Breaking down the Nationals’ three game stand against the Blue Jays.
Game 1: 2-0 win on Tuesday afternoon (June 2)
Game 2: 7-3 loss on Tuesday night (June 2)
Game 3: 8-0 loss on Wednesday night (June 3)
What I liked:
1. Jordan Zimmermann’s start in Game 1 – Zimmermann tossed eight scoreless innings, giving him a 1.54 ERA over his last six starts and nine consecutive quality starts. Just as impressive was that the Nats needed a lengthy outing, given the taxed state of the bullpen and the fact that this game was Game 1 of a doubleheader. Zimmermann was up for the challenge, again living up to his bulldog reputation. Oh yeah, he also had a single and a run.
2. Bryce Harper and Yunel Escobar – Arguably the Nats’ two best offensive players this season (Denard Span deserves consideration) combined for nine of the team’s 21 hits and three of the team’s five walks in the series.
Harper went 5-for-11 with a walk and a stolen base, blasting a double in each of the final two games.
Escobar went 4-for-10 with two walks.
3. Harper taking a selfie with a fan’s phone before Game 2 – Harper was looking at a group of fans taking pictures of him from the seats over the fence when he noticed Jamie Roach, a retail manager from Laurel, MD. He asked her to toss her phone to him and then took the selfie, which of course went viral. I laugh when I think about some of the criticisms of Harper over the years. He blew a kiss to an opposing pitcher in the minors in 2011. He wears a lot of eye black. He likes to remove his helmet while running the bases. These are the reasons people have had problems with Harper over the years? The worst things you’ve realistically been able to say about him are that he’s injury prone and cocky. The former has not been an issue yet this season. The latter is true of almost every elite athlete. Harper is young, great and fun (remember him playing softball on the Mall in April 2012?). He’s just about everything MLB needs. The selfie saga should be a reminder of this.
What I didn’t like:
1. The overall offense – The Nats totaled just five runs and batted .221 (21-for-95) in the series, including going 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position. The Nats’ bats have cooled down considerably over the last two weeks, having scored three or fewer runs in 11 of the last 13 games.
2. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 2 – Scherzer revealed he’s actually human, giving up two homers to 2011 32nd-round pick Kevin Pillar and four runs in six innings. The outing snapped a streak of eight consecutive starts in which Scherzer lasted at least seven innings.
3. Taylor Jordan’s start in Game 3 – Jordan, a 2009 ninth-round pick of the Nats, allowed seven runs in six innings on 10 hits in his first major-league start of the season. He had a 5.61 ERA over five major-league starts last season.
4. Blake Treinen in the top of the seventh of Game 2 – Treinen was charged with three runs and recorded just two outs, giving up three singles, a walk and an RBI sac fly. Otherwise Nats relievers combined to allow one run in 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts in the series.
5. Span missing Tuesday’s doubleheader – Span did not play due to a sore right knee. He went 0-for-4 in Game 3.