The Washington Nationals host the San Diego Padres to close out the May home schedule. Here are five players to watch over the weekend.
This week has been a good one for the Washington Nationals.
Strong efforts by the starting rotation led to a three-game winning streak while Anthony Rendon shredded the Seattle Mariners for three homers. Although the Nats dropped the Thursday afternoon matinee against Seattle, they are 2-1 on this six-game homestand and look the part of a playoff team.
The San Diego Padres are the opposite.
Mired in the National League West basement by 14 games, the largest margin in Major League Baseball, the Friars are in another season of endless rebuilding. When you are 17-31, there is nothing plucky about you.
Yet, as all 12 games against the Philadelphia Phillies show, there is no such thing as an easy series. Mock the Padres all you want. You never know when a bad team can put something together over a weekend.
Still, San Diego is dead last with a .221 batting average, 14th in runs scored and 13th in team ERA at 4.86. No healthy starter has an Adjusted ERA+ over 100 and Wil Myers is the lone regular to carry an Adjusted OPS+ above 100.
As a pitching staff, the 229 earned runs allowed going into Thursday is the highest in the National League. This weekend is shaping up either to be a rout or a massive disappointment. Knowing how quirky the Nats are, a chance of both.
If things go well, Washington gets a double-digit lead in the NL East. With the offense heating, conditions are ripe for a sweep.
Before the first west coast trip of 2017, Washington hosts San Diego Friday night, late Saturday afternoon and Memorial Day Sunday followed by “Yoga in the Outfield.” While you picture Bob Carpenter doing stretches, here are five to watch this weekend.