Washington Nationals: Good, bad, and ugly from Cardinals series

Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning at Nationals Park on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning at Nationals Park on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Nationals Tanner Rainey struggling in early going.
Tanner Rainey #21 of the Washington Nationals delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2021 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

The Bad

Tanner Rainey struck out the side in the rubber game and looked dominant. In Game 2 he gave up two runs and failed to hold the lead. With the eighth and ninth innings spoken for, Rainey has been given ample opportunity to lock down the seventh inning. He carries an 8.53 ERA on the year and is in danger or losing his high leverage innings.

Just as Josh Bell is getting on track, Kyle Schwarber is slumping. He finished the series 0-10 with seven strikeouts. While we know Schwarbes is a streaky hitter who either hits bombs or doesn’t hit at all, a single here or there wouldn’t hurt. Heck, even a productive out would be beneficial. He’s never hit for a great average, but is in danger of falling below the Mendoza Line.

Getting the shut down inning. We spoke about this in the Dodgers series as well. The Nationals score some runs, and immediately give some up the following inning. In Game 1, the Nats clawed their way back to make it 6-2 after four innings, then promptly gave up five runs in the top of the fifth. In Game 2, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. They gave up two runs in the top of the seventh. Thankfully Scherzer was able to hang zeroes after the Nats pushed across a run for him in the finale.

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