Series preview: Nationals vs Diamondbacks

The Nationals will host the Diamondbacks for a three-game set as Washington prepares for their second and final series against Arizona this season. The Nationals need a good series, as they’ve only gone 4-6 in their last 10-games. The offense has been hot lately, led by catcher Keibert Ruiz, who has three homers in his previous four games and recorded 15 RBIs last month. Ruiz has posted a .686 OPS this season and a .232 average. Washington has scored 23 runs in their four games, but their pitching could have been better, and frankly the bullpen has been a mess. It was so bad that after Sunday’s game, Andres Machado was seen packing his bags, and TalkNats broke the news that the team would call-up RHP Jordan Weems from Triple-A. This afternoon, the Nats made all of that official. The 40-man roster now stands at 39-players, and many believe that spot will be held for Sean Doolittle who is now on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg.

Machado had been part of the struggling “B” bullpen this season. He had been with the Nationals for the past three seasons, appearing in 105 games and completing 112 innings while posting a 3.41 ERA. In 51 games last season, Macado registered a 1.365 WHIP and 3.34 ERA through 59.1 innings. However, he had a -0.4 RAA and recorded a 4.85 RA9. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old’s performance had significantly dropped off this season.

In 2023, Machado posted an 8.47 ERA through 14 appearances, and as we saw it was worse than just the ERA. He was letting inherited runners to score too which of course goes on another pitcher’s ERA. His advanced metrics also rapidly declined as he had a -0.6 WAR. Hitters have been able to piece up against the right-hander, as he allowed 16 runs on 25 hits, six walks, and six home runs. However, he only tailed a 15.4% strikeout rate. Should the pitcher should have been released earlier based on those stats?

The Nationals are second-to-last in the MLB with -2.61WPA and are third-to-last with a -1.95 REW. Looking at advanced statistics, the National’s bullpen is at the bottom of the league in several categories. Washington will have a week to trade Andres Machado or put him through waivers since the righty was outrighted earlier in the offseason.

Transitioning back to the Arizona series, the Diamondbacks have had a great year thus far and could remain an elite team if they keep winning. Today they are tied for first place in the NL West with the Dodgers. They were riding on a six-game win straight before falling to the Braves over the weekend. Leading the Dbacks have been their consistent offense and quality pitching, which has helped them win their last seven of ten games on the road. Tommy Henry will get the start for Arizona in the series opener on Tuesday night. Henry has posted a 3.73 ERA through six starts. The 25-year-old has gone 1-3 in seven outings this season.

The Nationals sit at the bottom of the N.L. East with a 25-34 record and for a brief period over the weekend the Nats were actually in 4th place. So here they are heading into this Diamondbacks series. The Nationals will fly to Atlanta on Thursday night to face the Braves for the weekend before they embark to Houston to play the Houston Astros. It’s going to be a tough stretch for a rebuilding Nationals team.

Tale of the Tape

Divisional Standings5th1st
All-Time matchup record71-9696-71
Team Average.265 (4).259 (7)
Runs253 (23)297 (5)
Hits534 (8)526 (10)
Home Runs46 (29)68 (14)
K%18.5% (1)20.3% (5)
OBP.329 (9).324 (13)
ERA4.59 (24)4.32 (19)
WHIP1.46 (28)1.34 (23)
Run Differential-37 (25)+19 (10)
Errors19 (T-8)9 (29)

Quick Hits

The Nationals and Diamondbacks have played already this year, with the Dbacks coming away with two wins in the last three-game set.

Eight of the last nine Nationals’ losses have been by more than one run, but they have seemed to be in most games by the starters.

Jake Irvin has posted an 8.82 ERA across his last four starts.

The Nationals have dropped four of their previous six at home and have lost the last four-straight games where Jake Irvin started.

Irvins’ last four starts have all been parts of high-scoring games with at least 10 combined runs scored in each game.

The Nationals are 2.5 games behind the Phillies and 4.5 behind the Mets.

Projected starting lineupABBAHHRRBIOPSWAR
RF Pavin Smith126.20626522.689-0.2
2B Ketel Marte219.27460925.8161.8
LF Corbin Carroll199.286571025.8952.2
1B Christian Walker209.254531236.8011.1
1B Emmanuel Rivera86.33729111.8130.4
3B Josh Rojas162.24139023.6230.4
CF Jake McCarthy91.1871715.5310.2
SS Geraldo Perdomo136.27938526.8501.9
C Gabriel Moreno 149.28242221.6881.3

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tues 6/6 – Jake Irvin (1-3) 5.67 ERA vs. Tommy Henry (3-1) 3.73 ERA

WED 5/6 – Patrick Corbin (4-5) 4.92 ERA vs. Zach Davies (0-1) 5.40 ERA

Thurs 5/7 – Josiah Gray (4-5) 3.09 ERA vs. Merrill Kelly (7-3) 2.80 ERA

Betting Nuggets

Favorite: Diamondbacks (-155)

Underdog: Nationals (+125)

Over/Under: 10

Broadcast Information

Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Diamondbacks on MASN. Furthermore, Friday night’s contest will be nationally televised on MLB Network. 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.

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