Despite Ending the Streak, the Nationals Keep Winning

by Marien Hornyak. 0 Comments

I know, Nationals’ fans; it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  But I was waiting for the Nats’ winning streak to end, because I figured that blogging about it during the streak would somehow jinx the team.  So now that the 10-game winning streak is over (only after one loss, since they won again after the streak ended), I can reflect on what it’s like being a Nationals fan during this exciting time. First of all, those darn Atlanta Braves didn’t make the streak as exciting as it could have been.  With the first-place Nationals winning, the second-place Braves were winning as well, so the Nationals were only 6 games ahead of the Braves.  That’s technically not a runaway, since the Nationals and Braves still have to play each other six more times before the end of the season.  Yes, it would’ve been nice to be 10 games ahead of Atlanta, but that is not the case. Personally, I thought it was exciting to be at Nationals Park during the streak.  My husband and I attended one of the games in which the Nationals beat the Pirates, and it was stressful and wonderful at the same time.  Attendance was good, the rivalry was exciting, we got a free ball cap, and I took some really good pictures.  Playing at home definitely helped the streak, especially since the Nationals now head out west to play the Mariners and the Dodgers. So what have the highlights been for the Nationals during the past two weeks?  Mainly the fact that everyone is hitting well.  Leadoff batter Denard Span hit .286 in his last 10 games, with 12 hits and 4 stolen bases.  His on-base percentage is .354, with an OPS of .758.  If he doesn’t get the Gold Glove at center field, I just might shave my head in disbelief.  Anthony Rendón and Jayson Werth remain consistent, and even Bryce Harper seems to have gotten out of his funk, going 11-36 in his last 10 games.   Not wonderful, but definitely an improvement. Pitching for the Nationals remains consistently good, though Gio Gonzalez is not having a good year.  Starters Doug Fister and Tanner Roark both have double-digit wins and ERAs under 3, and Stephen Strasburg continues to lead the National League in strikeouts.  Jordan Zimmermann also has a low ERA, though he has been notoriously known for not getting good run support for the past few years (I wish I knew why).  The bullpen seems to be up-and-down, with closer Rafael Soriano blowing another save during the 10-game winning streak that led to extra innings.  All in all though, the Nationals’ pitching is under control. So what are the chances that the red-hot Nationals will make the playoffs?  Unless something tragically terrible happens, the Nationals are certain to be in the playoffs.  The bigger question is where to put Ryan Zimmerman when he comes off the Disabled List in mid-September.  Rendón is doing fine at third base, Bryce Harper is doing a decent job in left field, and Adam LaRoche is solid at first base.  All I can think of to do with my favorite franchise player is to use him to give guys days off and have him pinch-hit; he would be under-used, but it would be a nice problem for Nationals’ manager Matt Williams to have.  For now, they just need to have a good series out west and hopefully lose only on the days when the Braves lose.

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