Washington Nationals: Nats Catching Fire for First Time in 2019
The Washington Nationals swept another two-game series on Wednesday and have now won nine of their last eleven games.
The Washington Nationals are playing their best baseball of the season, without a shadow of a doubt.
This afternoon, the Nats continued their streak of incredible play, culminating in a walk-off win against the Chicago White Sox. The team has now won four consecutive series, dating back to the May 24-27 series against the Miami Marlins.
Here are some takeaways from the Nats’ 4th straight victory.
Kurt Suzuki Playing Exceptionally Well
Kurt Suzuki is off to an incredible start in 2019, playing well inside of the batter’s box, and behind it.
The Nats signed Suzuki to be a reliable offensive option from the catcher position, not for his defense. Last season, Suzuki graded out as one of the worst pitch framers in the MLB, according to StatCorner’s Catcher Report.
However, this season, he is now slightly below average in that regard. On the MASN broadcast during the game, commentators Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo lauded Suzuki’s framing ability in the early innings, which earned starter Anibal Sanchez extra strikeouts.
In addition to his framing, Suzuki knocked in the first two runs of the game with a single and a double. On the season, Suzuki’s .814 OPS ranks eighth among MLB catchers (minimum 100 plate appearances).
Anibal Sanchez Stabilizes Rotation
Speaking of Sanchez, he has been phenomenal since returning from the Injured List. In his last two starts, he has combined for 11.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, and 14 K.
Sanchez was anything but consistent before his injury. Now with two good starts in a row, he helps himself out by racking up numbers, and he helps his team out by giving the bullpen manageable situations with which to pitch.
Expecting Sanchez to keep his 2018 form is unreasonable. But with a 4.19 ERA through 11 starts, and an improved strikeout rate, Nats fans should feel optimistic with where the veteran right-hander is at right now.
The Nats look to continue their hot streak in San Diego this weekend. The club will play four games at Petco Park starting tomorrow at 10:10 ET.