Now that the Washington Nationals’ first West Coast trip of 2018 is complete, the team returns home for a lengthy homestand.
Good morning, Washington Nationals fans!
Today is Friday, April 27, 2018, which means the Nats are finally back home. Their first West Coast trip, like the season thus far, was a bumpy one. Returning to Nationals Park and playing in front of the home crowd should be refreshing.
Over the Nats’ road trip, in which they visited the Mets, Dodgers, and Giants, they finished with four wins and five losses.
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In addition to the streaky performances, the Nats’ roster became a revolving door. As MASN’s Mark Zuckerman pointed out, the Nats demoted two players, promoted seven, placed four on the disabled list, and made a trade during the road trip.
Now, the team finally returns home. The team looks a bit different from when they departed DC, but they are ready to take on the surging Diamondbacks.
Until Stephen Strasburg takes the mound in the series opener, here is what we are reading:
The Nats have produced mixed results to begin 2018, but there are reasons to be optimistic. Bryce Harper and the starting rotation have gotten off to a tremendous start. Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Taylor, and Trea Turner are trending in the right direction. Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon, and others are also nearing returns from the disabled list. Thelton Hughes grades the Nats’ start to 2018.
Last year, the Nats’ bullpen got off to a horrific start. They were lacking a proven closer, but their issues extended far past that. Then, Mike Rizzo netted Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in a trade with the Oakland A’s. Doolittle and Madson, along with Brandon Kintzler, finally gave the Nats a reliable relief corps. Ben Ross analyzes the trade from Oakland’s perspective.
The Diamondbacks have gotten off to a fantastic start in 2018, currently sitting atop the National League West standings. Patrick Corbin has led the way for Arizona and has even been dubbed the best pitcher in the league to begin the year. The Nats will have their hands full when he takes the mound on Saturday afternoon. Nick Piecoro previews the series from Arizona’s perspective.
The Nats’ slow start has brought back memories of 2015, the last time the Nats got off to such a slow start. Unfortunately, 2015 is also the last time the Nats did not make the postseason. Fortunately, this year’s team is vastly different. They have a much better bullpen and expect several key players to return from the disabled list shortly. Chelsea Janes optimistically compares 2015 to 2018.
With that, we hope you enjoy your Friday and East Coast baseball!