Washington Nationals Reaction: Big Road Trip Off To Great Start
The Washington Nationals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 this afternoon, starting of their tough 10-game road trip with a series sweep.
The Washington Nationals started off the first two games of their road trip just about as well as you could imagine. After two great outings by Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, and timely hitting from the offense, the Nationals were looking for a big early season sweep in St. Louis Sunday afternoon. Max Scherzer took the hill for the Nats and had been scuffling to start the season, but Scherzer showed us once again Sunday how dominating he can be.
Scherzer needed a good outing as the Washington Nationals were going up against St. Louis ace Carlos Martinez, and he delivered in a big way. Both pitchers cruised through the first five innings and things were locked at 0-0 heading into the sixth. After Jose Lobaton got on base and was bunted over by Scherzer, Matt den Dekker drove in the Nats’ first run of the game on an RBI single.
This hit could be very crucial for den Dekker as Ben Revere is about to return from injury. The Nationals will have to make a roster move soon when he comes back. If den Dekker keeps driving in runs, it will be hard to send him down.
The Nationals also got offensive help yesterday from two guys who have really struggled to start the season. Clint Robinson, who was hitting below .100 coming into the game, crushed a homer in the seventh, and was followed by Danny Espinosa hitting his second of the year right after.
These two players will be very key to the Nationals success if they can get going and start to heat up. Espinosa, who some are waiting to have him replaced by young shortstop prospect Trea Turner, had a very good series going 3-for-11, but driving in three runs. If Espinosa can get hot at the bottom of the lineup, and Robinson can provide the pop off the bench we saw from him last season, the Nats’ offense can really become a force to be reckoned with.
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Although the Washington Nationals offense preformed well in this series, the main story was how good the pitching was, especially yesterday. Scherzer had been struggling with his fastball command, but figured it out in a big way today. He had his best outing of the season going seven innings and allowing just four hits while striking out nine Cardinals. Scherzer’s fastball was untouchable sitting at 94-96 mph and his command was just like what we saw from his last season.
The Nationals pitching has already been outstanding to start the year, posting the best ERA in baseball. If Max Scherzer can return to his 2015 form, and keep up what we saw from him yesterday, there may not be a better pitching staff in all of baseball.
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Sweeping this series vs St. Louis could prove very pivotal to the Washington Nationals in the long run. Now if they can just win the series vs the Kansas City Royals, and even just split vs the Chicago Cubs, that would put them at 7-3, which would be very impressive for this road trip. It will not be easy, but with the bats at the bottom of the lineup heating up, and Max Scherzer finding his fastball command again, the Nats are in a good position to gain momentum on this very difficult road trip.