Aug 10, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
West Coast trip up next – Having just gone 3-4 against teams with sub-.500 records on their recent homestand, things aren’t going so well for the Nats right now and up next is a brutal stretch through the NL West.
The Nationals will begin with three games at the Los Angeles Dodgers who, lucky for the Nats, have both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke lined up to start. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer will miss the series altogether. That’s just the way it’s gone for the Nats recently, where even the teams who don’t set up their rotations for specific series like the Mets do seem to have it all fall into place.
Ryan Zimmerman, for one, has noticed that trend.
“It’s been one of those years. Even when I was hurt, I’m watching these guys and we haven’t missed many aces. If you’re gonna get there, we gotta beat the best anyway. No excuses,” he said.
After the Dodgers, the Nationals will face Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in San Francisco. Both Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg will start that series. Joe Ross will pitch in both series and the starters opposite of him will be Greinke in L.A. an Bumgarner in San Francisco. Good luck, rookie.
After the Giants, the Nats will travel to Colorado to play the Rockies. Right now the Nationals have Jordan Zimmermann, Strasburg and Scherzer lined up to pitch, a best-case scenario for them. The Nats are 1-2 against L.A. this season, 3-0 against the Giants and 1-2 vs. the Rockies, by the way.
Playing against those teams on the road will not be easy, especially given the Nats’ recent troubles. But baseball is beautifully unpredictable, so it would not be surprising at all to see the Nationals come out of this better than they are today.
Injury updates – The Nationals added two new names to the disabled list this week in Dan Uggla (back spasms) and Aaron Barrett (elbow strain). Barrett, in particular, is one to watch because the Nats will send him for further testing this week.
There was ominous news about Denard Span on Saturday, that he had suffered a setback and his ability to return this season is now in question. But on Sunday, Span was running sprints in the outfield at Nats Park and working with head trainer Lee Kuntz. It seems they are still charging ahead in his rehab, so perhaps there is better news to share some time this week.
Non-waiver deals – With the troubling Span news and the Nationals’ continued struggles in the second half of the season – they are now 9-14 since the All-Star break – the Nats may have to look closer at adding a piece through the waiver wire before the end of the month. GM Mike Rizzo has shown a willingness to do that in recent seasons with the acquisitions of Kurt Suzuki, Matt Thornton and Nate Schierholtz. Will they do something similar this year?
Many of us have honed in on the bullpen as a place they could still upgrade, most likely with an experienced lefty. But Span’s injury is a big concern and maybe they could use another outfielder to compensate. Michael Taylor has been good this season, but do they feel good about the depth behind him? It might be time to give their bench a small boost.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Ryan Zimmerman 8/9 vs. Rockies – 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB.
Pitching game of the week: Stephen Strasburg 8/8 vs. Rockies – 7 IP, ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 12 SO, HR. 91 pitches, 65 strikes.
Quote of the week:
I think for some reason, people have always been very hard on him no matter what. If he does well, it’s not good enough. If he does bad, then it’s kind of like the ‘I-told-you-so’ thing. This guy, he’s the worst best pitcher I’ve ever seen in my life. This guy gets no credit for what he’s done since he basically came out. To see him throw the ball like that, that was fun to watch.
Tweet of the week:
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 3, 2015
MON – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Gonzalez)
TUE – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross)
WED – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Zimmermann)
THU – 10:15 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Strasburg)
FRI – 10:15 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Scherzer)
SAT – 10:15 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Gonzalez)
SUN – 4:05 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Ross)
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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