Game #78 Nats have a key game with Corbin tonight

The Washington Nationals arrived in San Diego last night just one-half game behind the Padres in the Wild Card standings. A Nationals win tonight, and the teams flip-flop spots. Can Patrick Corbin and his team replicate what they did with him on the mound in Boston? Corbin has pitched four games this season giving up 1-run or less, can he make it five games tonight?

Yesterday’s game marked one of those improbable finishes for the Nats as they took a win away from Colorado to win that series and some momentum into this game. A 2-1 thriller in Denver is considered a very low scoring game. There were two half-innings that the Nats scored more than 3-runs just on Friday night.

The Nationals are obviously deep betting underdogs tonight at +170 to win. That’s okay, the Nats have been underdogs for most of their games this season. It takes a long time to turn Vegas into believers.

In this series, the Nats will face all right-handers in this series from the Padres starting pitchers. Remember, last year the Nats took 2-of-3 games from the Padres at this time last year, and many writers in San Diego felt that was the blow that sent the Padres into a dark place. They were built to make the postseason after they traded a king’s ransom to acquire Juan Soto at the 2022 trade deadline. Let’s just say the trade did not work out like the Padres had planned.

While we expected the Harold Ramirez roster move yesterday with a lefty on the mound, you have to wonder if he did not arrive in time in Denver yesterday. He was noticeably out of the Rochester lineup and not seen in the dugout. Usually a sign that the player is en route to a new destination. Well today is the day, and the right-handed batter was officially called up with Trey Lipscomb optioned back to Triple-A. The Ramirez move gave him the final spot in the 40-man roster. That is notable because if/when James Wood is called up, he will need a 40-man spot.

In his 7-games with Rochester Triple-A, Ramirez had a .375/ .516/.417 slash in 30 plate appearances and a .933 OPS, but he also had some flaws. Ramirez did not look good at all at first base on defense, and on Saturday, he had a swinging bunt which he did not run out of the box — and the ball stayed fair and that just cannot happen. Ramirez was released by Tampa on June 13 and picked up as a minor league free agent by Washington on June 15.

Manager Dave Martinez had to use closer Kyle Finnegan for two straight games, and he should be unavailable tonight. The good news is that Hunter Harvey did not pitch yesterday and would most likely get the closer duties tonight. The other six relievers should be available tonight. While Dylan Floro covered 1⅓ innings yesterday, he only threw 14-pitches, and Robert Garcia just ⅔ of an inning and 11-pitches.

The starting rotation picture is getting interesting as we get closer to decision time on Josiah Gray who will basically pitch as far as he can go tomorrow in Triple-A. He could be ready to join the Nats rotation on Sunday with an extra rest day if the Nats feel he is ready. Still no word on the plan with the injured Trevor Williams who has not pitched since May 30, and we expect Cade Cavalli to make another rehab start on Wednesday or Thursday with a Nats’ minor league affiliate. Given all of that information, everything beginning this weekend could change if Gray is activated to the Nats active roster.

This is schedule might change on Sunday depending on how Corbin pitches tonight:

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

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has MacKenzie Gore at +2.1 How did Jake Irvin only improve by 0.1 to +1.8 WAR after his gem yesterday? Jacob Young has the top spot with +1.6 for position players with CJ Abrams next at +1.3 WAR. Mitchell Parker is at the +1.4 mark. In total, 22 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another six are at a neutral 0.0 WAR. Eddie Rosario dropped to the the lowest point on the Nats roster at a -1.1 WAR. That means that a league average replacement would add 1.1 wins in theory. That is not good. Yes, Rosario stays, and James Wood is still in Triple-A.

One reason that Young’s has ascended up the list so much is because of his elite baserunning and defense. He now leads all of baseball in Statcast OAA at +11.0 in ties with Marcus Semien and Anthony Volpe. Young leads both in runs prevented and success-rate added. In DRS (Defensive Runs Saves), Young is at a +7.0 and his FanGraphs defensive rating as him as the 11th best in baseball because he is dinged for his throwing arm. Well, he is throwing the ball with limited use of the middle finger in his throwing hand. Here’s the full-list for the outfielders, and check out the two two names at the third and fourth from the bottom. That OAA stat is cumulative. Can you imagine if Lane Thomas and Jesse Winker played the full-season in the outfield?

“You step in that box, and it’s hard. I’m telling you, it’s hard. Sometimes it goes like that, but you go out there and play hard for 27 outs — good things happen.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.86 and 13th in MLB. The Nats are 14 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 4.50 ERA:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.60
No. 4 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.49
No. 3 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.30
No. 2 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.13
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.22

Washington Nationals vs. San Diego Paders

Stadium: Petco Park, San Diego, California
1st Pitch: 9:40 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 185 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 78:
The Nationals won on 06/25 on the road against the Marlins resulting in a record of 38-40. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 07/11 at home against the Tigers resulting in a record of 43-35.  Box Score / Standings

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