The season is slowly spiraling out of control for the Washington Nationals. Three games this weekend against the Miami Marlins could determine a lot.
A loss in the opening game of the five game series with the Miami Marlins has left the Washington Nationals in the basement of the National League East. There are only two teams with worse records than the Nats, in the NL. By the beginning of the week the Nationals will know if they have a chance this year, or they are playing for 2021.
Nats go 3-0 over the weekend.
The Marlins are one of the teams the Nationals are looking up at in the division. They are actually playing better ball than expected. For the Nats to take all three games they will need great pitching performances from all three starters. Max Scherzer should be a lock. Erick Fedde and Anibal Sanchez may be a challenge.
For a winning weekend to happen the hitters need to come out of hibernation. Jumping on the Marlins early and giving the pitchers breathing room would be ideal.
A sweep of the weekend games would actually leapfrog the Nationals over the Marlins in the standings. With the Phillies in Atlanta and the Mets games against the Yankees postponed, it is conceivable the Nats could be in second place in the division by weeks end.
Nats go 2-1 or 1-2 over the weekend.
The Nationals need Scherzer to pitch lights out and pair that with timely hitting to win the first game of the double header. Realistically with the way the Marlins have been playing and the way Sanchez has been pitching, the Nats could drop the game Sunday.
The Fedde game is the game which could go either way. He tossed five-plus innings of shut out ball his last time out, though he allowed eight baserunners in three-plus innings in a start earlier in the year.
Either of these outcomes would be apropos for how the Washington Nationals are playing this year. Win two games-lose one. Win one game-lose the next two. The longest winning streak on the year is just two.
Thankfully, no one is running away with the division so either of these outcomes doesn’t end the season yet.
Nats go 0-3 over the weekend.
If the pitching falters or the hitting fails (Nats scratched out only four hits in the opener), the Nats could see the Marlins head into Monday’s game winners of the first four. This would leave the Nats seven games under .500, with a broken pitching staff and an underperforming offense.
The Nats would fall five games behind the Fish and depending on the Braves/Phillies series could be even further behind Atlanta. Following the Monday get-away game with Miami, seven of the next eleven games the Nationals play are against the Phillies.
An 0-3 would leave the Nationals 9-16 nearly halfway through the shortened, sixty game season. They may find themselves taking calls on some of the free agents to be and be looking for potential trade partners.