Identical, Juan. Identical. The Washington Nationals had a promising begin to their collection with the Arizona Diamondbacks this week, taking a doubleheader sweep to go 2-0 up within the four-game set.
The pitching was notably spectacular in these two video games with Joan Adon and Josiah Grey stepping up and giving their staff sufficient on the mound to safe their two wins.
Then, effectively, the D-backs knocked Erick Fedde round, teeing off on him often, after which the Nationals simply couldn’t get the large hit within the collection finale on Thursday, stranding the bases loaded within the eighth and ninth innings after they had an opportunity to get a collection win.
Subsequent up, it’s the San Francisco Giants, who, regardless of being 8-5 to start out the season, are in fourth place within the Nationwide League West, and are coming off of a disappointing collection loss to the New York Mets.
Very like the Nats, the Giants are beginning to undergo from accidents this season, already calling on a few of their depth to patch holes. 2021 is already turning right into a conflict of attrition for each groups.
Right here’s the lowdown from Nationals Park forward of the three-game weekend collection…
- Recreation One: Friday, April twenty second, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
- Recreation Two: Saturday, April twenty third, 1:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN and MLB Community (out-of-market solely), Radio: 106.7 The Fan
- Recreation Three: Sunday, April twenty fourth, 1:35 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
- Recreation One: Patrick Corbin (0-2, 7.50 ERA) vs Sam Lengthy (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
- Recreation Two: Paolo Espino (0-0, 4.91 ERA) vs Alex Wooden (1-0, 1.93 ERA)
- Recreation Three: Josiah Grey (2-1, 3.14 ERA) vs Logan Webb (1-1, 2.55 ERA)
Josiah Grey: For higher or for worse, Grey’s potential growth on the main league stage goes to be a serious speaking level for the Nationals this season.
After a bumpy first begin towards the New York Mets, Grey has bounced again with two robust outings towards the Atlanta Braves and Diamondbacks, going a mixed 10.1 innings, permitting only one run on 4 hits and 5 walks whereas putting out 13 in these video games.
The correct-hander is about to start out the collection finale towards the Giants and will likely be hoping to go deeper into his begin this time after failing to exceed 5.1 innings in his first three begins.
Brandon Belt: Agony, thy title is Brandon Belt. As Nationals followers will wish to neglect, Belt was the participant who hit the decisive go-ahead house run within the marathon 18-inning affair within the 2014 NLDS. And now this season, Belt seems again to that type of kind on the plate.
In 39 at-bats, Belt has a stable .256/.373/.558 slash line within the early going with 4 house runs and eight RBIs. With Buster Posey retired, the Giants wanted Belt to maintain up his current resurgence for the reason that begin of 2020, and thus far, he’s delivering on that.
Alcides Escobar: To the shock of… not many, Escobar is beginning to present the indicators of being the participant that was out of the majors for 2 seasons earlier than the Nationals picked him up off of the scrap heap mid-season final yr.
Throughout 43 plate appearances this season, Escobar has a poor slash line of simply 167/.255/.190 with solely a lone extra-base hit to his title, putting out 14 instances and strolling 4 instances. The shortstop additionally dedicated a notable TOOTBLAN within the collection opener towards Arizona, making the third out at third base with Juan Soto on the plate.
Luis García, who received Inner League Participant of the Week final week, is enjoying shortstop at Triple-A. Though the Nats deliberate to let García sit at Triple-A to assist him develop, if he and Escobar proceed to development in reverse instructions, the entrance workplace could have a choice to make.
Darin Ruf: Amongst all the storylines with final yr’s dominant Giants staff, Ruf’s acquired a bit misplaced within the shuffle.
The previous Philadelphia Phillies man got here to the bay in 2020 after three years in South Korea the place he posted an OPS north of .900 in every of these seasons, and instantly carried that kind over, posting a .272/.381/.519 slash line and 143 wRC+ between 2020 and 2021.
To begin this season although, Ruf has gotten off to a slower begin, slashing simply .152/.291/.196 with a wRC+ of solely 58 in 55 plate appearances. Entrenched because the staff’s main DH nowadays, anticipate to see Ruf rather a lot on this collection, even along with his struggles on the plate.
From the opposing dugout
Try a number of the prime Giants storylines from our pals at McCovey Chronicles…
Yet another factor to observe
Argh, right here comes the accidents that we had been infuriatingly promised early within the season.
With this offseason’s lockout extending deep into spring, the standard five-week Spring Coaching needed to be condensed down to simply over three weeks so as to begin the season in time to slot in the unique 162 video games — thanks once more for the lockout, MLB homeowners.
As many feared as a result of many pitchers didn’t get in sufficient work, they’re beginning to fall like flies onto the Injured Listing, and the Nationals are beginning to get hit by the harm bug.
First, they misplaced Aníbal Sánchez to a cervical nerve impingement earlier than he even made a begin. Then Mason Thompson left a aid look early with a proper biceps pressure. Now, throughout this previous collection with Arizona, Sean Doolittle and Hunter Harvey went on the IL too.
4 pitchers had been positioned on the IL within the area of 11 days for supervisor Dave Martinez. Not excellent.
“Once I went via this as a participant in ‘95, watching numerous these pitchers, April was fairly strenuous,” Martinez stated of his expertise popping out of the 1994 work stoppage.
“So I don’t know if it has something associated to the brief Spring Coaching, however you’ve acquired to have a look at the brief Spring Coaching, and attempting to ramp these guys up, so with that being stated, that is the explanation why we attempt to have so many alternative choices, in case one thing like this is able to occur.”
The accidents to date have already got the Nationals scrambling for a starter on this collection, with Paolo Espino set to start out the second sport, however prone to be on a lowered pitch depend as he’s solely stretched out as an extended reliever at this level, whereas additionally now looking for extra arms to get outs within the center innings, with three relievers who began effectively down injured too.
There’s a storm to climate on the pitching harm entrance, and maybe extra so than within the first week of the season, Martinez wants his starters to go deeper of their begins due to it…
Sequence Preview Trivia
Final collection’ trivia query: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spent seven seasons because the Diamondbacks’ scouting director between 2000-06, throughout which, the staff made seven first-round picks. Two of these first-round picks would ultimately play for the Nationals, who had been they?
Reply: Max Scherzer and Stephen Drew
As you’ll have seen in our first few collection previews, we’re attempting out a brand new function this season. We’re going to have a trivia query every collection so that you can attempt your hand at and reply down within the feedback, then we’ll reveal the reply in our subsequent collection preview.
Right here’s the trivia query for this collection towards the Giants…
Seeing as we talked concerning the Brandon Belt house run towards the Nationals within the 2014 NLDS earlier, who was it that the primary baseman hit the house run off of in that sport?