By Jason Smith
The Washington Nationals continue to heat up and finish this week as the best team in baseball over the last three weeks. This week the Nationals went out West for series’ against the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks were the only team in Major League Baseball who had not lost a series this season. That is until they faced off against the Nationals this week.
Monday, May 7th – The Nationals first game of the West coast road trip was in San Diego against the Padres. Stephen Strausburg, a San Diego native, got the start in the opening game. Strausburg was able to hold the Padres to three runs over seven innings while striking out five in his homecoming game. The Nationals offense, led by Matt Adams’ two home runs, were able to give Strausburg and their bullpen all the run support they would need. Nationals 8, Padres 5
Tuesday, May 8th – Game two of the series sent Jeremy Hellickson to the mound for the Nationals. Hellickson has been a strong signing this year as he has taken over as the fifth starter for the Nationals. Hellickson was dominant in this game, shutting down the Padres and throwing six no-hit innings. Hellickson even helped his own cause by adding a RBI double in the seventh inning. Nationals 4, Padres 0
Wednesday, May 9th – Going for the sweep, the Nationals had a strong pitching performance from Gio Gonzalez. Only allowing one run over six innings and striking out eight, Gio did his job to set the Nationals up for a victory. Unfortunately the Nationals offense did not show up and only scored one run on an Anthony Rendon home run. Nationals 1, Padres 2
Thursday, May 10th – From San Diego to Arizona, the Nationals traveled to take on one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. Tanner Roark got the first start of the series and continued the streak of dominance for Nationals starting pitchers. Roark went seven innings only allowing one run. The Nationals struggled to score until Michael A Taylor started the eighth inning with lead off double. After a Wilmer Difo bunt that got Taylor to third, Archie Bradley balked to plate Taylor and tie the game. The Nationals would eventually win the game in the 11th inning with a Matt Adams RBI that scored TreaTurner. Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 1
Friday, May 11th – In game two of the four game series, Max Scherzer continued his argument as the best pitcher in baseball with a seven-inning eleven strikeout outing. Over his last two starts, Scherzer has thrown 13.1 innings with 26 strikeouts. TreaTurner and Anthony Rendon had solo home runs in the game which would be the difference in the outcome. Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 1
Saturday, May 12th – Stephen Strausburg, getting his second start of the week, pitched 6.2 innings against the Diamondbacks in the third game of the four game series. Strausburg only allowed one run and struck out nine batters. The bullpen also came up big in this game, shutting down the Diamondbacks over 2.1 innings. The Nationals offense did just enough to secure the victory and handing the Diamondbacks their first series loss on the season. Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 1
Sunday, May 13th– Nationals vs. Diamondbacks went at it on Sunday night baseball on ESPN for the series finale. The Nationals, going for the sweep, sent Jeremy Hellickson back out to the mound for his second start of the week. Hellicksonlimited the Diamondbacks to one run over five innings, continuing his surprising run with the Nationals. The Nationals started their Sunday off by signing Mark Reynolds to fill Ryan Zimmerman’s role as Zimmerman hit the DL. Reynolds would make his presence felt quickly. In his second at-bat, Reynolds had a solo home run. After the Diamondbacks tied the game in the 7th, Reynolds had a two run home run in the 8th to help the Nationals retake the lead. Doolittle came in the 9th to complete the sweep. Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 4
One of the hottest teams in baseball, the Nationals went 6-1 this week during their West coast road trip. The Nationals have been able to gain a little bit of ground on the rest of their division but still remain a game and a half out of first place. Next week the Nationals will host the dangerous lineup of the New York Yankees in a two game series. The Nationals will also host the LA Dodgers over the weekend along with getting two off days during the week.
Current Record – 24-18; 3rd Place in N.L. East