The Nationals have not been in a 3-game losing streak since the end of May before the team got red-hot. The combination of bad pitching and “cold” bats has been rearing its ugly heads again. With Joe Ross technically in yesterday’s game as a reliever, the Nationals lost their last three games in the bullpen, but most of the poor pitching seemed highly predictable due to pitching on exhaustion (Fernando Rodney), levels of not doing their job (Tony Sipp and Kyle Barraclough) and a pitcher who is lost (Ross). But the lack of hitting also needs to be exposed, and it is three of the Nats best players: Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Howie Kendrick. In the last two weeks, Soto is batting .186 (8-43), Robles .178 (8-45), and Kendrick .042 (1-24). The good news is that the Nationals are in a three-way tie for the Wild Card with the Cubs and the Brewers. The other good news is that Stephen Strasburg is starting this afternoon for the Nationals.
This is the current state of the Washington Nationals, and you can expect some line-up changes and the full availability of the “A” bullpen. The Dodgers have the right-handed Walker Buehler on the mound today. He has a 3.68 ERA on the road with a .240 BAA. Righties hit Buehler better overall but lefties have had better power numbers against him.
For Mike Rizzo, it is decision time for trades, but also what the team does with the 5th starter spot as well as the health of Max Scherzer. The Nats could send Joe Ross down for another bench player or delay the inevitable. We wrote an article back on July 1st what we thought the Nats needed: bullpen arm(s), 5th starter, utility infielder who bats left-handed. So far, nothing and if Rizzo made these moves two weeks ago it might have resulted in several more wins. Just saying, but yes, easier said than done.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN, Sportsnet LA, TBS (out-of-market), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):