Game #41 Split series is the best the Nats can do at the quarter pole of the season!

There is certainly a lot of Washington Nationals news today. The Nats and Mets are getting set to play the fourth game in this weekend wrap-around Monday game. In the season series, the teams are now 3-3, and the Nats need this win to split this series 2-2 and go up 4-3 in the season series against the Mets. In the top of the third inning of this game, the season will be officially 25 percent complete. Time certainly flies. There were also roster moves today.

As expected, the Nats activated left-handed outfielder Corey Dickerson from the 10-day IL and sent prospect Jake Alu back to Triple-A Rochester. Alu logged 3-games going 1-for-9 and one slick fielding play on his statline. Dickerson was injured in the first week of the season and only played in two partial games after injury his calf muscle.

Another piece of news is that MLB Pipeline moved Nats’ top prospect James Wood to №8 in all of baseball and in their highly coveted Top-10 for all prospects in baseball, and Baseball America named Wood to the top of their daily prospect report with the following notes: “Wood homered and doubled twice to go 3-for-3 on Sunday for High-A Wilmington. He’s now hitting .282/.366/.564. That may sound like he’s having a solid year, but it’s actually much more than that. Wilmington is truly a graveyard for hitters. It’s a place where home runs turn into fly outs, so much so that when they held a home run derby at Wilmington, they had hitters hit from the outfield into the seats behind home plate. Wood is slugging .564 after 31 games this year. That slugging percentage is 149 points higher than anyone else on the Blue Rocks roster. No Wilmington hitter has slugged .500 or better in more than 30 games since 26-year-old Matt Fields did so in 2012. When you consider his home park, the 20-year-old Wood is off to a truly outstanding start to the year.”

Today’s game will be another battle of lefties. The Nats have the much-improved Patrick Corbin on the mound to face inconsistent David Peterson. Corbin’s ERA is nearly 3.00 runs per game better than Peterson.

“I told Corey to get ready to come in off of the bench. We will get him at-bats against right-handed pitching.”

— manager Dave Martinez on Corey Dickerson

The Nats starters ERAs are a combined 4.44, and the Nats suffered through their first blow-up start in over two weeks. Jake Irvin had 4.0 scoreless innings going before he hit the wall to start the fifth inning and his manager, Dave Martinez, left in the game presumably to figure it out. He just had nothing left in the tank and incredibly threw 38 pitches in that fifth inning.

Pitchers struggle. It happens, but the call-up in his third career start had to eat 6 earnies and watch his season numbers just crumble. How will Irvin do over the weekend against Detroit in his next start? We will see if his confidence is affected.

Irvin was looking great until that blow-up fifth inning. There was no rescuing him as his manager sent in the struggling Mason Thompson to inherit the bases loaded and all 3 runners scored with 2 outs on Irvin’s record. Thompson allowed all three inherited runners to score and the game went out of reach. To be honest and as commented at the time, Irvin just lost his feel for the baseball but if the game was kept at 3-runs, there would have been a chance. You can’t change the past, and it is another indictment that Martinez once again didn’t have a feel for the game and situation.

While Irvin was looking great on the stats before his fifth inning yesterday, you can remember in Spring Training that his limited repertoire was a problem. But he really did a good job of using his improved changeup in his three starts as well as throwing a sinker and a 4-seamer to go with his very good curveball. Some might say the Mets had his number in the third time through the order, but it really seemed like Irvin hit the wall and had no feel for his pitches. Fatigue can hit at different times even though his pitch count was low to start that fifth inning with 62 pitches — but had to throw 38 in that fifth inning. Honestly, you just hope Irvin’s pitching arm is okay after that. He faced eight batters in that inning, and probably could have been pulled after the first three batters who all got on-base.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.11 ERA
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 4.87
No. 3 Starter: Trevor Williams 4.23
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.29
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 2.96

Here is your Baseball Savant Statcast link for the game.

New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals

Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:05 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

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