The Washington Nationals are set to play an unfamiliar opponent as they prepare to face-off with the Kansas City Royals for three games. Washington last visited Kaufman Stadium seven years ago, as these teams barely play.
It was another gut-wrenching series in Washington this past week when the Nats hosted the Padres for three contests. Washington split the first two games before the final game of the series. The Nats were down early in the series finale but mounted an epic comeback and eventually earned the lead late in the game. However, Hunter Harvey gave up a ninth inning three-run homer run resulting in a blown-save, and enough for the Padres to come away with the win.
It’s interesting as both the Royals and Nationals have won a championship in the last eight years. The Royals won it all in 2015, but the team mostly disbanded in the following two seasons. On the other hand, as we all know, the Nationals won in 2019, and are now in a rebuild. The Royals are in a lengthy rebuild.
While I know that not everyone will agree, but the fact that the Nationals can’t close-out tight games is a sign that the Nationals aren’t a strong enough team. Don’t get me wrong; the Nationals have exceeded expectations this season, so far. All of us want this young squad to succeed, but the simple fact is they do not look like a playoff contender this year, unless something miraculous happens and they can stop this string of blown saves.
Moving on to Kansas City, the Nationals could and should sweep the Royals this weekend as the better team. Will they, is the only question? The Royals have only tallied 15 wins this season and have a lackluster starting rotation. The Royals are pitching Jordan Lyles for the series opener on Friday night, who hasn’t earned a win this season. Lyles has posted the highest ERA among all major league starting pitchers and has allowed 14 home runs this season which is tied for most in the league. The Nationals recently faced the right-handed Lyle last season when he was with the Orioles and the Nationals earned the win against him.
Meanwhile, Patrick Corbin gets the nod for the Nationals to start game 1. It’s wild to believe, but Corbin is tied for fifth in the National League with six quality starts this season and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since mid-April. Corbin is going for his third straight win, which the lefty has not done since May of 2021.
The Nationals sit at the bottom of the N.L. East with a 21-29 record, and have 10 blown saves. After a great start to May, the Nationals are tied for last in the National League and are 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot. The National’s three-game set with the Royals is a crucial series, as the Nats head to Los Angles to play the Dodgers next. With the parity in the NL this year so far, the Nats could jump up the standings if they could just put together a long winning streak.
Tale of the Tape
|All-Time matchup record||13-5||5-13|
|Team Average||.265 (4)||.229 (27)|
|Runs||208 (23)||198 (26)|
|Hits||451 (5)||390 (23)|
|Home Runs||36 (29)||49 (T-22)|
|K%||19.0% (1)||24.2% (25)|
|OBP||.325 (12)||.292 (30)|
|ERA||4.45 (21)||5.15 (29)|
|WHIP||1.43 (25)||1.44 (26)|
|Run Differential||-24 (21)||-73 (29)|
|Errors||32 (T-4)||16 (T-24)|
Scouting the Lineup
|Projected starting lineup||AB||BA||H||HR||RBI||OPS||WAR|
|LF Nick Pratto||89||.292||26||2||13||.815||-0.2|
|C Salvador Perez||175||.280||49||11||28||.852||0.9|
|1B Vinnie Pasquantino||187||.262||49||9||24||.829||0.5|
|SS Bobby Witt Jr.||207||.227||47||7||20||.666||0.1|
|RF MJ Melendez||169||.207||35||4||21||.633||-1.0|
|DH Edward Olivares||135||.237||32||3||10||.689||-0.2|
|2B Michael Massey||135||.215||29||3||14||.575||-0.4|
|3B Maikel Garcia||68||.279||19||0||9||.714||0.6|
|CF Jackie Bradley Jr.||95||.147||14||1||6||.437||0.1|
Probable Pitching Matchups
Fri 5/26 – Patrick Corbin (3-5) 4.47 ERA vs. Jordan Lyles (0-8) 7.15 ERA
Game start – 8:10 p.m.
Sat 5/27 – Josiah Gray (4-5) 2.65 ERA vs. Brady Singer (3-4) 7.48 ERA
Game start – 4:10 p.m.
Sun 5/28 – MacKenzie Gore (3-3) 3.88 ERA vs. TBD
Game start – 2:10 p.m.
Favorite: Royals (-127)
Underdog: Nationals (+108)
Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Nationals on MASN2. Bob Carpenter will handle play-by-play duties, with Kevin Frandsen as the color analyst. Dan Kolko will report from the field. MASN’s television territory covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Charlotte, N.C., including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Local Radio:106.7 is the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. Find all listings here. Play-by-play broadcasters Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes will call the action. All games will be available to listen to on the radio.