Washington Nationals: Players of Week Five
By Reese Evans
A 3-3 week is a good week. Especially when two wins are from the Mets.
It was an exciting week to be a Nationals fan. A series win in New York was the best baseball Washington's played all year. The boys battled back on Thursday to almost take game three to sweep the Mets. The doubleheader on Saturday versus the Pirates was not pretty, but the Nationals salvaged game three on Sunday by the final of 7-2.
MacKenzie Gore threw the best game of his early Major League career. On Wednesday in New York, Gore threw six innings while striking out 10, lowering his ERA to 3.00 on the season. The left-hander showed he could be the ace in the starting rotation. Reliever Hunter Harvey was electric versus the Mets. After Gore exited, Carl Edwards Jr walked two and was out of the game. Harvey inherited runners on second and third and got LF Starling Marte and SS Francisco Lindor to strike out consecutively. Havey pitched another clean inning after that. Catcher Keibert Ruiz had another solid week collecting seven hits in five games.
A lot of players for Washington had solid weeks. None were more impactful than Josiah Gray and CJ Abrams. Both are vital players to the franchise, and weeks like these remind Nationals fans of their potential.
Pitcher of the Week
It was clear who would take home the District on Deck Player of the Week honors. A 2-0 week for Josiah Gray. ERA lowered to 2.67(!). Two starts in a row where he threw the ball exceptionally well. On Tuesday versus the Mets, Gray racked up nine strikeouts over six innings while walking just one. Sunday versus Pittsburgh, Josiah didn't have his ace stuff but battled through six innings, holding the Pirates to a single run with six strikeouts and three walks. With April now complete, it was arguably as best of a month as Nationals fans could have asked for out of Josiah. In six games started, Gray has surrendered more than four hits only twice.
Gray's season stats are as follows: 6 GS, 2-4, 2.67 ERA, 33.2 IP, 1.28 WHIP, 31 SO, 13 BB, 4 HRA. Josiah's jump from last season to now is monumental. Only allowing four home runs through six games would have been music to my ears last year. Adding the cutter to Gray's arsenal and limited four-seam fastball usage has allowed him to keep the ball in the park. This week showed what Josiah could be, a top-end-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.
Hitter of the Week
What a week for CJ. Five hits, 5 RBIs, and one mammoth grand slam. If you're not happy for CJ Abrams, then you must have something wrong with you. Just a couple of days after his first home run in a Nationals uniform in Minnesota, Abrams is clearly building his confidence at the Major League level. Abrams certainly got me out of my seat Thursday night, completing the comeback from down 7-3.
Abrams' season average is up to .225, with two home runs and 13 RBIs. In his last seven games, he's slugging .435 clip, an elite-level percentage. CJ also has three stolen bases. I would like to see him be more aggressive on the bases. Abrams has six walks in 89 at-bats, already more than the five in 284 at-bats last season. He's being more patient at the plate resulting in better at-bats. Abrams has to get on base at a higher clip to increase his running game. His OBP through 26 games is .295. CJ got off to a slow start versus Atlanta in the opening series, but he's been building his confidence ever since. This week, he earns District on Deck Player of the Week honors.