Don’t look now, but your Washington Nationals are back to .500 and in a share for the division lead. After a 1-5 start to the season, and battling Covid protocols, injuries, slumping bats, and inconsistent starting pitching performances, the Nationals have found a groove and are riding a season best four game winning streak.
As the Miami Marlins made their way to town, they did so with the only positive run differential in the National League East. The injury bug has recently bit the Marlins, however, and they sent a mishmash of players to the plate much of the series. Coming off a split against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Nationals needed a series win against The Fish, if not a sweep. The latter was greatly appreciated. To be taken seriously the Nationals need to beat teams while they are down, and they did just that to the team from Miami.
The good, bad, and ugly from the Washington Nationals three game series with the visiting Miami Marlins.
We will begin with the starting pitchers. Wow! Jon Lester began the series with a great debut in a Nationals uniform. Five shutout innings was exactly what the Nationals needed as Lester handed the ball off to a well rested bullpen. Patrick Corbin had his best start of the season, allowing just two runs over seven innings before departing and Max Scherzer was vintage Mad Max. He took a shutout into the ninth inning before allowing a homer, though pitched the Nationals first complete game of the year to secure the 3-1 win.
Yadiel Hernandez. He continues to hit and continues to get on base. Now, we know he can also steal bases. After his three hit performance in the series opener, he singled and walked in game two, and took a free pass in game three. He swiped two bases in the series as well.
Josh Bell has not yet found his hitting rhythm this year. He did have a timely hit in game two though, with a bases clearing double. His two hits and four runs batted in were a welcome sight for a guy who is currently hitting .140 on the year. The bright side, he is hitting .500 in the month of May.
The bullpen allowed just one, unearned, run in the series, and that came because of the extra inning rule placing a runner at second base to start the inning. In the three games, the bullpen pitched just seven innings, and did so brilliantly.
The return of the long ball. Kyle Schwarber won game one with his walk-off blast. Yan Gomes extended the Nationals lead in game two with his jack, and Ryan Zimmerman‘s three run donna was the difference in game three. This team has power hitters, let’s hope they can tap into it a little more.