The Washington Nationals and their fans are at the final weekend in this season. On one hand, you want this season to end and move forward to 2024 with the hopes of better times ahead. And then you are thrust back to the realization that Opening Day is 180 days away, and there are multiple question markets. We have an uncertain feeling about not knowing the direction the Nats’ ownership will go this offseason. If they spend on some big player(s) and many facets go right, then the Nats could be a team playing meaningful games in September next year. We all know about the disappointment from the 2015 “Where’s My Ring” season when Ted Lerner gifted the fans a one-of-a-kind in Max Scherzer. There are no vintage Scherzers available — and even the real Scherzer is a fraction of what he once was. But who cares, the Hot Stove is for dreaming.
Spring Training camp is set to open on either February 13 or 14 next year. That is just 138 days away. The 2023 Baseball Winter Meetings will take place Dec. 4-7, in Nashville, Tennessee. That is just 66-days from now.
The Nats face the Braves this weekend, and they are not one of the 18-teams that will be headed for offseason homes by Monday. There are 12-teams that will move forward until there is just one team standing. That is the cruelty of baseball. All of those dreams. Many have already felt the pain of elimination a long time ago. Some more will feel it in the next few days. Three of the biggest spenders, the Mets, Padres, and Yankees are all booking tee times for next week. Their reality will lead to turbulence as each team is expected to have some cost cutting.
What the Nats can do is watch and see what the Braves have done to improve. Since Atlanta has clinched home field advantage throughout the postseason, they are playing to stay healthy and keep their timing. They want their momentum to carry them into the postseason with the same thump they used to put a hurting on the Chicago Cubs in a 3-game sweep this week.
The Nats will send Trevor Williams to the mound on 13-days of rest. His last start against the Brewers only lasted two innings. He will face righty Allan Winans who is getting a spot start. Spencer Strider is pitching tomorrow for the Braves, and Sunday could be a bullpen game.
For the Nats, their immediate goal is winning their 70th game of the season. They did beat the Braves for one win the week before. Intermediate goals are continual improvement for all players on the roster. Each player has been part of exit interviews with custom plans for their offseason. Players are now required to check-in weekly on progress. There feels like an accountability that has been missing from years gone by. Next we will see in Spring Training as to who has improved.
Here is how they rank by starter’s ERA:
No. 7 Starter: Joan Adon 6.54
No. 6 Starter: Jackson Rutledge 6.00
No. 5 Starter: Trevor Williams 5.55
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.20
No. 3 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.61
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 4.42
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 3.91
Here is your Baseball Savant link for the game.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Stadium: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:20 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app