Nationals Notebook: MIA against the Marlins

Halfway through the 2022 season, we’ve seen some possibilities, but for the most part, one has learned what the Washington Nationals are not capable of.

We’ve seen them hit into an MLB-high 77 double plays while the pitching staff’s 302 walks issued are the most in the majors.

We’ve also seen the Nats be unable to solve the mystery that is the Miami Marlins. The Nats are 1-11 this year against the team right ahead of theme in the NL EAST standings — and they’re currently 10 games behind the fish in the cellar.

They’ve lost close games like Sunday’s extra-inning affair and they’ve been blown out (the 12-2 rout June 7 sticks out for some reason). But they’ve been unable to solve the mystery that is the Miami Marlins, a team that is otherwise rather ordinary: 16th in runs scored and 14th in team ERA.

The good news is they play just seven more games against the Monsters from Miami, and one of them is Monday. The bad news is this is not college athletics and the Marlins will be in the NL East for foreseeable future.

Digesting the Division — the New York Mets (49-30) have seen their lead shrink to three and a half games over Atlanta (46-33). Keep in mind the Mets are minus Max Scherzer and Jakob deGrom and the Braves are no longer in June (21-6 record last month). Philadelphia (42-38) is now without Bryce Harper for six to eight weeks due to a broken thumb — the reigning NL MVP is hitting .318 with 15 home runs while driving in 48 runs after belting 35 homers with 84 RBI last year. Miami (37-40) is in fourth because they’ve turned the Nationals (29-52) into their doormat this year. The Nats are now one of three teams on pace to win fewer than 60 games this season.

Break up the Birds — the Orioles (36-44) just posted their first winning month since August of 2017. The players on that roster then that are here now: Trey Mancini. Yes, Austin Hays made his MLB debut that year but as a September call-up. Life comes at you fast, right?

Last Week’s Heroes — Patrick Corbin struck out 12 while allowing one run over eight innings in his best start of the season while Andre Machado tossed 4.2 scoreless innings over three games. Josh Bell hit .455 with a homer while Yadiel Hernandez batted .308 homered with a team-high five RBI. Juan Soto (back in the second spot of the batting order) hit .353 with a home run. And Tres Barrera delivered a two-out, two-run single in his first at-bat since being recalled to the big leagues.

Last Week’s Humbled — Nelson Cruz batted .125, Lane Thomas hit .158, and Riley Adams (0-3) found his way to Triple-A Rochester where hopefully he’ll find his groove. Josiah Gray allowed six runs over 5.2 innings while Jackson Tetreault allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in each of his four innings Saturday, surrendering four runs over four frames.

Game to Watch — Rocking America! Fifty States. Monday is July 4 and Patrick Corbin is coming off his best start of 2022. Rocking America! Five Great Lakes. The Nats are trying to avoid getting swept by the fourth place marlines who are playing .400 ball against teams not from Washington. Rocking America! Red white Blue. It’s an 11:05 a.m. start, so your day at the pool or cookout plans aren’t ruined if this ends badly. Rocking America! How about you?

Game to Miss — Paolo Espino starts the series opener against Philadelphia. At 35 years old, he’s not a major factor in their future. And given the team’s start in 2022, the focus should be on the future and what strides the Grays, Tetreaults, and Feddes will make (along with what the Corbins and Strasburgs can return to). Espino has done a solid job filling in as a starter and reliever, but his starts can be skipped.

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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