Nats get back on track against Rangers
After an abysmal series against the red-hot Cincinnati Reds, Washington took two out of three from the Texas Rangers. Washington ended the first half on a high note, winning four out of their last five series leading up to the All-Star break.
The bats were quiet versus Cincinnati, scoring just 12 runs in the four-game sweep. Jeimer Candelario hit a home run on Monday night, providing most of the fireworks for Washington in their 3-2 loss. Patrick Corbin was shelled on Tuesday night, giving up ten hits and six earned runs over five innings. The Nats fell on Tuesday, 8-4. Josiah Gray battled through five innings with just three earned runs but walked four and gave up two home runs. Reliever Joe La Sorsa gave up four earned runs in two innings of work. The offense was nonexistent, resulting in a 9-2 loss on Wednesday. Thursday was a tough loss in extra innings, with Hunter Harvey giving up a home run in the 10th.
The Rangers came to town on Friday night and took it to the Nationals, 7-2. Trevor Williams was on the mound and gave up four runs across six innings. Joan Adon, recently called up from AAA, finished the last three innings while giving up two home runs. Joey Meneses found his swing, hitting two solo home runs. The script was flipped for Washington Saturday night, scoring seven runs in the first two innings. Jeimer Candelario and Joey Meneses hit home runs in the first inning, and Alex Call went deep in the second. The offense was through after the second inning, but it was enough for Washington to hold on, 8-3. Patrick Corbin got back on track Sunday afternoon, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, striking out six, and walking just one. Jose Ferrer, Kyle Finnegan, and Hunter Harvey finished the final two innings for the series win.
Hitter of the Week
Recently promoted to the leadoff slot in the lineup, CJ Abrams is finding his stride at the plate. CJ went 9/26(.346) this week with an RBI, two doubles, three walks, four strikeouts, and five stolen bases. Abrams' maturity this week shows that he's growing more comfortable at the Major League level. Not only did CJ get moved up to leadoff, but he also made arguably the silkiest play in his young career.
Abrams finished the first half at .245 with seven home runs and 35 RBI with 14 stolen bases. His OPS is at .689 and he also committed 14 errors in the field. Abrams had stretches of consistent and quality play at the plate and in the field at times in the first half but had his ugly moments. That's to be expected with a 22 year old shortstop; inconsistency. Abrams has proved he has the tools to be a quality shortstop, but has to put everything together.
Pitcher of the Week
How about Jake Irvin? Following his start being skipped a few turns ago, Jake has pitched well. Irvin got his second win of the season on Saturday versus Texas, throwing five innings, allowing two earned runs while walking two, and striking out just one batter. On Monday, Jake threw well enough to win, tossing six innings and allowing just one earned run against the Reds. Irvin walked only one batter and struck out three.
Irvin got an opportunity to show his skillset in Spring Training and had enough to earn a look in the Majors. 12 starts later, and Irvin is still in the rotation. What's the ceiling for Irvin? In my opinion, third in a Major League rotation would be Irvin's ceiling. Realistically, if Jake turns out to be the fifth starter in the starting rotation for the next couple of years, I'd be ecstatic.