The Washington Nationals are just 1.0 game behind the Pirates in the NL standings after the Nats celebrated a Patrick Corbin gem last night and his 10th win this season. That win against the Pirates in the first of this 4-game series leads into the second game tonight.
While Corbin delivered last night, the Nats need to keep this going with Joan Adon on the mound tonight. If he can do what Corbin just did or repeat his performance from Miami, this could change the course for the better for the Nats. With 18 games remaining, and 65 wins on the books, the team needs five more for 70, and eight more to guarantee they won’t lose 90 or more games this year. Five more wins would put the Nats ahead of the 2010 Nats team that opened up spending after that season. This could make Nats’ ownership accountable if they don’t spend big considering the words of Mark Lerner before the season when he said, “We’re all in … Just like we did the last time with Werth [in fre agency], at the right time, we will be back in the free agent market again.” Jayson Werth was signed after the 2010 season when the Nats lost 93 games. Just saying.
Maybe the biggest story last night was the two monster home runs from CJ Abrams that has put him on the doorstep of a 20HR/40+SB if he can tally two more homers this season. While people talk about Corbin Carroll of the Diamondbacks as a superstar with his 20/40 season, he is actually older than Abrams. Per Baseball Reference and a h/t to SteveR, Abrams is now the team leader in WAR at +3.5 and just ahead of Lane Thomas at +3.4. The Nats third best WAR performer is Jeimer Candelario who has not played for the team since his trade nearly 45 days ago. Stone Garrett in just 234 at-bats and lost for the season due to a fractured leg, has the teams sixth highest WAR at +1.9 and would be the highest on the team if extrapolated to the same number of at-bats.
You would think that with all of this WAR the Nats would be in the playoff mix, but the pitching has let the team down overall. Improve the pitching and all of this shows you how close this team is if they could get an ace pitcher to lead this starting staff, and this is where Lerner must step up as an owner.
“[CJ Abrams] is going to be an All-Star. … He’s going to be something else. So he’s done well. He’s swinging the bat really well. He’s been playing really well. … And like I said, man, when he’s leading off for us, he’s been the catalyst..”— manager Dave Martinez said
Here is how they rank:
No. 6 Starter: Joan Adon 5.59 (starter’s ERA only)
No. 5 Starter: Trevor Williams 5.44
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.13
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 4.42
No. 2 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.20
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 4.13
Here is your Baseball Savant link for the game.
Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Stadium: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 6:35 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app