Washington Nationals: Mark Reynolds leads the fireworks show

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PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 13: Mark Reynolds #14 of the Washington Nationals hits a solo home run in the sixth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 13, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 13: Mark Reynolds #14 of the Washington Nationals hits a solo home run in the sixth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 13, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals clinched their second four-game sweep this season, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mark Reynolds led the way with two home runs.

After a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Washington Nationals have now won 13 of their last 15 games. They are rapidly ascending in the standings, matching the Atlanta Braves stride for stride. And Mark Reynolds was the unexpected hero in the game.

Reynolds was just recalled from the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs on Saturday, when Ryan Zimmerman went on the DL. And he made quite the impression in his first start for the Nationals.

He put the Nationals up 4-1 in the sixth inning with his first home run of the season, but he would really endear himself to Nats fans in the eighth inning. Hitting a bullet off of heralded Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley deep into the bleachers to break a 4-4 tie.

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Nobody has ever questioned Mark Reynolds’ power, as his career HR number now sits at 283. And we should continue to see that while he stays with the big league club.

He’ll need to keep hitting in order to stay in Davey Martinez’s plans when Zimmerman returns from the DL, likely when first eligible. But today’s fireworks will certainly not harm his case.

Turner, Harper regaining power strokes

It wasn’t only Mark Reynolds who was able to go deep for the Washington Nationals in this game. Trea Turner and Bryce Harper each kept up their big series too with a home run a piece.

Harper’s 13th of the year is still in orbit right now, as his blast in the third inning continued his hot series. He’s been spanking the ball with authority in Arizona, as 7 of his 16 batted balls were deemed hard hit by Fangraphs.

Turner has been on something of a power surge lately too. He hit his second home run of the series, and fifth of the year in the top of the fifth. With two walks on the night as well, he now has an OPS over .800 and has matured into a true leadoff hitter this season.

With Adam Eaton‘s absence still felt in numerous ways, Turner’s development couldn’t have come at a better time. The Nationals now have a potent top of the order that keeps producing runs and providing run more than adequate run support for a stellar pitching staff.

Jeremy Hellickson keeps shining

Once again, the Nats got a brief but effective outing from Jeremy Hellickson in this game. He lowered his ERA to 2.20 and WHIP to 0.857, and the superlatives to describe how much value he has provided are running out.

Once again, the story of his start will be the fact he was only allowed to go five innings, with a third time through the order looming. At the time the decision was made, the Nats lead was only 2 two runs, and Davey Martinez didn’t want to risk leaving him out there.

With two off-days coming up over the next four days, it provides plenty of chance to rest the bullpen. Therefore, it made sense to play it safer by allowing the bullpen to see out the game. But at some point, Martinez will need to see if Hellickson can stay out there longer.

After all, there will come a time when he’s not so fortunate with the bullpen being able to rest. And in such a situation, it would be good to know what’s to be expected from the starter if he had to begin to face hitters again for a third time.

Next: Nats will cope without Zimm

The Washington Nationals get a well deserved break on Monday as they travel back from the desert. Then on Tuesday they prepare to face the sizzling New York Yankees in a blockbuster matchup.

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