Washington Nationals: 5 to watch in Beltway Series

rjuckett
May 7, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth (28) gets congratulations from third base coach Bob Henley (13) after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
May 7, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth (28) gets congratulations from third base coach Bob Henley (13) after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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MANNY MACHADO

As with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado earlier, the chance to watch Manny Machado is a treat.

Machado has a rather healthy dose of self-confidence and the ability to destroy baseballs. Coming off two series against the Boston Red Sox filled with tension, attempted beanballs and a home run trot at Fenway Park that has yet to end, it is safe to say he is feeling it.

Although Machado is not the most productive hitter in the lineup—Jonathan Schoop and Seth Smith have higher Adjusted OPS+—his eight home runs heading into Sunday leads the O’s. So do his 20 RBI and pair of stolen bases.

His slash line of .234/.333/.495 might seem low, but he is the immovable object waiting to do damage in the middle of a powerful lineup.  Hard to believe he is only 24.

A three-time All-Star, Machado is coming off back-to-back 35-plus home run seasons. A tremendous defender, he has two Gold Gloves. In 2013, his first full year, Baseball Reference credits him with an unbelievable d-WAR of 4.3.

He has earned the right to play with a chip on his shoulder. It is never boring watching him.

In 18 Beltway Series games, Machado loves Washington pitching. Slashing .370/.439/.603, he has four homers while driving in 12. Compared with Bryce Harper on the superstar scale, Machado is a huge reason Baltimore is off to a great start.

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