Washington Nationals: Several positives emerge from Cubs series

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CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 06: Sean Doolittle
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 06: Sean Doolittle /
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Nats dealing with plethora of injuries

The Nats were the underdog in this series, largely due to the fact that they were playing at half-strength. Thanks to injuries to Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez being on paternity leave, the Nats were forced to start Tanner Roark, Edwin Jackson, and Erick Fedde.

With the Nats’ top three starting pitchers all unavailable for a series against the defending World Series champions, it looked as if this may be a series to forget. The three surpassed all expectations and pitched well, excluding Jackson’s four-run first inning on Saturday.

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Unfortunately for the Nats, the rotation isn’t the only department currently dealing with injuries. The bullpen is also missing a few significant members, with Koda Glover, Enny Romero, and Shawn Kelley all on the disabled list.

Finally, several position players are inactive. Trea Turner, Michael Taylor, Jayson Werth, Stephen Drew, and Ryan Raburn are all on the disabled list. With so many injuries, Adrian Sanchez and Andrew Stevenson are getting opportunities at the major league level, not to mention Wilmer Difo and Brian Goodwin, who have been filling in for most of the season.

The Nats were forced to play the Cubs while at half-strength and still managed to win the series. Meanwhile, Addison Russell is the only member of the Cubs on the disabled list. With the Nats seemingly at a severe disadvantage, they won the series.

This is a huge positive moving forward, as the Nats will most likely be opposed by the Cubs in the National League Division Series. While guys like Adam Eaton and Joe Ross won’t return in time for the playoffs, most of the currently injured players should be back. If the Nats are able to win a series in Chicago without most of their starters, they should definitely stand a good chance while at full-strength.

Next: Gio Gonzalez our player of the week

All things considered, this was an extremely encouraging series for the Nats in what was also a possible playoff preview. Matt Wieters’ resurgence, the three-headed monster in the back-end of the bullpen, and the Nats winning the series despite a plethora of injuries are all positives and should give the Nats confidence if they face the Cubs again come October.

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