Nationals Notebook: This week’s look back at the Nats week that was (or wasn’t)

The Washington Nationals regular season was postponed twice last week.

First, we learned Thursday morning that Opening Day would be shelved, and then we learned Friday that the weekend games with the New York Mets would be postponed, all due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Nats’ roster.

We don’t know when those players who tested positive, as well as those who were deemed close contacts, will be available again. Monday’s game was postponed as well, meaning they’ll start (in theory) on Tuesday afternoon.

On the bright side, having games against a division foe be postponed isn’t the worst that could have happened, as they’ll play the Mets and Braves again early and often this season, so a doubleheader can be sprinkled into the schedule here and there.

But until they actually get back on the field, I’ll still be uncomfortably anxious. Or is it anxiously uncomfortable?

Digesting the division: The lack of games between the Nats and Mets makes for an interesting recap here. Philadelphia is 3-0 after their sweep of Atlanta, while Miami is in fourth place after losing two of three to Tampa Bay (gotta love interleague play running all season). Nothing quite like starting the season tied for second.

Break up the birds: Baltimore began the season 3-0, thanks to their sweep of Boston at Fenway Park, where they outscored the Red Sox 18-5. Cedric Mullins is hitting (. 692 with four runs scored), John Means is pitching (seven shutout innings on opening day) and Trey Mancini is back after a bout with cancer. This week, they move up a level by facing the defending AL East champion New York Yankees.

Don’t I know you?: Former Nationals catcher Pedro Severino is hitting .500, although he’s been gone so long one wonders what the statute of limitations is regarding “former Nats.” Michael A. Taylor is a much more recent departure, and the Kansas City outfielder is hitting .462 with two homers and six RBI. Adam Eaton is off to a .250 start with a homer and three RBI.

Last month’s heroes: With no actual games to go on for our weekly “Heroes” segment, we’ll look at who shined in March. The first base tandem of Josh Bell (. 383 with 6 homers and 15 RBI) and Ryan Zimmerman (. 481 with 6 homers and 15 RBI) give one confidence that position will produce in 2021 after a subpar 2020. Starting pitcher Joe Ross posted an ERA of 2.79 over 9.2 innings while reliever Wander Suero’s 1.80 ERA over 8.1 innings was the best of the bullpen.

Last month’s humbled: Relievers Daniel Hudson (11.12 ERA) and Brad Hand (12.15) didn’t have the best numbers during the exhibition slate, but both veteran pitchers can be expected to fare better now that the games are for real. The same can’t be said for third baseman Carter Kieboom, whose .133 batting average with three extra base hits in Florida sent him to the alternate site in Fredericksburg.

Game to watch: Tuesday against Atlanta, I hope. The season won’t be delayed any longer, will it? The Nats will likely start Max Scherzer, who would actually be pitching in rhythm with his April 1 appearance that was wiped off the schedule. The Braves are looking to get their first win of the year as well after getting swept by the Phillies. Regardless of who starts for the Nats, I’m just hoping we get a full nine in, and get the year underway at long last.

Game to miss: Sunday, they wrap up their series at the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Masters will be winding down its final round. The season is 162 games (fingers crossed) while golf has only four majors. Augusta green > Dodger blue.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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