An in-depth look at the Nats getting a much-needed series win at the lowly Rockies.
Game 1: 15-6 win on Tuesday night (Aug. 18)
Game 2: 4-1 win on Wednesday night (Aug. 19)
Game 3: 3-2 loss on Thursday night (Aug. 20)
What I liked:
1. Acceptable ending to a really bad road trip and surprisingly difficult stretch – A sweep was really what was needed, but you’ll take winning two of three given the 1-6 start to the trip out west. This series also concluded a run of 17 consecutive games against the National League West. The Nats went just 6-11 during that stretch.
2. Exceptional plate discipline – The Nats totaled a jaw-dropping 23 walks over the three games. Ryan Zimmerman had seven walks. Bryce Harper had five walks, including four in Game 1. Yunel Escobar had two walks in each of the first two games in the series. These three players also combined for 12 of the Nats’ 28 hits in the series.
3. Matt Williams batting Jayson Werth in the leadoff spot in all three games – He has had a terrible season but profiles much better in this spot than Michael Taylor, whom Williams had in the leadoff spot in each of the final three games in the four-game-sweep at San Francisco.
Werth had a double, a single and a walk in Game 1 and a two-run triple and a double in Game 2.
Taylor, who batted seventh in all three games, had an RBI single and another single in Game 1, two walks in Game 2 and an incredible 493-foot two-run homer (the longest homer in the majors this season) in Game 3.
4. Stephen Strasburg’s start in Game 2 – He was good for a third consecutive start since coming off the disabled list, allowing one run (unearned) in seven innings on just two hits, no walks and a run-scoring wild pitch. Strasburg now has a 1.35 ERA over three starts since returning from his strained left oblique.
5. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined for seven scoreless innings, giving up just six hits and no walks. Blake Treinen did give up an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh in Game 3, but overall a good series for the bullpen.
What I didn’t like:
1. Jordan Zimmermann’s start in Game 1 – He allowed six runs (four earned) in six innings on nine hits (including three homers), a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Zimmermann also had a throwing error during the Rockies’ three-run first.
2. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 3 – He wasn’t awful, but he still was not close to where he was earlier this season. Scherzer allowed three runs in six innings on eight hits and three walks. He now has a 6.86 ERA over four starts this month and now has allowed three walks in three of his last five starts off not having allowed more than two walks in any of his first 20 starts.
3. The defense in Games 1 and 2 – Zimmermann had a throwing error and Ian Desmond had a fielding error in the Rockies’ three-run first in Game 1, during which Harper had a throwing error during the Rockies’ one-run fifth. Zimmerman then had a fielding error in the Rockies’ one-run second in Game 2. The Nats’ defense was a big problem during the 10-game trip out west.