Jul 21, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
On the road - The Nationals took their first series of the second half with a 5-4 win over the Brewers on Sunday, and now they head out of town. Nine road games await them beginning with the Colorado Rockies on Monday. They then go to Cincinnati for three games before going south to Miami.
Both the Rockies and Marlins have been among the league’s worst this month. Colorado is 4-11 in July and Troy Tulowitzki missed Sunday’s game with a leg cramp. The Marlins are 6-9 this month – worst in the NL East – and hold a -23 run differential in July.
Though the Reds are just 8-8 this month, they are 28-19 since May 28. They are 2 1/2 games out of first in the NL Central, but could provide a decent test for the Nats.
Not to look too far ahead, but the pitching matchups for Nats-Reds are pretty good:
Friday, July 25 – Tanner Roark (9-6, 2.91) vs. Alfredo Simon (12-4, 2.74)
Saturday, July 26 – Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.74) vs. Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.18)
Sunday, July 27 – Doug Fister (8-2, 2.90) vs. Mat Latos (2-1, 2.79)
Zimmermann returns Tuesday - Jordan Zimmermann should be all set for Tuesday in Colorado after recovering from a right bicep strain. The two-time All-Star threw a bullpen session on Saturday and felt no discomfort in the muscle. The Nationals now believe it was just a cramp.
Though they seem to have avoided a scare on this one, the Nats are not certain Zimmermann is completely in the clear. Matt Williams said on Saturday that Zimmermann will be monitored from start to start. At this point there is no reason to believe he will not be fine moving forward, but it is still something to keep in mind as he takes the mound on Tuesday.
Zimmermann last pitched on July 11 and will start after 10 days of rest. The right-hander has well-documented struggles when he pitches after extra time off. On normal, four-day rest he has a 3.02 career ERA. But when he gets at least one extra day or more, Zimmermann’s career mark goes up to 3.72.
Nats offense blowing up - Though Bryce Harper has struggled overall since his return on June 30, his teammates have thrived around him in the lineup. Check out these stats for the Nats’ regulars in the month of July since Harper came back:
Denard Span – .351 BA, 11 R, 4 2B, 6 BB, .413 OBP, .834 OPS
Anthony Rendon – .267 BA, 8 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 16 R, .763 OPS
Jayson Werth – .385 BA, 6 HR, 20 RBI, .904 SLG, 1.388 OPS
Adam LaRoche – .140 BA, 4 R, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 12 SO, .417 OPS
Ryan Zimmerman – .392 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI, .627 SLG, 1.068 OPS
Bryce Harper – .213 BA, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B, .685 OPS
Ian Desmond – .294 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4 2B, .811 OPS
Wilson Ramos – .349 BA, HR, 6 RBI, 2B, .442 SLG, .805 OPS
Aside from LaRoche, just about everybody has been mashing so far this month. Even Harper is heating up with six hits in his last 14 ABs. Pick your poison.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Ryan Zimmerman 7/20 vs. Brewers – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB, HBP
Pitching game of the week: Tanner Roark 7/19 vs. Brewers – 7 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 5 SO, 112 pitches, 76 strikes.
Quote of the week:
Ryan Zimmerman on Tanner Roark:
“One of the coolest things about baseball is the stories that you see develop. Tanner’s one of the best stories. It just shows you: keep working hard and keep doing what you’re supposed to do like he does and it will pay off. He’s been great. He’s fun to play behind, he goes right at the hitters. It’s been a lot of fun to watch.”
Tweet(s) of the week:
The Nats’ bullpen had two great tweets this week. This first one is a picture sent out by Craig Stammen of the gift he received by his teammates for finishing his college degree at the University of Dayton:
— Craig Stammen (@cstammen35) July 18, 2014
This second one is a funny picture from Ross Detwiler:
— Ross Detwiler (@NationalDet) July 19, 2014
MON – 8:40 p.m. at Colorado Rockies (Fister)
TUE – 8:40 p.m. at Colorado Rockies (Zimmermann)
WED – 3:10 p.m. at Colorado Rockies (Strasburg)
THU – OFF
FRI – 7:10 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Roark)
SAT – 4:05 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Gonzalez)
SUN – 1:10 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Fister)
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
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.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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