Washington Nationals: Players of Week 20

Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals
Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

What a Team! Nationals go 4-3 in an exciting week

The week began with a doubleheader in Philadelphia on Tuesday after Monday's game was postponed. Trevor Wiliams got the ball in game one and was inefficient, giving up three home runs. Former Nat Kyle Schwarber hit two home runs to provide the offense for Philadelphia. Dominic Smith contributed three hits. The Nats fell in game one, 8-4. Game two was about Joey Meneses, who hit two clutch home runs in the seventh and ninth inning to put the Nats ahead, 5-4. Kyle Finnegan was disgusting in the ninth inning to seal the win. We won't mention much about Wednesday's game other than the fact the Phillies threw a no-hitter; it was ugly from the Nationals' perspective. Thursday's game was disappointing, as Patrick Corbin threw five innings and walked seven. Corbin somehow gave up no earned runs despite the number of walks. Andres Machado and Joe La Sorsa combined to give up five earned runs over the next two innings to put the game out of reach. The Nats committed three errors in an overall weird performance. Philadelphia won game three by 6-2 to take the series; 3-1.

The Nats returned home to D.C. to take on the Athletics for a three-game weekend series. Joan Adon got the ball Friday night and gave up two early runs in the first, likely filling fans with doubt after the Philadelphia series. The Nats battled back in the second inning with singles from Illdemaro Vargas and Stone Garrett to tie the game. Jake Alu hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put the Nats on top, 3-2. Washington never looked back. Alu then hit his first career home run in the eighth inning, an incredible moment for the 26-year-old rookie. Illdemaro Vargas also went deep for a three-run shot in the eighth inning to help the Nats cruise to an 8-2 victory. Saturday night was electric in D.C. as the Nats came back to walk-off the Athletics in the ninth inning behind a Keibert Ruiz home run. It was the first walk-off home run in Ruiz's career.

If Saturday night was electric, Sunday was something far beyond that. Starting pitcher Trevor Williams lasted just 4.1 innings while giving up five earned runs, and Robert Garcia surrendered two more. A stadium with a solid crowd on a Sunday afternoon was depleted in the ninth inning. The comeback Nats arrived in their last chance. Stone Garrett, Illdemaro Vargas, and Dominic Smith had RBIs in their at-bats to put the Nats within two of the A's. Alex Call then reached on a fielding error that scored two more to tie the game at seven. Then, the player who rarely gets opportunities, Jeter Downs hit a walk-off single to cap off a six-run ninth inning to beat the Athletics; 8-7.

Hitter of the Week

Keibert Ruiz

Nationals fans have been waiting for this version of Keibert Ruiz all season because it's obvious what the 25-year-old catcher is capable of. Ruiz had 11 hits in seven games this week, including three home runs, four RBI, and seven runs scored. Keibert had three multi-hit games and just three strikeouts. His season OPS is at .719 as of Sunday night.

In his last 30 games, Ruiz is hitting .315 with five home runs and 13 RBI. The plate discipline of Ruiz is uncanny, striking out at just 9.6%. The final month and a half is vital to Ruiz because of his poor start. In the first year of Keibert's contract extension, the returns have been mixed due to his slow start and defensive miscues. His recent hot streak has quieted his haters and made his recent extension look great.

Pitcher of the Week

Kyle Finnegan

It's time for our closer to get some fame here at Districk on Deck. Kyle Finnegan was nasty on two occasions this week and has had a great season. Kyle earned a save versus the Phillies on Tuesday and struck out former-Nat Bryce Harper to end the game. Finnegan was called upon again Saturday night and collected the win against the Athletics while striking out two. Both of his appearances were clean innings with two strikeouts. Finnegan hasn't allowed a run in 12 straight appearances.

In 31 appearances in 2023, Finnegan has a 2.65 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, and a career-high 18 saves. The 31-year-old has thrown 51 innings with 51 strikeouts and just 15 walks. Finnegan has been the Nats' go-to guy in the past few seasons. A fan-favorite, Kyle Finnegan is the District on Deck Pitcher of the Week.