Washington Nationals: 5 to watch against San Diego

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May 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Koda Glover (30) celebrates with catcher Matt Wieters (32) after recording the final out against the Seattle Mariners at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Koda Glover (30) celebrates with catcher Matt Wieters (32) after recording the final out against the Seattle Mariners at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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BRAD HAND

One of the few bright spots for the Padres, Brad Hand will draw attention from contenders as the trade deadline approaches.

The lefty shines for San Diego. Featuring a filthy slider with a fastball reaching 96, Hand’s ERA of 1.73 and 1.000 WHIP turns heads. In 26 innings, he has whiffed 35 while scattering 16 hits. Last year, he tossed 89.1 innings in a league-high 82 games.

As the Pads decide whether to conduct another fire sale, Hand has the pedigree to either set up or take a shot closing. A converted starter, the change turned a mediocre starter for the Miami Marlins into a front line reliever.

Hand is not a product of pitching-friendly Petco Park. In 13 games away from home, his ERA is 0.66 with a BAbip of .214. That will draw phone calls and a healthy raise.

Left-handed batters have a .115 average off him. Righties fare better, but .194 is a relative term.

As the Nats decide who to pursue to bolster the bullpen, this weekend is a first-hand audition. With San Diego’s sketchy record of past medical records there are downfalls in dealing with the Padres, but Hand is worth the look.

Washington was not kind to him last year. In two innings, Hand allowed five base runners, two earned runs and a strikeout.

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