Game #75 Nats are in Colorado

The Washington Nationals flew out of Dulles Airport after 8 pm last night and landed in Denver just before midnight in the east. The team now has to get used to the altitude, and the hope is that tonight’s pitcher, DJ Herz, got into Colorado on an earlier flight to go for a jog and get acclimated to the thin air. Of course Herz is trying to replicate what he did last week in his gem. As they say in altitude, fastballs and changeups work the best, and that could help Herz. Sliders don’t always slide the same, and Herz is using it sparingly.

Manager Dave Martinez got 4.0 innings from his bullpen yesterday with Robert Garcia and Dylan Floro throwing perfect frames with 2 Ks each. Both Hunter Harvey and Kyle Finnegan got the night off after they averaged 13.5 pitches between the two of them on Wednesday. Jacob Barnes has been picking up a lot of innings to give Derek Law some time off.

Shortly before game-time on Wednesday, CJ Abrams was scratched with his wrist hurting. The team ordered an MRI to see what is going on with his wrist, and it was actually a ganglion cyst. A source tells us that Abrams is feeling much better and is hoping to play tonight. We turned to hand/wrist specialist, Dr. Noah M. Raizman, MD, MFA from the Office of Orthopaedic Medicine and Surgery a division of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, and we asked him about Abrams’ ganglion cyst.

Question: Can you tell Nats’ fans what this ganglion cyst is all about: “As long as what is being reported is the whole story, then yes, it is largely an issue of pain tolerance. A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac that balloons off a joint or a tendon sheath. It can be produced from trauma, inflammation or overuse, and they are very common. They often happen spontaneously, without any clear evidence of what caused it. Our joints are always producing a viscous fluid which lubricates the joint. The cysts are filled with this viscous fluid. The most common locations for ganglion cysts are over the top of the wrist, followed by the palm side of the wrist or the base of the finger.

Ganglion cysts can be painful, particularly when directly impacted or when the joint is stretched. In the case of catching, direct pressure could cause pain, and a cyst near the base of the palm could also cause substantial pain with batting.”

Question: Can he make this cyst worse by playing? “Not really. The cyst could have arisen out of a sprained joint, either at the base of the thumb or at the wrist, and this could be worsened by playing, but, in all likelihood, it is more of a pain issue only, and the MRI would likely have shown any sprains or ligament damage. So far, this has not been reported.”

Question: What is the treatment for it? “Lots of ganglion cysts cause no symptoms at all and do not need treatment. About 20-30% may spontaneously resolve with time. When they are painful, treatment consists usually of aspiration/injection or surgical excision. Depending on where the ganglion is, it may be amenable to taking the fluid out, termed “aspiration”, a simple, in-office procedure performed with a small needle. Sometimes a steroid is injected to lessen the inflammation and pain around the cyst. Following aspiration, the patient would likely be able to resume playing quickly, within a few days, though the risk of recurrence is high, as much as 75%. Aspirations can be repeated as needed. Rarely a ganglion cyst is too close to an artery or nerve to safely aspirate. In that case, or in the case of recurrent ganglions that fail initial treatment, surgical excision is commonly performed. This would likely require 3-6 weeks to heal before resuming play.”

With Trevor Williams on the 15-day IL, he pitched last on May 30. When he was placed on the IL, Martinez told the media that he would be shutdown for a period of tw0-week. We are well beyond the two-week mark now. Do we get an update today? Has that shutdown been extended? It is incredulous to think that we have heard nothing on Williams who had led the starting staff in ERA.

On Josiah Gray, he pitched on Wednesday night in another rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg, and it was certainly a mixed bag of results with three walks in just 5.0 innings and two earned runs. He cruised through the first two innings then ran into trouble. He threw 79 pitches with his fastball sitting in the low 90’s. The team announced that Gray will get his next start in Triple-A. That could be his final minor league rehab start if he does well. On top of that, Cade Cavalli is back with Wilmington High-A and starting tonight.

Here’s what we think the starting rotation could look like going forward without Gray, Williams, and Cavalli:

  1. Friday: DJ Herz vs. Rockies (Cade Cavalli rehab start in Wilmington)
  2. Saturday: Mitchell Parker vs. Rockies
  3. Sunday: Jake Irvin vs. Rockies
  4. Monday: Patrick Corbin vs. Padres
  5. Tuesday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Padres (Josiah Gray pitches in Triple-A)
  6. Wednesday: Herz vs. Padres
  7. Thursday: Day-off June 27
  8. Friday: Parker vs. Rays
  9. Saturday: Irvin vs. Rays
  10. Sunday: Corbin vs. Rays
  11. Monday: Gore vs. Mets
  12. Tuesday: Herz vs. Mets
  13. Wednesday: Parker vs. Mets
  14. Thursday: Irvin vs. Mets

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has MacKenzie Gore at +2.1, and Jake Irvin with a +1.7 WAR. Trevor Williams is at +1.7 WAR, and Jacob Young has the top spot with +1.3 for position players with CJ Abrams right behind him at +1.2 WAR. Mitchell Parker is at the +1.3 mark. In total, 22 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another six are at a neutral 0.0 WAR. Eddie Rosario dropped to -1.0 WAR and Keibert Ruiz is at -1.1 WAR. Kyle Finnegan is back into positive WAR.

“That guy was attacking us. … We just missed some pitches to hit. We were getting balls right there — and we’re fouling them off. We got to get on them. Like I said, we got to try to jump on these starters early. I don’t mind them swinging early. Today, we took some fastballs right there. … And we made early outs, too. But these guys are coming in, these guys attacked us this series. Got to get ready to hit. We just gotta get ready to hit. … We get 3-outs in about 6-or-7 minutes. … When you get a good pitch, it’s about squaring the ball up. You have to hit it hard. When you’re in a funk, start seeing some pitches — you’re never going to swing your way out of it.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.83 and 13th in MLB. The Nats are 7 points from being a Top-10 starting rotation by ERA. Look at those rankings of teams.

Here is how they rank, and if we insert DJ Herz, he would be ahead of Patrick Corbin at a 3.77 ERA:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.60
No. 4 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.49
No. 3 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.24
No. 2 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.06
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.22

Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies

Stadium: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
1st Pitch: 8:40 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, tune to Channel 89 for the home broadcast and the road team is online only.

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 75:
The Nationals won on 06/21 at home against the Braves resulting in a record of 37-38. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators won on 07/09 at home against the Tigers resulting in a record of 42-33.  Box Score / Standings

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