Credit to the Washington Nationals after losing a heartbreaker on Saturday, the Nats got immediate payback on Sunday and got right back in the win column for a happy flight to San Francisco last night. The Nats and Giants face-off for a three-game series that wraps up in an afternoon game on Wednesday. Four bats got hot in Arizona with Lane Thomas, Luis Garcia, Keibert Ruiz, and Joey Meneses hoping to carry momentum into this series. A day of rest on Saturday proved well for CJ Abrams who finished up nicely in Arizona to join the hit parade.
Sure, everything is about consistency, and with Victor Robles getting moved to the 10-day IL with a back ailment, the team is losing its most consistent bat. Yes, Robles. He has the highest batting average and OPS of all the regulars. Maybe that is more of a reflection on how the power hitters are lacking power on this squad. For the previous two years, it was pitching coach Jim Hickey on the hot seat, and now it is hitting coach, Darnell Coles, to feel the heat in this power drain. Sure, things got much better in Arizona for two days, but two days does not make a season. There needs to be much more improvement.
Taking Robles’ place on the roster is Jake Alu as announced last night by manager Dave Martinez. Will he play Alu? That is the question for now. We have seen injury replacements like Jeter Downs and Donovan Casey in the past year just ride the bench. But the hope is we see Alu in there against one of the righties tonight or tomorrow. The matchups could be tough given the Nats face the Giants’ two-best tonight and tomorrow against Anthony DeSclafani and Logan Webb.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will be a tough one as rookie Jake Irvin will make his second MLB start, and on the other side against DeSclafani who has started off his season with good numbers. Irvin had his first MLB side-session in the bullpen as well as charting pitches, and sponging off of the veterans on the team. You hope he makes some positive adjustments and builds on that first positive start of his against the Cubs.
The Nats starters ERAs are a combined 4.64, and the thinner air in Arizona inflated the ERAs a little bit. For the first time in over a week, the ordering changed as Trevor Williams dropped to the three spot in ERA.
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: Trevor Williams 4.25
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.65
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 3.03
The pitching is still looking good, and in the thinner air in Arizona the offense tried to carry the team on Saturday and Sunday after facing some really tough pitching on Friday night against the Diamondbacks.
Here is your Baseball Savant Statcast link for the game.
Washington National vs. San Francisco Giants
Stadium: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
1st Pitch: 9:45 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app
Line-up subject to change (without notice):