Could the Nationals have found themselves a potential building block?
Having a couple of good games in August does not make a career, but one of the pieces the ballclub picked up at the trading deadline is finding an opportunity in Washington — and producing.
Riley Adams was acquired in the trade of Brad Hand to Toronto, and the 25-year-old has made the most of his time in D.C.
As the Nationals continue the long road home from trading eight players for prospects, Adams’ play helped the franchise move forward with a 3-2 week where he helped Washington pull off a mini series sweep against his old team in the AL Wild Card contending Blue Jays.
Caught in a backlog of young catchers (Reese McGuire and Danny Jansen are both 26), the prospect of Adams carving out an MLB career with Toronto wasn’t completely hopeful.
There have been late-summer flashes in the pan that fail to produce over a 162-game season, but for now, Adams is enjoying a new lease on his major league life in Washington.
Digesting the Division: Atlanta (68-56) has taken over the NL East race by winning nine straight. Playing the Nats, Miami and Baltimore can help you out that way. But the Braves battle the red-hot New York Yankees (nine straight wins) and NL West-leading San Francisco this week. Philadelphia (63-61) has slipped back after dropping four of six on a western road trip while the New York Mets (61-63) have careened under .500 after losing eight of 10 to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco — and have three more against the Giants this week. The Nationals (53-70) “elimination number” for the division is 25, while Miami is all systems go for 2025.
O’s Woes: The Birds’ latest losing streak has reached 18, putting them within shouting distance of the 1988 team that started the season 0-21. They’re also assured of a losing record for the fifth straight year and are a near-lock to finish, with 100 losses for the third full season in a row (they’d need to finish 25-14). The next bench mark is 115 losses — the most in team history — and they’d need to finish 10-29 to avoid that infamy.
Say, Isn’t That? Max Scherzer struck out eight over five innings Saturday against the Mets to improve to 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA this month for the Dodgers, while Trea Turner hit .417 last week. Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison each batted .250 for Oakland, while Kyle Schwarber hit .400 with four walks for Boston. Brad Hand blew a save for Toronto against the Nationals and took the loss in Washington on Wednesday, while Daniel Hudson went 0-1 for San Diego. Jon Lester allowed four runs over 4.1 innings in his lone start for St. Louis.
Last Week’s Heroes: Adams hit .500 with a homer and four RBI and wasn’t the only deadline acquisition to shine: Lane Thomas (picked up from St. Louis for Jon Lester) went 7-for-11 (. 636) atop the batting order in his first games with the team. Juan Soto batted .357 with a homer and 4 RBI while drawing nine walks. Patrick Corbin struck out seven over 6.1 innings while allowing one run and getting his second win since the start of summer. Kyle Finnegan tossed 3.1 scoreless innings over three games while Andres Machado pitched 4.1 scoreless frames over four appearances.
Last Week’s Humbled: Javy Guerra allowed a grand slam Saturday night while Jefry Rodriguez, Mason Thompson and Ryne Harper also posted ERA’s over 10. Luis Garcia hit .167 while Victor Robles batted .154.
Game to Watch: Thursday, the Nats wrap up their series with Miami as Patrick Corbin pitches. Can the lefthander win back-to-back decisions for the first time since June 20? My cousin Liz loved baseball, and I’ll be thinking of her when I tune in.
Game to Miss: Sunday Aug. 29 is the 55th anniversary of the Beatles’ last concert (at Candlestick Park in San Francisco), and at the time nobody (outside of the Fab Four) knew it would be the last time they’d perform together on stage. The Nationals wrap up their series with the slumping New York Mets on Sunday, and we know it’s the last Sunday before Labor Day.
Get outside and enjoy the waning season.