Game #52 on this Memorial Day

The Washington Nationals had one of those scrappy comebacks with a 4-run 7th inning on Sunday that looked like the Nats 5-4 lead would hold up going in the 8th inning. While Hunter Harvey was unavailable due to his workload, Derek Law had been warming up. But instead, manager Dave Martinez went with Dylan Floro who was collared with the blown-save-loss after giving up two runs.

It isn’t that Floro pitched horribly giving up 2-runs on three hits — he threw two middle-middle sinkers that weren’t located, and they were smashed, and he induced no swing & miss pitches. Floro just wasn’t as sharp as we had seen him. The move seemed risky since the team’s hottest reliever had just pitched two days in a row. Entering Sunday’s game, he was at 21 innings of scoreless relief which was the longest by a reliever in a single season in Nationals history per EliasSports.

The third game in a row for a reliever has a long history of failure in Nats history while also causing injury. Just look at April 14 when Jordan Weems was part of the “A” bullpen and was brought in for his third game in a row and blew the game that ended up in a loss. Weems before that had a 1.50 ERA and batters were only hitting him at .191. Since that point, Weems is the second worst reliever on the team with an 8.03 ERA and a .280 batting average against.

So why does manager Dave Martinez keep going three-in-a-row with relievers?

“We talked to Floro, and he said he was good to go today so we decided to go with him.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after the game

The Nationals start their 17th series of the season, and the first time they are facing the Atlanta Braves this season. The Nats are in their fourth game of 17 consecutive games. This is the longest grind of the season, and all of this comes against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today except for the 3-games against the Mets. It seems like the Nats have been facing all winning teams for a while except for the White Sox in mid-May.

Both the Nats and Braves are expected to make roster shuffles before today’s game. Atlanta placed Ronald Acuna Jr. on the 10-day IL with a torn ACL in his left knee, and activated Austin Riley from the 10-day IL over the weekend. Today they activated catcher  Sean Murphy and J.P. Martinez and DFA’d Joey Wendle. On the Nats side, activated Lane Thomas from the 10-day IL from his MCL strain, and DFA’d Victor Robles, one of three remaining players on the roster from the 2019 World Series roster.

The Braves will be favorites for each of these games in the series, and these four games will have the Nats four best pitchers. Here is a betting link to give you the odds.

The one-third completion mark in the season will happen after the 54th game which is set for this series with the Braves. This will give you a good indication on some of the players with a large sample size. The Nats will fly to Cleveland after this 4-game series.

Here’s what we think the starting rotation could look like going forward:

  1. Monday: Mitchell Parker vs. Atlanta
  2. Tuesday: Jake Irvin vs. Atlanta
  3. Wednesday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Atlanta
  4. Thursday: Trevor Williams vs. Atlanta
  5. Friday: Patrick Corbin vs. Cleveland
  6. Saturday June 1: Parker vs. Cleveland
  7. Sunday: Irvin vs. Cleveland
  8. Monday: Gore vs. Mets
  9. Tuesday: Williams vs. Mets
  10. Wednesday: Corbin vs. Mets
  11. Thursday: Parker vs. Braves
  12. Friday: Irvin vs. Braves
  13. Saturday: Gore vs. Braves
  14. Sunday: Williams vs. Braves
  15. Monday: Day-off June 10

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has Trevor Williams at +1.5 WAR followed by MacKenzie Gore at +1.2. Jake Irvin and CJ Abrams at +1.0 and and Luis Garcia Jr. at +0.9 and Jacob Young at +0.8. In total, 20 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another four at a neutral 0.0 WAR. The issue at the moment is about the four players at the extreme bottom in negative numbers that includes Lane Thomas.

“We’re going to scratch and claw to try to score some runs. … I loved these last three games. We played really well.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.10 and 16th in MLB. The Nats are now 9 points from 15th best in baseball.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 6.12
No. 4 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.79
No. 3 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.32
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.04
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.29

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves

Stadium: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 4:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app; In Spanish on DC 87.7 FM and La Pantera 100.7 FM/1220 AM. On Sirius/XM, the Nats will be online only, and the opposing team on Channel 177.

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

TalkNats is Celebrating the 5 and 100 year anniversaries of World Series Wins by providing Game-by-Game Summaries.

Game 52:
The Nationals won on 05/25 at home against the Marlins resulting in a record of 21-31. But you knew this already. On this day, it was a Patrick Corbin complete game shutout. Box Score / Standings
The Senators won on 06/18 on the road against the Chicago White Sox resulting in a record of 26-26.  Box Score / Standings

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