The Braves are coming into DC for a 4 game series with the Nats after the Braves were just swept by the Cardinals to put them 0-5 for the season. Worse than that, they had 2 big injuries in that series losing Daniel Winkler for the season with a serious arm injury and the team also put Ender Inciarte on the DL with a minor leg injury.
Weather can be a factor in this series and if all 4 games are played it looks like Max Scherzer and Bud Norris tonight, Gio Gonzalez will make his 2016 debut tomorrow against Jhoulys Chacin, Wednesday would be Stephen Strasburg and Matt Wisler, and Thursday for getaway day and a 4:05pm start time the Nats would pitch Tanner Roark against Julio Teheran. Of course all of this is subject to change and MLB is showing TBDs for most of the pitching matchups.
Here is your forecast for the weather which show clouds and rain in DC for today and tomorrow: DC Weather 5 day forecast
The Nationals must continue to dominate weaker teams which the Mets failed to do over the weekend as the Mets lost 2 games to the Phillies. Neither the Phillies or Braves are going to roll over and make it easy as we saw last week with the Braves and the Nationals opening series which the Nats swept to start 2-0. Young teams with low expectations and a good core of players can find ways to beat you if you let them. The Nats have to get on top of the Braves and score early and often. The best way to beat lesser teams is to demoralize them early. The Cardinals didn’t do that yesterday as Adam Wainwright in 5 innings walked 5 and gave up 6 hits, and allowed the Braves to stick around in that game until the Braves bullpen collapsed.
Here are your Nats stats in small samples sizes from BBRef:
Are there any takeaways in sample sizes this small? A few. Daniel Murphy has been walked 5 times in 4 games and that is a result of who is hitting behind him, and the mirror opposite is Michael Taylor hasn’t walked once and he is batting lead-off. Danny Espinosa is getting the 8th hole treatment batting in front of the pitcher and Bryce Harper picked up where he left off last year.
Should there be a new line-up order? That would make sense. The issue is how do you do that with the personnel you have and keep Anthony Rendon in the 2, Harper in the 3, Ryan Zimmerman in the 4 and Murphy in the 5? The most logical option is moving Jayson Werth to the lead-off where he will work the counts, take his walks, and hopefully get on-base more and putting Michael A. Taylor in the 6th spot in front of Wilson Ramos, but is there an opportunity to do the Rendon to Murphy to Harper to Ryan Zimmerman?
Speaking of lead-off, this is what Dusty Baker had to say about his lineup: