This four-game series has shocked Atlanta and many Nats fans who wrote the season off as the team from Washington is up by two games to one in this series. If the Nats win today, they will only have notched their third series win of the season with the others against the Orioles in Baltimore and the two-game “road” series against the Blue Jays in Washington, D.C.
While the Nats are at 10-games under .500 with just 22-games remaining in the regular season, it is a reminder of the ebbs and flows of “what is possible” in a season. It is highly unlikely that the Washington Nationals can climb back into the postseason picture or as some would say “highly improbable” as we saw last year, but these odds are steeper than last year because they would have to leapfrog six teams with only twenty-two games remaining. The Nats odds of making the playoffs is at 3.1% according to FanGraphs. Can the Nats go 17-5 to finish the season? Doubtful.
Just as some of us had resigned ourselves to dreaming of a number one draft position for Kumar Rocker, the Nats won back-to-back games since August 11th. While that seems odd, that is a fact.
Another fact is that if you remove Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin from the equation, the other starters combined are averaging just 4.12 innings per start in this truncated 2020 season. Most of that is from Anibal Sanchez, Austin Voth, spot starters in the doubleheaders, and Erick Fedde continued his trend last night as he was hooked at 3 2/3 innings.
The result to the short starts is manager Dave Martinez has leaned hard on his “A” bullpen and Wander Suero has thrown 47 pitches over the last three days, and Daniel Hudson has thrown 44 high octane pitches and even though he didn’t enter last nights game he was warmed up to enter the game up until the point the Nats blew the game open. You would hope Huddy gets the day-off today along with Suero, and Kyle McGowin who saved the bullpen and the team yesterday with his fantastic 2 1/3 innings of no-hit pitching.
McGowin was just added to the roster minutes before Wednesday’s game when the Nats placed RHP Javy Guerra on the 10-day Injured List with a left hamstring strain. He came out firing last night with a heavy mix of sliders. In fact, McGowin entered in Hi Lev in the 4th inning and got Marcell Ozuna to strikeout after he threw him five sliders and nothing else. The first two were in the dirt then he got Ozuna on three under the zone which included him flailing at strike three.
“We needed that,” Martinez said. “Honestly, I didn’t want to use a lot of guys in our bullpen.”
For this game, the Nats are going with Patrick Corbin who the Nats hope can go deep into this game. He will face Josh Tomlin after the Braves moved him from Friday’s start to today.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Stadium: Truist Bank, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):