Washington Nationals Series Preview: Heading home to face the Arizona Diamondbacks

Coming off the excessive of profitable a collection in Truist Park towards the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals got here crashing again right down to earth at PNC Park this previous weekend.

A mix of poor fielding, lack of offense after the primary inning, and substandard beginning pitching led to the Nationals’ downfall towards the Pittsburgh Pirates, because the guests dropped the collection 3-1 towards a group who gained’t be pulling up many timber this season.

The Nats will now look to rebound with their third four-game collection in 4 collection to date this season, this time, it’s towards the Arizona Diamondbacks, who come to D.C. because the hosts begin a seven-game homestand in Washington.

Arizona comes into the collection with a 3-6 file and on the again of a collection loss in Queens to the New York Mets that leaves them as the one group within the Nationwide League West under .500.

The difficulty for the Diamondbacks is evident, they’re second-last within the majors in OPS with a fairly frankly putrid .548 determine, forward of solely the Cincinnati Reds. The Nationals, although, have the third-worst ERA in MLB at 5.49, in order that matchup will probably be the place the collection is gained or misplaced.

Right here’s the remainder of the lowdown from Nationals Park forward of the four-game midweek set…

The schedule

  • Sport One: Monday, April 18th, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Two: Tuesday, April nineteenth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Three: Wednesday, April twentieth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport 4: Thursday, April twenty first, 4:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN 2, Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Sport One: Josiah Grey (1-1, 4.00 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
  • Sport Two: Joan Adon (0-2, 10.00 ERA) vs Merrill Kelly (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Sport Three: Erick Fedde (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs Zach Davies (0-1, 5.79 ERA)
  • Sport 4: Josh Rogers (1-1, 3.72 ERA) vs Zac Gallen (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Víctor Arano: Supervisor Dave Martinez could have discovered himself a brand new go-to center reduction arm. Arano, a non-roster invitee this spring who made the Opening Day roster, has already vaulted himself into his skipper’s plans within the bullpen and is basically repaying the religion.

Arano has made the trot within the from the bullpen six instances this season, permitting earned runs in simply a type of appearances — and the one appearances he’s allowed a number of baserunners. That offers him a pair of spectacular charge stats with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP.

The precise-hander nonetheless figures to fit in behind the likes of Sean Doolittle and Tanner Rainey within the bullpen pecking order however he’s positively made a optimistic impression within the early going.

Merrill Kelly: With Jacob deGrom out injured, somebody within the main leagues has to take over for him within the hard-luck starter stakes. Enter, Merill Kelly!

In two begins this 12 months, Kelly has but to permit a run, pitching 9.1 innings, permitting simply seven hits, and strolling 4 with 13 strikeouts. Nonetheless, the lineup has scored only one run whereas he is been pitching, which means he has no wins to his identify. Kelly can be hoping his luck adjustments on Tuesday.

Who’s not?

Lane Thomas: Hailed as one thing of a cult hero after arriving in return for Jon Lester from the St. Louis Cardinals, Thomas has did not stay as much as the lofty requirements that he set himself final season when he impressed the Nationals down the stretch.

In 37 plate appearances this season, Thomas is slashing simply .182/.243/.273 in a rotational function between left and heart with Victor Robles and Yadiel Hernández. With Robles’s struggles on the plate and Hernández’s defensive deficiencies, Thomas ought to proceed to get constant at-bats however might want to enhance to maintain maintain of his share of taking part in.

Carson Kelly: As soon as tabbed to be the successor to Yadiel Molina in St. Louis, Kelly — no, not the Kelly we talked about earlier, a distinct one — now with the Diamondbacks is underperforming on the plate with the group that acquired him within the Paul Goldschmidt commerce.

The 27-year-old backstop was hitless in his first 19 at-bats earlier than doubling in his first at-bat on Sunday, nevertheless, he’s nonetheless slashing an underwhelming .045/.125/.091. Not that their backup catcher, Jose Herrera, is doing a lot better, however the D-backs actually need Kelly to step up.

From the opposing dugout

Take a look at a few of the high Diamondbacks storylines from our associates at AZ Snake Pit…

Yet one more factor to look at

Keep in mind when the Nationals had been flashing the leather-based seemingly each different inning on protection to begin the season? That was enjoyable whereas it lasted.

Coming into 2022, it didn’t appear as if the Nats would mission to be notably good within the discipline, however then towards the Mets, they seemingly continued to make glorious play after glorious play, and a few hoped that is likely to be a pattern.

It wasn’t. The Nationals made two errors of their collection with the Atlanta Braves, after which a whopping 5 errors towards the Pirates — together with three by Maikel Franco alone in Sunday’s collection finale. That doesn’t embody different slack play that doesn’t present up within the field rating.

Talking with the media after the collection in Pittsburgh, Dave Martinez lower an exasperated determine when requested about what he considered his group’s play within the discipline currently.

“These little issues, we obtained to scrub up. We will’t give groups further outs. We’re not going to win video games like that,” Martinez defined. “I at all times say we obtained to get 27 outs, not 30, not 31. So we obtained to scrub these issues up.”

The supervisor has at all times been a powerful believer in “The Little Issues” from his groups and it was considered one of his go-to phrases throughout Spring Coaching in 2019 after struggling by an underwhelming first season with the Nationals.

With a group in transition, that message turns into much more vital for Martinez, attempting to carry his youthful gamers by to play clear baseball, moderately than erratically, and the veterans on the group must set the tone for that, not commit errors of their very own.

Their poor play within the discipline could have value them an opportunity for a cut up in Pittsburgh, so is one thing that may have to be monitored because the group comes again for a seven-game homestand.

Collection Preview Trivia

Final collection’ trivia query: The Nationals acquired Josh Bell from the Pirates final offseason, marking the primary time the 2 sides made a serious commerce collectively for the reason that Nats acquired Mark Melancon on the commerce deadline in 2016.

In that deal, Washington gave up Felipe Vázquez, and which different pitching prospect to accumulate Melancon?

Reply: Taylor Hearn

As you should 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 strive 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 Pirates…

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spent seven seasons because the Diamondbacks’ scouting director between 2000-06, throughout which, the group made seven first-round picks. Two of these first-round picks would ultimately play for the Nationals, who had been they?


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