The Washington Nationals knew they were not going to be a contender this year short of a miracle. With a 15-game win improvement over last year, there are reasons for optimism — even in a season where the Nats will finish again in last place in the NL East but nowhere close to the bottom in baseball. General Manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged the lack of team power as an issue before yesterday’s game, but team pitching clearly has to improve too. A starter’s ERA right at 5.00 combined before today’s game is a big problem for the squad and a reliever worst K/9 in the MLB are also issues. Rizzo again made it clear that they will be evaluating the coaching staff who are all on expiring contracts.
With 70-wins already in the books, 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?
The ongoing question is what will the Nats do over the offseason to improve. They can kind of do what the Diamondbacks and Reds did and have top prospects fill the holes. The Diamondbacks already had two very good starting pitchers atop of their rotation. The Nats do not have an ace.
The Nats will get a look at Jackson Rutledge to finish this season. That will be a meaningful look at what could be a competition for the fifth starter’s spot in the rotation.
Here is how they rank by starter’s ERA:
No. 7 Starter: Joan Adon 6.56
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: 3:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app