Game #23 Nationals move up the Cali coast to San Fran

The Nationals begin a 3-game series in San Francisco to complete this road trip. With Gio Gonzalez on the mound, he gets to play the role of stopper and get the Nats back to winning ways. The Nationals will face a right-handed pitcher in Chris Stratton after a steady diet of lefties over the weekend in Los Angeles.

Expect a few Dusty Baker references in this series because Dusty is back with the Giants in an advisory role. Baker had been estranged from the Giants for 16 years after Baker’s Giants blew a Game 6 in the World Series and ultimately lost and Dusty was fired in something that has never happened where a manager was fired after taking his team to within a game of winning it all.

Because of current Nationals manager’s Dave Martinez‘s struggles with handling his bullpen and the inexplicable over-use of Ryan Madson, there were immediate comparisons to Dusty Baker‘s handling of Jonathan Papelbon pitching 3 consecutive days in July of 2016 as well as other usage issues like Trevor Gott last year and other mishandling depending on your point-of-view.

The big difference is on the won/loss records. Under Martinez, the Nationals have spent several days below .500 while Dusty Baker‘s Nationals teams were never below .500 in the regular season — only in the post-season. The lesson to be learned here is that you will never get to the post-season at the pace the Nationals are currently at which is why frustration is growing in NatsTown.

Another bit of drama looms in the shadows of the Giants bullpen where Hunter Strickland could be summoned into the game and enter to face Bryce Harper. The last time they faced each other a brawl ensued.

There is much work to be done. Dave Martinez has to get this team going and that has been challenging given the numerous injuries on this team. The Nationals have several key players on the disabled list including Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton, and Brian Goodwin for the position players. Add to that, there are several injured pitchers like Joaquin Benoit, Koda Glover, Matt Grace, Joe Ross, and we now have some concern that Ryan Madson who had not pitched in four days was not available yesterday.

These late night games for those to the east will be a tough one to follow live based on the time difference.

In some expected good news down on the farm, the Nationals have promoted 19-year-old Juan Soto from Low-A Hagerstown to High-A Potomac. Soto has been obliterating the baseball with 5 home runs in just 59 at-bats while slashing .373/.486/.814/1.300. Those stats would be great in a competitive softball league which did not go unnoticed by the Nationals or the talent evaluators where Craig Mish told us during Spring Training that he thought Soto would be a Top-15 prospect in mid-season reports.

Here are the outfield prospect rankings and expect Ohtani (yes, not really an OF) and Brinson to come off of the prospects list based on their MLB service time:

1. Ronald Acuna, Braves 2. Eloy Jimenez, White Sox 3. Victor Robles, Nationals 4. Shohei Ohtani, Angels 5. Kyle Tucker, Astros 6. Austin Hays, Orioles 7. Lewis Brinson, Brewers 8. Luis Robert, White Sox 9. Juan Soto, Nationals 10. Alex Verdugo, Dodgers

Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants
Stadium: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
1st Pitch:  10:15 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Howie Kendrick 2B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  5. Matt Adams LF
  6. Matt Wieters C
  7. Michael Taylor CF
  8. Wilmer Difo 3B
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

Photo by LouAnn Solis Greene for TalkNats

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