After a long homestand, the Washington Nationals travel to the west coast for the final time this season to take on the Diamondbacks and Giants.
The Washington Nationals made three trades at the July 31 trade deadline. However, all three pale in comparison to the magnitude of what their next opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks, did on Wednesday.
The Diamondbacks dealt their ace pitcher, Zack Greinke, to the Houston Astros for several top prospects. This move will significantly impact the American League pennant race, but it also affects the Nationals this weekend.
The Nats won’t have to face Greinke this weekend, but they will still see staunch resistance from the Diamondbacks pitching staff. Robbie Ray, Alex Young, and Merrill Kelly are slated to face the Nats over the next three days.
This season, those three pitchers combine for a 4.04 ERA, a WHIP of 1.24, and a .238 opponents batting average allowed.
On offense, the Diamondbacks are average to slightly above average. All-Star Ketel Marte leads the offense. The switch-hitting infielder has posted career-high marks in all three slash line categories, culminating in a stellar .939 OPS.
That series will end Sunday afternoon, and the Nats will use the remainder of that day to travel to the City by the Bay for another three-game road series.
While the Nats got lucky by not having to face Greinke, their luck might run out in San Francisco. Despite being one of the most talked-about names on the rumor mill, Madison Bumgarner is still a Giant.
The reason the Giants did not sell is that they have become the hottest team in baseball over the last month. On July 1, the team was 37-47 and drawing dead in the National League Wild Card race. Now, on August 1, they are at 55-54 and right in the thick of things.
It is tough to forecast this series because of this dramatic shift in the Giants’ play. At home and on a roll, they could be a tough out. And because they didn’t sell any pieces, they are committed to making a run at the playoffs in manager Bruce Bochy’s final season before retirement.