This week, our Washington Nationals player of the week goes to the three starters who faced the Pirates.
Although the Washington Nationals only played three games this week because of the All-Star Break, they were able to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in two of three games. The offense scored 11 runs in three games and Daniel Murphy had a game-tying pinch-hit home run yesterday to go with two hits in the All-Star Game.
However, this week’s players of the week goes to the three Nationals who were dominant against the Pirates. Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, and Max Scherzer gave up two runs and combined to strike out 18 in 23 innings of work.
The series got off to a great note when Strasburg, who elected to start the second half instead of pitching the All-Star Game, set the tone with a strong outing. He went eight innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out six, and walked two on 105 pitches (69 strikes) for his 13th win of the season.
Strasburg’s lone mistake in that game was in the fifth when Starling Marte stole the first base of the season against him after a base hit (first hit of the night) and he scored on a Jordy Mercer base hit. But, the Nationals right-hander struck out three of the five batters he faced to stay undefeated.
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One night later, Roark didn’t allow an extra-base hit as he shut out the Pirates over eight innings. He gave up five hits, struck out five, and walked one on 110 pitches (80 strikes). Roark was in complete control as he threw 21 first pitch strikes out of the 29 batters he faced. Plus, he even contributed with a RBI in the fourth.
Finally, Scherzer was the only starter not to win this weekend, but he was in control for most of the day. He went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 103 pitches (75 strikes). Out of the seven hits, four were doubles, including two from Adam Frazier and one from Marte (RBI double).
Fortunately, Scherzer avoided his second 1-0 loss of the year thanks to the Murphy home run in the ninth.Scherzer was the lone Nationals pitcher in the All-Star Game and has a good outing. In his one inning of relief, he threw a 1-2-3 inning, which included one strikeout.
Right now, the Washington Nationals have one of the best, if not the best starting rotation in baseball. They lead the National Leaguew in strikeouts (606) and have the second lowest ERA (3.28) in the NL behind only the Chicago Cubs (3.06).
If the Washington Nationals make the postseason, Strasburg, Roark, and Scherzer would likely be the pitchers starting the first three games in a five game series (probably not in that order). If this past weekend was any indication, fans should be confident anytime those three pitchers are on the mound this season.