Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon has his cake and eats it

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 06: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals drives in a run with a double in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Nationals Park on June 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 06: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals drives in a run with a double in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Nationals Park on June 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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On his birthday, Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had a big day at the plate. He went 4 for 5 with a couple of RBIs off of the “opener”.

The Washington Nationals wrapped up a quick two-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon. It was Anthony Rendon who led the way, going 4 for 5 with three RBIs, two of which were off Jonny Venters.

Rendon celebrated his 28th birthday in a special way by opening the scoring in the first inning with a two-run double. The opener concept by the Rays has been working well for them so far this season, but less so in this one.

The Nationals’ third-baseman wasn’t done with his onslaught on Tampa Bay pitching. He added to his special day with a hustle infield single, RBI double in the sixth and another hit in the eighth. Given the Nats’ wealth of left-handed bats in the heart of the order, as a righty, he’s going to be key.

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He was in a mini-slump getting only one hit in his previous 16 at bats. But he brought out the trademark two bags twice in this one, raising his season average to .268 on the season.

Now that it’s been a month since he returned from the disabled list, he should be able to stay in the lineup on a regular basis. Anthony Rendon is such a huge boost for a team that’s lacked offense at times.

Roark rakes in two runs

Tanner Roark had been lacking a lot of run support of late this season. But that changed in a big way on Wednesday, as he even drove in two runs to help himself.

Roark’s two-run single put him second in MLB for RBIs when pitching, behind Max Scherzer, obviously. It also takes the staff into double figures with 10 which leads baseball right now.

But back to what Roark is paid to do. pitching. He had a solid effort in this one, much like they all have been recently, but he finally got a win. Giving up six hits, two runs, walking one and striking out just four. If the Nationals keep getting outings like this from him, then the Nats will have a great fourth option in the rotation.

Michael Taylor making outfield decision tricky

Center-fielder Michael Taylor continues to swing one of the hottest bats on the team right now. He had a 3 for 5 performance on Wednesday to raise his season average to .215.

Since June 21st, he’s sporting an impressive .286 average, .592 slugging and even has four stolen bases in that span. His surge may be key when the time comes for the Nationals to make roster moves with players getting healthy.

The outfield is going to be very tricky, with Taylor, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto occupying the starter spots. Brian Goodwin has been a great fourth outfielder, but when Adam Eaton returns, can they afford to keep five outfielders? Regardless of his bat, Taylor’s gold glove defense will keep him on the roster, for now.

Next: Could Nats reunite with The Buffalo

The Washington Nationals now have another off-day on Thursday, but it’s still a huge day for D.C. sports. The Washington Capitals travel to Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights, where they could win their first Stanley Cup. Go Caps!

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