Game #34 Nats are closer to being really good than we thought!

This Washington Nationals team just seems to get in their own way this year. Late inning heroics from the April 27 grand slam by CJ Abrams to the Lane Thomas two-run bomb last night went for naught in the win column. Who thought this team with a starting staff as it is configured now would have a 3.78 ERA? In total if you add back Chad Kuhl they have a 4.50 ERA for 16th best in MLB. The issue is this team is the 4th worst in scoring runs as an offense at the same time that they have the 14th best batting average. The culprit is being the 2nd worst in power numbers. The team still lacks the balance to be a postseason team.

The bullpen, seen as a strength of team just two weeks ago, has become a weakness. Use and usage are a problem. You could see it unfolding, and we have written about it and tweeted about it extensively. When you press so hard on 37.5 percent of your bullpen while not doing what most teams do by spreading the workload over 75 percent, you can implode quickly. We saw that last night at the worst times. Mason Thompson and Kyle Finnegan recorded one out each via sacrifice bunts and that was it, leading to a tough loss. Neither had anything and Thompson gave up three runs and Finnegan two runs for the blown save and loss. Don’t blame either. They had nothing to give, and should not have been in there.

“I can’t say enough about what our team did, behind like that and coming back. It shows a lot of fight. It shows a lot of the character of our ball club, and you’ve got a team over there that’s fighting back. Look, we made it a battle. At the end, we couldn’t hold the lead.”

“Look, we were down (four) runs going into the ninth. We come back and put up a five-spot. That’s awesome. I already went out there and told them: ‘Keep your heads up. You showed a lot of character. You showed a lot of heart. Keep playing with that energy. We’ll get on top of these games.'”

— manager Dave Martinez

The Nats starters ERAs are a combined 4.50, and they are looking great. But baseball is all about balance. You need the offense and bullpen doing their jobs too.

Here is how they rank:

No. 6 Starter: Jake Irvin 2.08 ERA
No. 5 Starter: Chad Kuhl 9.41
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.17
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.65
No. 2 Starter: Trevor Williams 3.41
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 3.03

The pitching is still looking good, but the offense needs players to carry this team. It certainly looks like it is nearing time to make some roster moves. Oh and by the way, Joey Meneses has three minor league options remaining per Roster Resource, and Dom Smith has the lowest OPS of the starters. That is last of the league power production from the 1B/DH combo.

Here is your Baseball Savant Statcast link for the game.

Washington National vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Stadium: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
1st Pitch: 4:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

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