By: Jason Smith
Washington Nationals Recap (4/9 – 4/15)
By Jason Smith
This week went slightly better for the Nationals opposed to the last. With the Nationals still trying to find their groove, they played two series against the Braves and Rockies.
Monday, April 9th – The week started off with Max Scherzer trying to get the Nationals back into the win column. After 5 straight losses, Scherzer knew it was important to put the team on his back and that is exactly what he did. The last time Scherzer faced the Braves, it did not go so well, this time though Scherzer dominated the Braves through 9 innings of two-hit baseball while striking out ten batters along the way. Howie Kendrick had a two-run double in the first inning and those two runs ended up being the only runs of the game. Nationals 2, Braves 0
Tuesday, April 10th – One of the biggest advantages the Nationals have is having two Cy Young caliber pitchers going in back to back games throughout the season. In this game, Stephen Strasburg tried to duplicate his teammate’s performance from the day before. Strausburg was dominant in this game, throwing eight shutout innings allowing only three hits and striking out eight Braves. Ryan Zimmerman helped the cause with a two-RBI triple. Zimmerman showed some emotion when he reached third base, a little sigh of relief, considering he has been off to a slow start this season. Nationals 4, Braves 1
Wednesday, April 11th – Talk throughout the season is going to focus on the Nationals fifth starter. Currently, AJ Cole holds down that spot and got his second chance to prove he deserves it. In Cole’s first start he allowed ten runs in three innings, this outing was slightly better. Cole went 5.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits. Cole was lined up to take the loss until Matt Adams took a bottom of the ninth inning pitch deep in a 2-1 game to tie it. Both teams plated a run in the 11th inning but the Braves left with the win after Ryan Madson allowed a two-out, two-RBI single in the top of the 12th. The Nationals were unable to score in the bottom half of the inning to keep the game going and missed out on the sweep. Nationals 3, Braves 5
Thursday, April 12th – The first game of a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies put Gio Gonzalez on the mound for his third start of the season. Gio was only able to last five innings and allowed three runs while striking out seven. The Nationals were not able to provide Gio with any offense this game, only scoring one run on a Howie Kendrick home run. DJ LeMahieu single handily beat the Nationals in this game with four hits, four RBI, two doubles and two home runs. Nationals 1, Rockies 5
Friday, April 13th – A day that is notorious for “bad luck” saw the Nationals give up an unearned run on a Trea Turner error that eventually cost them the game. Tanner Roark pitched six strong innings allowing only one earned run and getting the quality start. The Turner error in the sixth inning was costly as DJ LeMahieu would eventually score on a Carlos Gonzalez sacrifice fly and prove to be the game-winning run. Nationals 1, Rockies 2
Saturday, April 14th – This seems like a repeating narrative in the young season, but whenever the Nationals need a win, they turn to their two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Scherzer took the mound looking for this third win of the season. Charlie Blackmon took advantage of a Scherzer mistake in the first inning for a two-run home run, but that would be it for the Rockies. Scherzer dominated the next six innings finishing with eleven strikeouts and not allowing another hit. The Nationals provided their starting pitcher with some run support, led by Matt Wieters and Moises Sierra, who each had two RBI in the game. Nationals 6, Braves 2
Sunday, April 15th – Stephen Strasburg took the mound for the second time this week, hoping to give the Nationals a chance to split the four-game series with the Rockies. Strausburg was cruising through the first five innings, only allowing a solo home run to Charlie Blackmon, however, the sixth inning proved to be a difficult one for Strausburg. A double by Blackmon followed by a single from Carlos Gonzalez plated three runs giving the Rockies the lead. Matt Wieters and Bryce Harper helped keep the Nationals in the game with home runs and Michael A Taylor did his part adding two doubles. In the bottom of the 8th inning, trailing by one run, Taylor manufactured a run all on his own. After a double down the left field line, Taylor proceeded to steal third. After a wild pitch, Taylor was able to scamper home to tie the game at five. However it seemed every time the Nationals fought back to tie the game, they gave it right back the next inning. Nationals 5, Rockies 6
Not the start anybody expected from the Nationals this season, especially after starting the season with a sweep of the Reds. The Nationals start a nine-game road trip on Monday with an important, early season, series against the Mets. The Mets have been off to a hot start and are currently in first place in the NL East. With an off day Thursday, the Nationals will then travel to Los Angels to begin a short west coast trip against the Dodgers. It is still way too early in the season, but I believe this series against the Mets is extremely important. Unfortunately, the Nationals will not have Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg available to help them from the mound.
Current Record – 7-9; Fourth Place in N.L. East