Game #68 Another four-game series for the Nats!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

One of the bright spots for the Nationals has certainly been Erick Fedde who joined the Nationals rotation on May 21st and has pitched well at Nationals Park with a 0.00 ERA. He will face the Diamondbacks today to start a four-game series. This is a Diamondbacks team that looks much different without A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt, but they have shown that they can play good baseball without them. The Diamondbacks have received a good year from the 35-year-old righty Zack Greinke who starts for them tonight. 

The book on Greinke is always interesting as you dig into the stats. He pitches better in his home park than on the road (3.21) ERA, and he has some large reverse splits. Lefties are only hitting him at .181 while the righties are at 2.43. The good news is that Gerardo Parra has a long history against Greinke and hits him at .314 in 35 at-bats, and Kurt Suzuki is 2-5 (.400) with a home run against him. A few of the Nats starters have never faced Greinke which includes the youngsters Juan Soto and Victor Robles.

Today will also be a wait and see with the condition of Matt Adams who tweaked his oblique, and the team has to decide what they will do with him based on how he feels today. The team could play with a three-man bench in an American League stadium, but you do not want to play that short in a National League stadium.  The Nats have been playing this season with a four-man bench in favor of an eight-man bullpen like some teams do. Speaking of first baseman Matt Adams, where is the other first baseman  Ryan Zimmerman these days? It turns out he was golfing with Trea Turner at TopGolf according to Turner’s Twitter account.  TopGolf has an event coming up at Nationals Park known as TopGolf Crush! The event is August 22nd to August 25th and open this morning to presale for season ticket holders and then the general public on Friday.

Speaking of Turner, general manager Mike Rizzo was on his radio show this week on 106.7 The Fan and spoke about what Turner has meant to this team.

“[Trea Turner] has been as important to the lineup as any player we have — pitcher or player. He plays the most demanding position on the field,” Rizzo said. “He’s the captain of the infield … and is one of our offensive catalysts.”

“He won’t say it — he won’t use it as an excuse, but this guy played with that finger that was fully healed, but he was probably not 100 percent swinging the bat. You could tell he would have his finger off the bat quite a bit and launched a few bats into the screen and that type of thing and gutting it through.”

Keep in mind, that Turner only had a few swings in two days in the  minor league before returning, and his first 50 at-bats were really about getting his timing back. During those first 50 at-bats, Turner took one for the team and saw his OPS plummet to .696 and today he enters the game at .858.

“I think he is starting to round into shape and after missing so many games it takes time to get your rhythm at the plate and in the field,” Rizzo continued. “I think you are seeing a guy that’s finally confident enough in that finger that he can go and play his game. When he’s on and healthy, he’s dynamic as any player in the big leagues.”

Additionally, Rizzo spoke about Howie Kendrick who has been one of the stars of this 2019 team batting .325 with a .961 OPS and also worthy of making the All-Star game roster. One impediment to voting for Howie is that he is not part of the ballot and would need to be a write-in candidate.

“When you strip everything away, this is an All-Star player for us,” Rizzo said of Kendrick. “He should be joining those guys in Cleveland at the All-Star game. He’s literally carried this club offensively … when we have had [our] two, three, four, five, and six-hole hitters out of the line-up at the same time, this guy carried us and performed admirably for us.”

Along with Kendrick, there is also Anthony Rendon who is the most underrated player in baseball. The six-year player still is not widely known to casual baseball fans and is fifth in All-Star voting in the NL while he ranks number one in Fangraphs WAR for all infielders in the entire Major Leagues! Get out the vote!


Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals
Stadium:   Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch:  7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2,  FOX Sports – Arizona, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

Turner SS
Eaton RF
Rendon 3B
Soto LF
Suzuki C
Parra 1B
Dozier 2B
Robles CF
Fedde RHP

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