The Washington Nationals went under-the-radar in the bay area as they swept a National League Wild Card contender this week.
The Washington Nationals took care of business. End of sentence.
Perhaps it’s due to two of the games starting at 9:45 PM ET, perhaps it’s because the Nats started their number three, four, and five starters, or perhaps it’s because they Nats scored an average of 4.33 runs per game. But this felt like the Nats swept a playoff contender and nobody is talking about it.
Well, let’s talk about it. Firstly, and most importantly, the bullpen.
During this three-game series, the bullpen pitched nine great innings, allowing only two earned runs. Sean Doolittle recorded two saves, Daniel Hudson and Fernando Rodney each made two appearances, and Hunter Strickland pitched a clean inning against his former team.
The Nationals bullpen has had spurts of success, but never a substantial run of two weeks without a few major hiccups. With an off day today, the group gets a chance to reset and carry positive momentum into Citi Field.
The Nats offense did struggle over the last three days, but that is to be expected at Oracle Park, one of the best pitchers parks in all of baseball. However, the Nats could have made a much bigger splash than they did.
Over the series, the Nats went 4 for 28 with runners in scoring position. That’s an awful mark in just about any context for a Major League baseball team. Winning baseball games takes clutch hitting. While the Nats got away with that in San Francisco, they cannot let that become a habit moving forward.
After struggling in Arizona, it was great to see the Nats bounce back the way they did in San Francisco. With a 4-2 road trip under their belt, the Nats can finish the trip strong by beating the New York Mets before returning home for a one-week homestand against some N.L. Central opponents.