Washington Nationals: 5 to watch versus the Milwaukee Brewers

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Bryce Harper
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Bryce Harper /
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Good luck Nats hitters having to face Corey Knebel.

Closers tend to have absurd statistics. Their job is to throw everything they have out there for one inning to slam a door. Knebel’s takes his to the next level.

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In his first year as closer, Knebel has fanned 81 in 46.2 innings. Borderline obscene! His K/9 rate is 15.7. Hitters must lose sleep when he closes Zach Davies starts.  Although Knebel’s control is not pinpoint, 5.2 walks-per-9 is sketchy, his WHIP of 1.187 is impressive. When you allow a skimpy 5.4 hits-per-9, you get those numbers.

With a fastball reaching triple-digits and a biting curve, Knebel will remind you of Enny Romero. Not the closer when the year began, his ability to set up games gave him the chance when the time came. Although he has 17 saves, there are five blown save chances thrown in the mix.

In his third season with the Brewers, this is by far his best year. If Milwaukee is to pull the shocker and win the NL Central, Knebel must continue at this pace.

Next: Harper, Roark our POTW

The key for Nats hitters is patience. He will strike hitters out, but fights his control. A drawn walk adds pressure as Washington’s lineup is scary enough to cause young pitchers like Knebel to think twice.