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State of the Nats: All-Star break

Jul 13, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

USA Today

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Home Run Derby, All-Star Game this week  The 2015 MLB All-Star break begins on Monday night with the Home Run Derby and the actual game will be played on Tuesday night. The Nats do not have a representative in the derby this year, but they will have Bryce Harper in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.

Here are the particulars in case you want to watch either event…

Home Run Derby
Time: 8 p.m.
TV: ESPN
Participants: Albert Pujols, Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo, Todd Frazier, Prince Fielder

86th MLB All-Star Game
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX

Nats ready for All-Star break – With the All-Star Game taking place in Cincinnati, each MLB team will get four days off before picking back up on Friday for the second half. A four-day break is good for everybody during a 162-game grind of a baseball season, but there are some mixed opinions on the time off depending on who you ask in the Nats’ clubhouse. Here are some quotes from players on what they think about the break and what they plan to do with their time:

Matt Williams:

“Given what’s happened in the first half with us and our health… guys will get a good break and we’ll be ready for Friday.”

Dan Uggla:

“We always want to keep going, but the All-Star break is what it is. It’s here now and I think everybody’s going to excited to have a few days off and watch our guys represent and hopefully come out with a win.”

Ian Desmond:

“No one’s every complained about the All-Star break. It’s time to get home and spend some time with the kids. They’re growing up fast and they want their Dad around. I’ll play with them for a while and recharge the batteries.”

Wilson Ramos:

“I got my family here, so I want to enjoy it with them. I’ll take care of my baby and try to have fun.”

Drew Storen:

“With a four-day break, you’re never going to complain. But it’s not one of those those things where I’m crawling into it. That’s always a good thing. I’m happy with where I’m at mentally and physically. Hit the refresh button for a couple days, hit the links and be ready to come back Friday for another series.

Max Scherzer:

“It’s always nice to get a little break here in the middle of the season. I’ll use the rest and rest up for the second half… [I will] have fun. I won’t be pitching, but I’ll definitely be having fun out in Cincinnati. It’s a great experience, even if I’m not pitching. Just to be a part of that club and that clubhouse, it’s a really special feeling.”

What will rotation be out of the break? – I asked Williams after Sunday’s game what his rotation will be out of the break and he said the team will need a few days to decide. Surely they do know what it will be, they just won’t tell us quite yet.

That is understandable, given they have the Los Angeles Dodgers coming to Washington to begin the second half. They could use any competitive advantage they can get, as the Dodgers are one of the best teams in the NL.

But for baseball fans, the Nats’ rotation is of significant interest. The potential pitching matchups in that series are quite intriguing. The Nationals will likely have Scherzer pitch Friday night, with Jordan Zimmermann on Saturday and Doug Fister on Sunday. The Dodgers will probably go with Clayton Kershaw on Friday, Zack Greinke on Saturday and right-hander Mike Bolsinger on Sunday. Scherzer vs. Kershaw? Yes, please. Greinke and Zimmermann? That’ll do.

NL East Standings

source:

Offensive game of the week: Danny Espinosa 7/6 vs. Reds – 2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, R.

Pitching game of the week: Max Scherzer 7/12 vs. Orioles – 8.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 SO. 115 pitches, 80 strikes.

Quote of the week:

Harper on Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

I don’t like hitting here. I just really don’t. Plain and simple. I mean, I hate it. So I think being able to get back home and do the things we need to do and get back to playing in our league the next two months is going to be good for us.

Tweet of the week:

Road ahead

MON – Home Run Derby (8 p.m.)
TUE – 2015 All-Star Game (7:30 p.m.)
WED – OFF
THU – OFF
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
SAT – 4:05 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
SUN – 1:35 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. unterp - Jul 13, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    let’s go Nats…

  2. nats128 - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    “Ian Desmond:

    No one’s every complained about the All-Star break.”

    Someone committed the error there! Ever vs Every!

    • TimDz - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      It’ll probably be charged to Desi..

      • npb99 - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:42 PM

        Ouch!

  3. Drew - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    I imagine any club would be happy to reach the break nine games over .500 and then add Rendon, Werth and Zim.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      And Span.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        And Strasburg

    • Guapo - Jul 13, 2015 at 2:49 PM

      For sure. Here are the top 8 position players in game played in 2015, in order or appearances. Read it a couple of times and let it sink in…

      Desmond
      Harper
      Escobar
      Espinosa
      Taylor
      Ramos
      Robinson
      Moore

      From the 2014 Division Championship team, there are three regular starters on that list (Harper, Ramos and Desmond).

      The experts picked a health Nats team to win it all. But the same experts, if you’d have told them that the above group would be the Nats leaders in games played, they probably wouldn’t have made the same prediction.

      Given the absurd amount of injuries, and the current spot in the standings, I’d say everyone should be pretty happy. Harper may end up winning the NL MVP this year, but given what’s happened in the first half, the collective team MVP goes to the bench players.

  4. kkolchak - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Glad to hear Bryce hates hitting in Crabtown. Hopefully, someone will remind him that if he were to go to the Yankees he’d have to play there 9 or 10 times a season. 😄

  5. therealjohnc - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    All other things being equal, you would prefer to have Gio pitching against the Dodgers rather than the Mets. The Dodgers are OPS’ing 65 points as a team higher against RHP (.771) than LHP (.707). The Mets, OTOH, are OPS’ing a bit higher against LHP (.672) than against RHP (.657). For that reason I think you would see Scherzer, JZim and Gio against the Dodgers followed by Fister, Roark and Scherzer against the Mets.

    Wild card: Strasburg last appeared in a game on July 4, therefore he should be eligible to come off of the DL for the Mets series. If he’s available that would push Roark back to the bullpen for now.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 13, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      On the radio, they said Strasburg isn’t ready to begin throwing, so he’s a ways off. The Nats will have to either call up a pitcher, presumably Ross, or start Roark.

      • ward5nedc - Jul 13, 2015 at 3:21 PM

        Yeah, Oblique strain is usually 4-6 weeks.
        Just guessing here – it will be at least 6 for a pitcher.

  6. rayvil01 - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    The one thing I’m not looking forward to in this second half is playing Pittsburgh 4 games at PNC. That’s going to be a tough task. Pirates are on a serious roll. Wonderful job by the Nats sweeping them three games here. But, there will be much tougher.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 13, 2015 at 1:11 PM

      Agreed, they are a dangerous team. But they were also on a serious roll when they came to town in June, and we swept them right out again — including Scherzer’s no-hitter, so I am cautiously optimistic that we will hold our own against them.

      • jd - Jul 13, 2015 at 1:25 PM

        virginia,

        I would feel much better about facing some of the better teams with at least Span and Rendon back. Playing with the lineup we are using now is a very anxious exercise. Too much pressure on the pitchers to be flawless. When they are less than stellar we have a very hard time bailing them out.

        We are about to face the Dodgers, Mets and Pirates – some seriously good pitching will be thrown at us.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 13, 2015 at 3:56 PM

      OTOH, that might be just the series for a road trip!

  7. rlndtln - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Do not see Greinke or Kershaw for friday if they both pitch in ASG.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:14 PM

      That’s what I was thinking. Who else is pitching for the Dodgers these days? If they don’t pick up some arms before the trading deadline, I will be extremely surprised.

  8. Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Right on time for the break, today’s mail brought the old Blogfather’s new book!
    The Grind

    • deftndumb - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:30 PM

      Blogfather! Love it! (But now I’m missing Terry Pratchett, may he rest in peace.)

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 13, 2015 at 7:18 PM

        That’s what we called him in the first days, back on the Nats Journal.

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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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