The Washington Nationals had just lost Stone Garrett to a broken leg at Yankee Stadium at the end of August. A blow to a team that was on a run. The team was just over a 76-win pace on August 27. A sustained winning streak would get the Nats to a winning season. That winning streak never came for the rest of the season. The most the Nats would win the rest of the way was just two consecutive wins against the White Sox. It has been a spiral down since that point. Sure, the team had two walk-off wins at the beginning of September — but mostly the team lost ground as the starting rotation and the clutch hitting just could not find that magic of August. The Scrappy Nats showed up last night at a special time to smash five home runs and put their 70th win in the books. A +15 improvement from last year. And of course there are still two games to go in the season.
With this 70th win, there has to be more optimism for next year. There are teams to look at for optimism. If you go by the Reds with their 62 wins last year, the Marlins with 69 wins last year, the Diamondbacks with 74 wins last year, and the Cubs with 74 wins last year — each team this year has at least 82-wins — and their seasons are not over. Two will make the postseason and two will not. Can the Nationals improve enough to get to replicate what those teams did?
While a source told us that manager Dave Martinez wanted to finish the season with at least 73-wins, a number that would have avoided a 90+ loss season, that is an impossibility at this point. But the team could get to 72-wins if the Nats could sweep this series.
The Nats will send Joan Adon to the mound today to face Spencer Strider who probably will not go deep in this game. The Nats bullpen used every reliever except for Tanner Rainey and Cory Abbott last night.
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