Washington Nationals Series Preview: Back to the scene of the sell-off as Nats travel to face the Philadelphia Phillies

If the Miami Marlins may face the Washington Nationals each sport this season they might be a bonafide World Collection contender — then once more, so would plenty of mediocre groups.

With a four-game sweep of the Nationals this weekend, the Marlins moved to a dominant 12-1 towards their division foes on the yr, as their pitching silenced the Nats’ bats all sequence.

Miami even did so with out their Nationwide League Cy Younger candidate, Sandy Alcantara, beginning a sport.

Nothing epitomizes that greater than within the last two video games of the sequence when Pablo López, who had been struggling mightily coming into the sequence, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, then Braxton Garrett retired 14 straight batters in the course of the sequence finale.

Subsequent up for the Nationals is a visit to Residents Financial institution Park to tackle the Philadelphia Phillies, the crew’s first journey again there because the sequence that kicked off the commerce deadline sell-off.

The Phillies proceed to meander a bit in and across the postseason image with out essentially taking an opportunity to cement themselves within the race and go on an enormous run.

The excellent news for them is that their offense was exhibiting loads of indicators of the unit that was anticipated to hold them this season. The unhealthy information is that as issues had been clicking, they misplaced their MVP, Bryce Harper, to a damaged thumb, ruling him out for the foreseeable future.

Right here’s the lowdown from Philadelphia forward of the three-game midweek set..

The schedule

  • Sport One: Tuesday, July fifth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Two: Wednesday, July sixth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Three: Thursday, July seventh, 4:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Sport One: Paolo Espino (0-1, 2.80 ERA) vs Cristopher Sánchez (0-1, 4.60 ERA)
  • Sport Two: Josiah Grey (6-5, 4.22 ERA) vs Aaron Nola (5-5, 3.13 ERA)
  • Sport Three: TBD (0-0, -.– ERA) vs Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.88 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Juan Soto: Lots of the discuss in June was round how Soto was slumping on the plate, seeing his common drop down into the .210s for a couple of video games. Quietly although, the younger phenom has been beginning to warmth up once more on the plate.

For the reason that Nats final confronted the Phillies, Soto boasts a powerful .290/.488/.516 slash line with a house run, 4 doubles, 12 walks, and simply six strikeouts. Some could also be hoping for a greater batting common, however the on-base share and slugging share are very a lot Soto-esque.

And wouldn’t you already know it, proper as he heats up, he suffers an damage, seemingly tweaking his calf throughout Sunday’s sport towards the Marlins. His MRI got here again clear, at the very least, so Soto ought to be capable to return to the lineup sooner or later in the course of the sequence in Philadelphia.

Kyle Schwarber: I imply, there’s just one method to go together with this when the opposition crew has the June NL Participant of the Month on their crew, proper? It’s additionally a well-known feeling for Schwarber who heated up in June final season for the Nationals, now he’s carried out it with the Phillies.

Final month, Schwarber slashed a strong .272/.385/.680 with an MLB-leading 12 house runs and a 187 wRC+ that ranked seventh within the majors amongst qualifiers in June. Ah, the recollections.

Sadly, after happening a June tear with the Nationals, Schwarber was injured early in July, which was at the very least a part of the explanation the crew fell aside and ended up falling out of competition so rapidly. Hopefully, one other damage doesn’t befall him, however the Nats will likely be hoping they’ll cool him down a bit on this sequence after his second successive torrid June.

Who’s not?

Nelson Cruz: For some time, it appeared like Cruz was discovering his kind once more on the plate, simply in time for the commerce deadline. Now, there’s concern that he’s slipping again right into a hunch once more.

In his final 11 video games, the Nationals’ DH has a slash line of simply .190/.261/.310 with a sole house run and 9 RBIs, strolling 4 instances and putting out 12.

The commerce deadline is now lower than a month away, and if the Nationals are going to aim to get a very compelling prospect package deal for the 42-year-old, he’s going to wish to revert to the shape he confirmed in Might and June the place he had a wRC+ above 130.

Didi Gregorius: In his third yr with the Phillies, it’s honest to say that these previous two years haven’t gone in addition to Gregorius’s first yr with the crew in 2020. The shortstop additionally isn’t swinging the bat overly nicely recently both.

For the reason that final time these two groups met throughout Ryan Zimmerman weekend, Gregorius is slashing simply .176/.222/.265 in 36 plate appearances whereas strolling twice and putting out six instances, good for under a 33 wRC+ in that span.

Gregorius had an injection in his left knee on Friday, per Matt Gelb of The Athletic, one thing the crew hopes will assist him get by way of among the struggles he’s had this season, significantly his energy. However each sport Gregorius struggles, the extra Bryson Stott performs, and the much less doubtless it’s that the Phillies’ high prospect cedes his place because the starter.

From the opposing dugout

Take a look at among the high Phillies storylines from our mates at The Good Phight…

Yet another factor to observe

This previous weekend, the Nationals made a reasonably intriguing roster transfer forward of their sequence with the Marlins, as they optioned catcher Riley Adams to Triple-A and recalled Tres Barrera.

Adams was having a season of combined outcomes to that time, with sizzling stretches and chilly stretches, giving him a .192/.284/.321 slash line with three house runs and a double in 88 plate appearances because the crew’s backup catcher.

Barrera, then again, has been going nicely at Triple-A, slashing .256/.342/.439 in 51 video games for the Rochester Reds Wings, whereas persevering with to show stable protection behind the dish.

Even so, so long as Keibert Ruiz is wholesome, supervisor Dave Martinez goes to present him the majority of the taking part in time behind the plate because the catcher of the current and future. So Barrera’s call-up is a straight swap with Adams because the backup catcher.

“I informed [Barrera], ‘Hey, look, your position is unquestionably going to alter,” Martinez stated on Saturday. “Keibert is our on a regular basis catcher, however you’ll catch some video games, so if I can get you on the market twice every week, or possibly 3 times every week, we’re going to try this to maintain you going.’

“He was swinging the bat nicely, he was doing nicely catching, and I do know by speaking to those who pitchers like throwing to him, and that’s good, and he was throwing some guys out down there, so he looks like he’s prepared and we thought that he’d be prepared, so I don’t need him sitting right here and never taking part in for 10 days, I wish to get him on the market and let him play.”

Whereas Barrera is the one within the majors, this nonetheless doesn’t doubtless change the organizational pecking order at catcher, as they nonetheless regard Adams extremely and see him as the long run backup.

There are two issues this implies with Adams. First, the Nationals need him to get extra common taking part in time to get again right into a groove on the plate, one thing he clearly wasn’t in at this level. Second, Martinez talked about that in addition they wish to get Adams some work at first base within the minors, one thing he has solely carried out as soon as within the majors so far in his profession.

Maybe it’s a little bit of foreshadowing, with Josh Bell firmly within the store window as a commerce candidate, which can create a gap there for Adams to get important taking part in time within the majors, in addition to giving him a method to get extra at-bats sooner or later regardless of backing up Ruiz.

Adams’ progress will likely be value monitoring over the subsequent few weeks, each the place he performs within the area and whether or not his bat heats up forward of a possible recall after the commerce deadline…

Collection Preview Trivia

Final sequence’ trivia query: In 2019, the Nationals additionally performed a wrap-around sequence towards the Marlins, that point it was over Memorial Day weekend. Within the first sport of that sequence, the Nationals pulled off a dramatic 12-10 comeback win, however are you able to bear in mind who began that sport for Washington?

Reply: Kyle McGowin

Right here’s our trivia query for this sequence with the Phillies, as we glance again on the final time the Nationals made the journey to Residents Financial institution Park for a sequence…

The final time the Nationals performed at Residents Financial institution Park, they misplaced three of 4 in a sequence that triggered the commerce deadline selloff that despatched the franchise right into a rebuild. Who was it who hit the walk-off grand slam for the Phillies within the sequence finale?