Game #27 “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” — Vince Lombardi

Winning isn’t supposed to be “at all costs” this early in the season but there has to be an urgency at this point in time. It was all smiles then when Dave Martinez was introduced as the new manager of the Washington Nationals in November. Now you have a record to your name Davey. Did you think we would go easy on you? We don’t go easy on anyone because we call ’em as we see ’em, and it usually goes against the popular opinion as fans have their favorites.

Just like yesterday we gave our pre-game opinion that seemed prescient. Why was there a need to play Ryan Zimmerman yesterday based on the current trends and the match-up data? Sure, sample sizes were small, but better to base a decision on analytics than go with the status quo. By doing that, they pushed Matt Adams into left field and had Andrew Stevenson shaded that direction most of the night. That is called compounding the problem. Whether or not Rafael Bautista could have caught every ball in left field instead of Matt Adams is immaterial. What was material is the question as to whether Stephen Strasburg changed up his game plan to limit the amount of offense that could go to left field. Strasburg was “off” yesterday. Maybe it was the overuse from his previous start or maybe it was strategy that backfired. Strasburg took full responsibility for his poor outing. One thing you can appreciate about Strasburg is that he cares.

“As long as we fight til the end,” Stephen Strasburg said. “If we do that, then whatever. I gave it everything I had today, and it wasn’t good enough. I’ll live with that, and it’s a new day tomorrow. If we can get 25 guys to do that, that’s going to be huge.”

Only Stras knows the deeper meaning behind his comments last night. Was he insinuating there was no fight to the end? Was he saying that some of the 25 guys are not giving it everything? It sure seems that way.

Today the Nationals will turn to Jeremy Hellickson who will have to pitch at the top of his game as he will be facing lefty Patrick Corbin who has started 2018 as one of the breakout pitchers. Actually Corbin was a top pitcher until he injured his arm in 2014 tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and had surgery and went through a lengthy rehab and a tough road back. Corbin had poor 2016 and 2017 seasons and entered 2018 on the bubble. So far, so good for Corbin except on the road. Corbin has been almost unhittable in Arizona where batters are averaging just .117 off of him but on the road they are batting .250. At home, his ERA has been 1.29 and in his one road start was 5.06.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch:  4:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market; Fox Sports (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. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Howie Kendrick 2B
  5. Michael Taylor CF
  6. Moises Sierra LF
  7. Adrian Sanchez 3B
  8. Pedro Severino C
  9. Jeremy Hellickson RHP
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