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Nats face upstart Astros

Jun 16, 2014, 8:51 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

With the Atlanta Braves coming to town this week for four games, it’s easy to overlook the Nats’ first opponent of this upcoming homestand.

The Houston Astros – owners of the worst record in baseball each of the last three seasons – will be in Washington for a two-game series before the NL East main event gets started.

So, what about those Astros? The Nationals have played them already this season, a two-game set at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Nats won both of those by a combined score of 11-3 and not once did it look like the Astros could hang with their interleague foe.

The Astros, however, have come a long way since April 30, the day they were swept by the Nats. Since that game Houston is 23-20 and has a nucleus of young talent that is beginning to emerge.

Take Tuesday’s starter, Dallas Keuchel. The Nats did not face him in their late April series, but he has easily been the Astros’ best pitcher this season. Keuchel is 8-3 this year with a 2.38 ERA, the ninth-best mark in the majors. He’s a 26-year-old lefty the Astros found in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.

The Astros also have two young rookie sluggers the Nationals will face this week. George Springer and Jon Singleton both figure to get Rookie of the Year consideration after their impressive starts this season.

Springer, 24, has been a revelation for Houston so far. Through 52 games he has 12 home runs, 36 RBI and a .811 OPS. In June he became just the second rookie ever to hit seven home runs in a seven-game span.

The Astros took Springer 11th overall in 2011, the same year the Nats picked Anthony Rendon at No. 6. They are currently the top two position players from the 2011 first round in career WAR.

Singleton was picked in the eighth round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 before going to Houston in the trade for Hunter Pence. He was called up earlier this month after hitting 14 homers in 54 games at Triple-A. His power has already translated to the majors, as the 22-year-old has four home runs in 13 games.

Washington has won nine of their last 10 games against Houston, and the Astros are still a last place team at 32-39 overall. Recent history is certainly on the Nationals’ side, but this week they will face an up and coming team that could surprise people in the near future.

  1. sunshinebobby - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Totally off-topic, but I find myself madly rooting for the lowly Phillies and Cubs in extra innings against the Barves and Marlins, dis-respectively. Am I the only one feeling like this is going to end badly?

  2. Sonny G 10 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    You just never know with our streaky Nats. We could blow them up or get blown up. I’m hoping we get on a roll and use the Astros as a springboard to the Barves. We could really make some hay this home stand.

  3. letswin3 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Phillies in the 13th scored big-time, lead 6-1, and the Braves just walked the Phillies pitcher.

  4. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Phillies and Cubbies both won in 13, so, no, it didn’t end badly.

    Barves also lost David Capenter, not clear how seriously he is injured (re-posting from previous thread).

    http://www.sportsinjuryalert.com/2014/06/braves-injury-update-david-carpenter.html

    Mets also lost. They batted the pitcher in the 8-spot.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    In that Phillies/Braves game: Barves had 12 hits, 3 walks and …1 run scored. Gotta love it. 2nd time in past few days when they came back to tie it in the 9th, only to go on to lose anyway.

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      Braves were 1-for-11 RISP.

      In the bottom of the 10th, they had guys on 1st and 3rd with 1 out, and Justin Upton and Chris Freeman coming to bat. Winning run 90 feet away. Then: a pop up and and a K.

      I think some of our LoD guys need to go over there and explain how the Braves are choke-monsters and the season is over for them.

      • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        Miami, too. After 3 innings they were up 3-0, but they lost 5-4 in 13. When it was 4-4 in the 7th, they got the first two guys on, and then had bases loaded with one out. Then a groundout-force-at home and a K. They had two guys on in the bottom of the 10th, too. But struck out three times that inning. They had two guys on in the 11th and didn’t score. They were 2-12 RISP.

        I think some of our LoD guys need to go over there and explain how the Fish are choke-monsters and the season is over for them.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        The Phillies, OTOH, don’t need anyone from outside to explain how they are choke-monsters and the season is over for them.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        Which means. of course, that this is the Mets’ year. They can’t miss. Everybody else in the division is … well, you know.

  6. micksback1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    good news, Nats have s good a shot as any team to win the East, bad news,, the East in the NL is so so weak and clearly the worst in MLB, division champ will be swept 3 straight

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Well, they certainly have no chance against a good team like the Giants in a short series.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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