After an easy dismissal of the Tampa Bay Rays, the week ends on a sour note.
1) A series between the Nats and the Giants where the Nats have Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer going against Suarez, Rodriguez and Holland should be a sweep for the Nats; 2 of 3 at worst. The whole series felt like we were swimming upstream.
2) Injuries continue to mess with the season. Just as Adam Eaton returns we lose Stras and Brandon Kintzler to injuries. Seemingly the prognosis in both cases is pretty good but it’s still a maddening pattern.
3) With Eaton’s return we are at a crossroads. We now have 4 regular outfielders for 3 positions. It will be interesting how manager Dave Martinez plays this in the long run. Michael Taylor is making this interesting by finally making offensive contributions.
4) Daniel Murphy is set to return, gimpy knee and all. We have a week to ease him back by using the DH in AL parks. It’s becoming blatantly obvious that his steady productive bat is sorely missed.
5) The catching position remains a terrible black hole offensively. Pedro Severino is pretty much an automatic out these days. At the very least Spencer Kieboom should get more playing time. He looks somewhat less of an automatic out than Severino.
6) The starting rotation is down to 3 of the opening day rotation of Scherzer, Gio and Tanner Roark and without the many off-days, we would have been in serious trouble. Wednesday looks like a reverse lock type of game, and we really should be hoping that Hellickson returns ASAP from his hamstring tweak.
7) Justin Miller has been a god-send; this year’s version of Matt Albers. He might just save us the need to trade valuable assets for relief help.
8) Playing with the DH this week in American League ballparks, the need for pinch-hitters is at a minimum this week so having a huge compliment of pitchers might well come in handy.
9) Our position in the standings is fine, and as the Phills begin to fade it’s slowly coming down to a 2 horse race, and Atlanta doesn’t look invincible either although they have an easy part of their schedule coming up.
10) The 2-game set in NY will be a solid test. The Yankees hardly ever lose and their lineup is fearsome. Couple that with the fact that we will be sending our 4th and 6th starters and one can honestly feel a bit uneasy. Yes, Tanner Roark and Erick Fedde look like the starters on Tuesday and Wednesday in Yankees Stadium.