With the earlier start to the 2018 season in March, the All-Star break is hardly the halfway point of the season. In fact, the season is 60% over after today’s game with 40% remaining in the 162 game regular season and the best the Nationals can hope for is to finish at .500 today with a 48-and-48 record. If the Washington Nationals can win today, they need to go 42-and-24 in the final 66-games to finish with 90-wins. That would require a 63.6% winning percentage. It is possible if this team somehow finds itself at it’s core which is starting pitching and goes on a long winning streak.
The starting pitching has been horrendous in June and July sans Max Scherzer and Jeremy Hellickson and the injured Stephen Strasburg. That points the finger directly at Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark along with the replacement pitchers. A near 7.00 ERA won’t cut it. It just won’t even if your offense is cranking.
Even if Stephen Strasburg returns on Friday and pitches like he did in the second half last year, the Nationals will still need Roark and Gio to pitch like aces. Even if starting pitching can find their May 2018 form (2.26 ERA), the offense and most particularly, Bryce Harper, has to carry this offense.
This team goes as Bryce Harper and the starting pitching goes. That might be a simplistic look at things back to the first few days of the season. Harper has not carried the team like you would expect your highest paid position player to do. That is why it takes a team.
Win today and then fast forward to Friday. The Nationals face a guy named Oswalt today. This is not Roy Oswalt. This is Corey Oswalt. Supposedly they are not related according to Adam Rubin who is a Mets beat writer. The right-handed Oswalt debuted in April and has been a spot starter for the Mets. Oswalt so far has pitched to a 6.75 ERA.
Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets
Stadium: CitiField, Queens, NY
1st Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB.TV app out-of-network
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: