May 12, 2014, 10:06 AM EDT
Nats get swept in Oakland – The Nationals just played a very good team in the Oakland Athletics, the two-time defending AL West champions and current holders of the most wins (23) in the American League. Though the Nats had their chances on Saturday, the A’s outscored the Nats 21-4 over the three games.
After getting swept by Oakland, the Nationals have now lost six of their last eight games. In four of those six losses the team gave up seven runs or more, a troubling trend for a team that looked like it was turning a corner earlier this month.
After 37 games on the season, the Nationals are 19-18 and in third place in the NL East. The Braves have recovered to win their last three in a sweep over the Chicago Cubs this week, while the Marlins remain a half-game in front of the Nats. Looking past the top three in the division, the Mets have started to slip with eight losses in their last 10 games, and the Phillies are in last place having lost six of their last 10.
Arizona Diamondbacks up next – After losing three straight to the Athletics, the Nationals have a decent chance to rebound against one of the worst teams in the majors. The D-Backs have been a mess this season with a 15-25 record and the league’s worst pitching staff. Arizona’s staff ranks last in MLB in runs allowed (214), home runs allowed (45), and second to last in batting average against (.265).
Though they can’t pitch, the Diamondbacks do have some offensive talent, particularly in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt has been brilliant this season, hitting .321 with seven home runs, 23 RBI, 28 runs and a league-leading 52 hits.
Williams’ homecoming – Despite their overall record, Arizona is actually moving through their best stretch of the season. They’ve won four of their last five games, including a series win over first place Milwaukee. The D-Backs could be finally getting it together just in time to face a former friend.
This week will mark Matt Williams’ return to the team he left to become the manager of the Nationals. Williams was the D-Backs’ third base coach last season before taking the job in D.C.
Williams also has a history there as a player. He was an original member of the team in 1998, a starter on their 2001 World Series team and it’s where he played out the final years of his career. After retiring as a player, Williams served in the Diamondbacks’ broadcast booth before joining their coaching staff, and was a minority owner before making the move to Washington. He still has a home in the Phoenix area, as well.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Denard Span 5/5 vs. Dodgers – 3 for 4, 2 2B, R, 5 TB
Pitching game of the week: Tanner Roark 5/10 vs. Athletics – 7.2 IP, ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 SO, 95 pitches, 62 strikes
Quote of the week:
Doug Fister on his unfortunate Nationals debut:
The game of baseball is pretty difficult when it comes to ups and downs. It’s a matter of trying to stay as even keel as possible. Kinda forget about it tonight and make sure that tomorrow is a new day. Obviously make the adjustment, know what I need to work on tomorrow and do that.
Tweet of the week:
Bryce Harper on Jadeveon Clowney going No. 1 in the NFL Draft:
“That’s a Clowney pick bro” #NFLDraft
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) May 9, 2014
MON – 9:40 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Zimmermann)
TUE – 9:40 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Strasburg)
WED – 3:40 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Fister)
THU – OFF
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Roark)
SAT – 4:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Gonzalez)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Zimmermann)
NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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