and hot dogs before we are sent home.

      But tonights forecast is terrible, when they say 100% chance of thunderstorms from 4 to 8, question is will the Nats be greedy and let folks come to the stadium to be sent home.

      No perfect solution for bad weather, goss by $65 club level seats are up for sale on Stub Hub but I can’t compete with all of the tickets that are seats like mine for only $20. Stubhub has become the bargin place to get great Nats tickets at the expense of the season ticket holder.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:51 PM

        Yep.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 6:55 PM

        yes….i’ll be eating some tomorrow

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    Big props to Bryce on the Lion & Sheep post. Bryce is King Of The Jungle.

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:55 PM

      Hannibal Lecter: “Bowels in or bowels out?”

  7. raleighnat - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    Be shocked if that instagram doesn’t hit the national media.

    • NIWatcher - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      A non-Nats fan may consider it just a tad arrogant.

      • ArVAFan - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        I figure it’s fair payback for the hit he took. Bet Votto is in the lineup for today, also Roark didn’t go after their pitcher. Yeah, yeah, nothing was intentional, but we don’t know exactly what was said at first base. But it probably wasn’t just pleasantries.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:17 PM

        It might. But I don’t think it will change many people’s minds about him, either way.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:23 PM

        Just a message towards Votto. We all know that pitchers are judged by K/BB and BB/9 and a HBP is not scrutinized as much.

        Cingrani saved 3 pitches by nailing Bryce and maybe there’s a message there too, not sure. It was intentional just like Matusz did in yesterday’s game vs Rays with 1st base open and he nailed Asdrubal Cabrera with Souza standing on 2nd. Too much of these in baseball but you go low, not high.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    From the last post regarding Desmond’s RBI total being less than Taylor and Span:

    What makes that even more amazing is that Denard has missed 17 games and Ian has played every game. An, of course, all of Span’s games have been from the leadoff spot, normally not a great spot to get a lot of RBI’s.

    And Baby Taylor doesn’t have a ton of hits, but many of those he does have produced runs. And he has about half as many PA’s as Desmond. [A team leading 216 for Desi vs. 113 for Taylor]

    Let’s face it, Desi has not had a very productive season so far.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      All valid and Desi sure hasn’t been productive as shown by that .150s RISP BA.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:37 PM

      Desmond’s K rate is 25 for every 100 PAs. That’s a bit high. But Taylor’s K rate? 37 count em THIRTY SEVEN per 100 PAs! That’s AAAA. Plus, Desmond is a much better base runner.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Desmond recently had a fourteen(?) game hitting streak — think it ended — that was the quietest (least consequential) such streak in memory. So quiet and inconsequential that nobody noticed when it ended (Saturday — I looked it up). Punctuated by his daily minimum adult requirement of swinging gate SOs. Keep Span and move Taylor back to SS.

      • curlydub34 - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:59 PM

        Isn’t it a little early to be calling a rookie with a strikeout problem AAAA? I’m aware he had it in the minors too but he has come up big for us in the field and at the plate on multiple occasions.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:59 PM

        Taylor has looked lost at times, but it’s still a small sample size. Last year Desmond had some good stats, but K ratio wasn’t one of them. He had an over 28% ratio 648 PA’s/ 183 K’s

      • therealjohnc - Jun 1, 2015 at 4:02 PM

        37 per 100 you say? Coincidentally, that is exactly the same rate for former Nat Steven Souza. I guess that guy is AAAA, too.

  9. NatsLady - Jun 1, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:21 PM

      I read that yesterday from the Ghost

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    Mark just tweeted: “#Nats recall LHP Felipe Rivero and option LHP Matt Grace to AAA. Fresh arm for the bullpen after a rough weekend.”

    I don’t necessarily call Rivero a fresh arm. Maybe you missed Grace’s last 3 appearances. Progressively worse.

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:24 PM

      Good job on that as I read your story in game where you said it was going to happen. Seems like a bandaid on the problem

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:29 PM

        3 times and you’re out. Solis could replace Rivero so yes this could be temporary.

      • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:52 PM

        Thanks. Grace seems like a good kid

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

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WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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