Game #85 DJ Herz will stay in the rotation

The Washington Nationals played a clean game of baseball on Saturday and won. Yesterday, they were back to sloppiness and bad decisions and lost a game they should have won. The atmosphere in Nationals Park felt like a playoff game — but this was just a regular season game with the added bonus that top prospect, James Wood, was making his MLB debut.

Today is a new day, and DJ Herz will take the mound for the Nats. Many thought with Josiah Gray getting close to returning that Herz was the odd man out in the rotation. Well, news broke today as the media interviewed Gray in the pregame, and he said that he is once again experiencing soreness in the elbow/forearm that was similar to what landed him on the 15-day IL back in April. Gray has only made two starts for the Nats this season and pitched to a 14.04 ERA.

Things got murky on Sunday after Gray got destroyed in a Triple-A rehab start that lasted only 3.0 innings in which he gave up a pair of 3-run homers and 7 earnies. On top of that, his 4-seam fastball was down over 2 mph versus his season average, and he didn’t have good movement on his pitches. Looking at his changeups and cutters, some of those might have actually been sinkers or 4-seamers and just not classified properly. We were right to be alarmed and wrote that it could have been a “dead arm start, then maybe we have an answer because otherwise this is extremely concerning.” Those fears were valid. Gray will get an MRI at some point, and we will wait for the results and hope for the best.

The Nationals are big betting underdogs  this evening, at +125 to win on the moneyline. That means if you bet $100 you would win $125. Bet $10 and you win $12.50. Don’t bet anything, and you won’t win or lose. But it is interesting to see what Vegas thinks.

By the way, there are no more days-off going forward until the All-Star break, and this is another 17-games in a row marathon that the Nats just started on Friday. If there are no rain-outs affecting games, the team is set to play 97-games before the All-Star break, and that would leave just 65-games after the All-Star break.

Manager Dave Martinez in yesterday’s game used both Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey. Harvey, as you know, had his worst game of the season. Derek Law once again could not keep an inherited runner from scoring with two outs. This is part of the frustration for Nats fans. Law seems to be a good relief pitcher when he gets a clean inning — but clearly is not a fireman. He’s now allowed 67 percent of his inherited runners to score resulting in 18 earned runs on other pitcher’s records. Dylan Floro was the other reliever who pitched and he gave up no runs.

Here is what the rotation could look like:

  1. Tuesday: DJ Herz vs. Mets
  2. Wednesday: Mitchell Parker vs. Mets
  3. Thursday: Jake Irvin vs. Mets – July 4
  4. Friday: Patrick Corbin vs. Cardinals
  5. Saturday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Cardinals
  6. Sunday: Herz vs. Cardinals
  7. Monday: Parker vs. Cardinals
  8. Tuesday: Irvin vs. Mets
  9. Wednesday: Corbin vs. Mets
  10. Thursday: Gore vs. Mets
  11. Friday: Herz vs. Brewers
  12. Saturday: Parker vs. Brewers
  13. Sunday: Irvin vs. Brewers
  14. All-Star Break

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has the two top pitchers as MacKenzie Gore at +2.2, and Jake Irvin at+1.8 WAR. For the position players, CJ Abrams is at +2.1 and Jacob Young at +1.8. In total, 21 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another nine are at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“Obviously, that’s the end goal. I wish we’d come out with a win. But we’ve got another one tomorrow, and that’s all I’m focused on.”

James Wood said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.90 and 12th 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:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.49
No. 4 Starter: DJ Herz 5.48
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.47
No. 2 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.32
No. 1 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.03

Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets

Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 6:45 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 178 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 85:
The Nationals won on 07/03 at home against the Marlins resulting in a record of 44-41. They won’t drop below .500 the rest of the season. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 07/17 at home against the St. Louis Browns resulting in a record of 48-37.  Box Score / Standings

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