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Nationals Win Two Of Three Against Miami

An in-depth look at the Nationals’ series win over the Marlins at Nationals Park.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

Game 1: 4-3 loss on Friday night (Aug. 28)

Game 2: 5-1 win on Saturday night (Aug. 29)

Game 3: 7-4 win on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 30)

 

What I liked:

1. A good (though not great) homestand – The Nats won all three series and went 6-3 on a nine-game homestand against three sub-.500 teams.  I really wanted to see the Nats go 7-2 or better, but it’s hard to be too upset with 6-3.

 

2. The offense – The Nats totaled 15 runs and batted .323 (30-for-93) in the series.

Is Ian Desmond back?  He had a solo homer and a single in Game 1, another solo homer and another single in Game 2 and an RBI single and three walks in Game 3.  Desmond exited this series with a .931 OPS in August.

 

3. Jordan Zimmermann’s start in Game 2 – He allowed one run in seven innings in a much-needed quality outing off having a 4.56 ERA (27 earned runs in 53 1/3 innings) over his previous nine starts.

 

4. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined for nine scoreless innings in the series, giving up just four hits and no walks.

 

5. Michael Taylor being back – He missed Game 1 due to a right knee contusion suffered in the 4-2 win over San Diego last Thursday night but then pinch-hit in Game 2 and had two singles in starting Game 3.

 

What I didn’t like:

1. Stephen Strasburg leaving yet another start early due to injury – He gave up four runs in four innings on seven hits in Game 3 and then left it due to upper-back discomfort, marking the fourth start that he has had to exit due to injury this year:

  • May 5 – 2-1 loss to Miami – gives up two runs, four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch in lasting just three innings due to back soreness.
  • May 29 – 5-2 loss at Cincinnati – lasts for just one official inning, five batters and 16 pitches, giving up a solo homer to Joey Votto in the bottom of the first and then getting pulled after appearing in obvious discomfort (falling off the mound more than normal, moving his neck and shoulders after pitches) while walking Brayan Pena to lead off the bottom of the second.  Strasburg then is placed on the D.L. the following day with a left trapezius strain.
  • July 4 – 9-3 win over San Francisco – tosses 3 2/3 scoreless innings but then has top leave the game and is placed on the D.L. the following day with a left oblique strain.
  • Aug. 30 – 7-4 win over Miami – gives up four runs in four innings on seven hits and then leaves the game due to upper-back discomfort.

What’s funny is that Strasburg had been very durable since coming back from his 2010 Tommy John surgery, having made at least 28 starts each of the previous three seasons (and the reason he made 28 starts in 2012 was the shutdown; he made 30 and 34 starts in 2013 and 2014, respectively).

 

2. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 1 – He allowed four runs in three official innings of work before retiring the final 12 batters he faced.  The final line wasn’t awful (four runs in seven innings, six hits, no walks and a wild pitch vs. eight strikeouts), but this was far from the dominant Scherzer that the Nats needed.  He gave up two more homers, giving him 12 homers allowed over his last nine starts.  Scherzer concluded August with a 6.43 ERA over five starts.

 

3. Yunel Escobar missing the entire series – He did not play at all off suffering a right hand contusion on a hit-by-pitch in the 4-2 win over San Diego last Thursday night.

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