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State of the Nats: Mets coming to town

Jul 20, 2015, 12:01 PM EST

USA Today

Top storylines:

New York Mets are coming to town – After dropping two of three against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and facing off with two of the best pitchers in baseball, the road will not get any easier for the Nats as the division rival New York Mets come to Washington. The Nats and Mets will square off in three games, finishing with an early afternoon 12:35 p.m. start on Wednesday.

What a few days at Nationals Park for those who like great pitching. The Nats faced Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on Saturday and Sunday, a pair with a combined four Cy Young awards. Now they will see Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07), Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.14) and Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 3.05).

Harvey finished the first half with a 1.71 ERA in his last five starts, though he has walked nine total guys in his previous two outings. deGrom is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and dominated the San Francisco Giants his last time out with just two hits allowed and 10 strikeouts in eight shutout innings. Syndergaard has a 1.71 ERA in the month of July and the Nats have never faced him.

The Nats and Mets have played two series against each other so far this season. The Mets took the first one at Nats Park in the season opener. The Nats then took three of four in New York in an early-May series. The Nats lead the season series 4-3 and both teams have scored 16 runs against each other.

Injury updates  The Nationals have plenty of players on the road to recovery and should get at least a few of them back this week. Jayson Werth will continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Monday night, as reported by MLB.com. Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman have also started their minor league rehab games. Zimmerman will continue playing with Double-A Harrisburg on Monday night.

As for Rendon, he took batting practice at Nats Park on Sunday and looked very good. I thought there was a chance he would return Monday night against the Mets, as his injury is minor and the Nationals need any help they can get at this point. But Rendon packed up his bags and his bats and left the clubhouse yesterday. We’ll find out today from Matt Williams what’s next for him.

We should also get an update on Stephen Strasburg, who is supposed to throw a bullpen before they figure out when and where he can do a minor league rehab assignment. David Carpenter, like Strasburg, has been playing catch in the Nats’ outfield before games. He should be ready to take another step soon.

Denard Span is resting after receiving a cortisone shot in his back. He will likely begin taking swings some time this week.

Ramos, Desmond struggling – While the Nationals await reinforcements from the disabled list, they are having a tough time scoring runs with those who remain in the lineup. Bryce Harper and Yunel Escobar have continued to play well, but Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond in particular have struggled.

Both Ramos and Desmond are searching for their first hits since the All-Star break and they are a combined 0 for their last 26. It’s hard to analyze a slump when guys are going up against Kershaw and Greinke, but still that is concerning.

Matt Williams explained Ramos’ recent troubles after Sunday’s game:

“I think for Willy anytime he’s swinging well he’s waiting for the baseball, he’s on top of the baseball and hitting strikes. He’s been swinging at balls just off the zone. Sliders down and fastballs up. We want to get him to zero in a little bit more. If he’s patient enough to get a good pitch to hit, he’s pretty good. Recently it hasn’t been that way. Hopefully it starts tomorrow.”

NL East Standings

source:

Offensive game of the week: Yunel Escobar 7/17 (and 7/18) vs. Dodgers – 3-for-5, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R.

Pitching game of the week: Max Scherzer 7/20 vs. Dodgers – 6 IP, ER, 7 H, BB, 8 SO. 98 pitches, 70 strikes.

Quote of the week:

Harper on how tough it was to face Zack Greinke:

I think he was okay. When you’re getting five to six inches off of the plate, you better win the game… For me, I don’t think he was very tough. He’s a great pitcher, he does what he does, but when you’re getting six inches off the plate it’s pretty tough to face him.

Tweet(s) of the week:

Harper and Max Scherzer on Friday night’s power outage…

Road ahead

MON – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Gonzalez)
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (TBA)
WED – 12:35 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Zimmermann)
THU – 7:05 p.m. at Pittsburgh Pirates (Fister)
FRI – 7:05 p.m. at Pittsburgh Pirates (Scherzer)
SAT – 7:05 p.m. at Pittsburgh Pirates (Gonzalez)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. at Pittsburgh Pirates (TBA)

  1. Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    Oh well. Play 162 MLB games, you’re bound to face some good pitchers somewhere in there. If you’re afraid of the big dogs, stay on the porch.

  2. Ellie - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    Ramos I can accept is in a slump. Desmond is not. He’s just that bad. Maybe when Rendon comes back he can finally be DFA’ed.

    • TimDz - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      A DFA is not going to happen, no should it….He SHOULD however, be given a seat on the bench once the team gets healthy. At this point, there is no time for hard feelings, but there should also not be any time for loyalty for what has been done in the past…the future is now for this team…

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        TimDZ,

        DFA is stupid talk and shows zero knowledge or understanding of Baseball. I do however think that a trade for any sort of a prospect should and probably is considered very seriously.

      • Ellie - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:49 PM

        The problem is there’s no other option. He’s a waste of space on the roster right now, there’s literally nothing else they CAN do. No one is going to want him, so I think a trade is pretty much out of the question. And playing with a 24-player roster is worse, when there are players who can replace him and do basically everything better than he’s done all season.

      • TimDz - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:55 PM

        That should have read NOR should it…

        Ellie…if you look at Desi’s body of work over the last few years, he has won three silver slugger awards and has played some great defense (and he has admittedly made some bone headed and stone gloved plays). The bottom line is that he could fetch something of value in a trade and, if NOT traded, I still believe he will decline the qualifying offer and will head to free agency.

      • hokiepokster92 - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:07 PM

        +1

    • zmunchkin - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      The same things, and worse, were suggested for Espi. The Nats brain trust saw value and guess what? They were right. And Espi’s slump was over a much longer time period.

      Get used to the fact the Desi will likely be here all here. He will start a lot of games. And he will almost certainly get a QO. Which he will then reject.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:58 PM

        all year, all “all here”

      • Ellie - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:18 PM

        I know no one’s accepted a QO in recent memory (if ever?), but if he finishes the season with his current numbers, roughly extrapolated out to .204/.248/.324, 12 HR, 45 RBI, and a .945 fielding percentage, what team in their right mind would make him any better offer as a free agent? The QO would be his best option, since he’s not going to land a multi-year deal, and any other team offering him a single year (if there even is one) probably wouldn’t offer him $15M.

        I think a QO is still too risky for the Nats, because Desmond might actually be the rare player in a position to accept one – and then he’d (and we’d) have to hope he improves in his do-over contract year and can land a multi-year deal either with Washington or somewhere else, but also doesn’t drag the team down for a whole season like he’s doing now.

      • TimDz - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM

        Ellie…after all the posturing he has done over the years regardng the player’s union and not leaving anything on the table for the “next guy,” not to mention his own ego, I cannot see him as being the first player to accept a QO. Even if he doesn’t get an AAV of 15 + million a year, he will most assuredly get a three (possibly four) year offer worth 40 + million (remember that these contracts are guarenteed…just ask the Braves about Uggla’s contract)..

      • fstop1970 - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:45 PM

        This year’s Short Stop free agent market is so thin on talent that even with Desi’s current numbers (offense and defense), he’s still the best FA SS on the open market. Has he hurt the value of his payday thus far? Most assuredly, but he’ll still get the best contract at his position. Someone might even overpay his present value if they think this year is an aberration.

        The only way someone gets a better short stop is to trade for him (like Tulo), but that won’t come cheap.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      Ellie, you just showed your Nats IQ is not above average with ridiculous talk about a Desi DFA. Won’t happen. A phantom DL stint is needed once Rendon comes back.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:17 PM

        JD and Ghost, inter alia — come on. Lording it over other posters and calling people stupid for asking a question, albeit a naive one, is beneath both of you.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:26 PM

        I took it as a troll post from just another hater. Sorry if it offended you .

      • natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2015 at 4:10 PM

        Agreed. A point can be made without resorting to ad hominem remarks.

        ===

        Lording it over other posters and calling people stupid for asking a question, albeit a naive one, is beneath both of you.

  3. jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    There were a few comments yesterday about the Nats needing to find a catcher. First of all when Ramos does not have to bat 4th or 5th and when he’s not slumping he is a perfectly acceptable above average catcher.

    2nd of all the Nats already have the catcher of the future in their organization. Read this about Pedro Severino from Fan Graphs:

    Severino is very fun to watch and in my very limited look at him in the AFL a few months ago, he jumped off the field at me. He’s an above average runner and defender with a plus arm and all kinds of energy. Severino’s swing is solid and he has some pop, but the offensive tools haven’t quite added up to big performance yet. The glove will be his calling card for now and Severino is an excellent pitch framer and game caller that’s already one of the better English speakers in the Nats system. If he can focus on making contact and staying short to the ball, there’s a potentially long career for an athletic catcher with above average defense that isn’t terrible at the plate.

  4. jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    If Rendon is fully healthy bring him on up. No reason to face the Mets 2 men short and with a lineup that’s problematic already.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Wagner’s story in the WaPo yesterday suggested he would return in 7-10 days. Rendon himself seemed to say he was healthy but needed conditioning.

  5. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    So the Syracuse Chiefs are on the road in Buffalo tonight. Werth is rehabbing there… Wouldn’t you?
    http://www.weather.com/weather/today/l/Buffalo+NY+USNY0181:1:US

  6. hokiepokster92 - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Hopefully the Mets have a hangover after playing 18 yesterday.

    • adcwonk - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:15 PM

      They were 1-for-26 RISP, and left 25 men on base last night — they had men on base in 17 straight innings (all but the fist). I hope that besides being exhausted, that, despite their win, they’re frustrated at the plate, too.

    • bowdenball - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      I don’t think nats fans should be too optimistic about and hangover effects here. The game was still done around the time a normal game moves into the middle innings. And we played 1.5 games the day before, had multiple lengthy delays Friday, and played in extreme heat all weekend.

      The Mets might be a little shorthanded in the pen tonight if we can make Harvey work, which we should do anyway since he’s been struggling with his control lately, but otherwise I don’t think it’ll really be a factor.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:48 PM

        I do hope we “make Harvey work” tonight. It should be interesting since it seems the Mets have been watching his pitch count carefully, but with their pen being depleted, I wonder if they’re calling up some bullpen help from the minors.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:51 PM

        I agree,

        Gilmartin pitched 4 innings so he’s probably out until Wednesday. Purmell pitched 1+ and Mejia pitched 2 as well as Torres but they should have the other Torres, Robles and Famillia available tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised if they promote someone for these games.

  7. Doc - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    De los Santos is the 24th pitcher used by the Nats in the 2015 season. That old saw ‘you can never have too much pitching’ just received additional validation.

    I’ll bet Rizzo keeps the frequent flyer miles!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Jayson Werth to the 60 Day DL and when he’s reinstated then there has to be a corresponding 40 man move. Looks like Difo will go back when Rendon is activated to save Burriss time but I don’t see the risk to DFA on Burriss as I don’t think there’s anyone who claims him.

      Big change of heart with the Werth move.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:38 PM

        Wow,

        What happened? You gotta feel his season is shot. Taylor is here for the long haul.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:45 PM

        Retroactive move.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:48 PM

        Retroactive to May 16 so it’s already been over 60 days. When JDub comes back they have to clear a 40 man slot for him.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        Wait,

        Is the 60 day retroactive and he keeps rehabbing or is he beiing shut down?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        Yes retroactive. Don’t panic!

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:04 PM

        Doooooooooommmm!

        Just kidding.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:42 PM

        Maybe a deal is in the works and will be made when Werth comes back? Or maybe Rizzo just decided he could defer a decision for a few days?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:44 PM

        You nailed it masterfishkeeper. Buys Rizzo a few days.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        I’m fairly certain the 60-day DL is retroactive to the last game played. When Werth is ready (if the prevailing wisdom here is correct) Burriss or Erik Davis will be DFA’d and Werth should be able to be activated.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        Yes retroactive!!!! Don’t panic!

      • natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2015 at 4:11 PM

        Whew. Thanks for that clarification.

        ===

        Retroactive to May 16 so it’s already been over 60 days. When JDub comes back they have to clear a 40 man slot for him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 4:19 PM

        🙂 You have to credit Rizzo for creativity. Burriss was going to be the move and in a change to buy some time, Riz makes an unexpected temp move. Everyone expects JDub back in a few days and once he returns you’d think a move has to be made but maybe just maybe Rizzo pulls off a trade and 2 players on the 40 man are taken off and only 1 added.

        Difo is getting the most mention in Trade rumors. Is he by himself enough to get back a closer or setup man?

        Rizzo is playing chess.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      DANG. Another INADVERTENT WHISTLE. Please disregard REPORT POST.

      And move the button, kthxbai.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2015 at 4:12 PM

        Oops, sorry. Meant to report that one. I mean reply. Wait, what day is it again?

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Didn’t see that (60-day DL for Jayson Werth) coming. Re-injury or just not healing properly?

    • bowdenball - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      Neither. It’s retroactive and he’s been out >60 days. Just creates room on the 40 man until his return. No reason to think anything is wrong.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:45 PM

        Got it; thanks. Should have thought that through before asking.

    • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:48 PM

      Got it.

      So now he can send Difo down for DLS and not have to DFA Burris until Werth is ready to come back.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    Red Sox DFA’d Sandy Leon.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Leon is a reminder that the Nats could probably DFA Dan Butler without losing any skin. Agree, however, that Burris and E. Davis are more likely.

  10. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 20, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    Re: Wms.’s comments on Ramos’s “slump.” Blaming Ramos for swinging at pitches out of the strike zone (less politely, “pitches he can’t” reach) is conceding that the slump is self-inflicted. Should be easy to fix and it’s on Ramos that he hasn’t fixed it already. Ramos is 7-42 for July, w/ two BB.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 4:14 PM

      It’s the reaching swing on the low and away. Scouts got eyes. They are exploiting the weakness he created and making him look bad in the process.

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