Washington Nationals Second Half Preview
When: at Cleveland, July 26-27
Hitter to Watch: Francisco Lindor – 87 G, 382 PA, .306/.363/.460, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 60 R, 13 SB
Pitcher to Watch: Danny Salazar – 17 G, 104.2 IP, 10-3 record, 2.75 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 1.175 WHIP, 118 Ks
Arguably the best team in the American League, the Indians capped off an impressive first half with a 14-game winning streak that stretched from the middle of June through early July. Cleveland sent three players to the All-Star Game, including the top two arms of their rotation: Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber. The rotation as a whole leads the American League in strikeouts, led by Kluber with 122.
Their offense, which has scored the fifth highest runs in the American League (436) is led by their middle infield tandem of Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis. Lindor is coming off a season in which he finished second to Carlos Correa in AL Rookie of the Year voting. So far, he has outplayed the Houston Astro by a wide margin, earning his first All-Star nod of his career while Correa took the All-Star Week off.
The Nats will travel to Cleveland for the two-game series, where the Indians sport a stingy 26-16 record in their home ballpark. The Nats, who are only six games over .500 on the road as opposed to twelve over at home, will have a tall task ahead of them if they’re to come out with a series win. The key to the series for both teams will be just how many runs either offense can manage to scrape across the board.
Next: San Francisco Giants