Aug 4, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT
Orioles makeup game - On Monday the Nationals will make up their game with the Orioles that was rained out on July 8. Both teams happen to be 3 1/2 games up in first place in their respective divisions. With the Braves being off, the Nats could have a four-game lead in the NL East by the end of the day.
Back in July the Orioles got the best of the Nats by taking two of three games split between each team’s ballparks. The O’s blew Washington out in the first one by a score of 8-2 before the Nats bounced back in Baltimore with a 6-2 win. The Orioles then took the finale 4-3.
The pitching matchup on Monday night is a good one, as Tanner Roark (11-6, 2.74) will go up against Kevin Gausman (5-3, 3.70), a former fourth overall pick. Gausman pitched at Nats Park last season in the second start of his career. He took the loss after giving up seven earned runs – including three homers – in four innings of work.
A timeline for Zim? – Since Ryan Zimmerman went down with a right hamstring strain, very little has been said about it by the Nationals. We’ve heard a report from MLB.com that it is a Grade 3 strain, and we’ve seen the Nats make a semi-significant trade to help out their infield. Still, no official details.
The team, and Zimmerman himself, appear to be holding out hope his injury is not very serious, and are waiting to discuss it until they can say for sure. At the time they said it would take two weeks of rest before a timeline could be established. Tuesday will mark exactly two weeks since he sustained the injury on July 22.
Even with wins in their last two games without Zim, the Nats are 5-6 since he hurt the muscle. How much success they can have without him is unclear at this point and the pennant race is getting close to heating up.
This week we could find out exactly how long Zimmerman will be out, whether he will be back soon or lost for much longer.
Braves slipping, host Nats this weekend - The Atlanta Braves have all of a sudden become a bit of a disaster, having lost six straight games. They were just swept by the Padres at San Diego, and after an off-day Monday will go to 57-54 Seattle for two games. They then return to Atlanta to host the Nats in the first matchup between the teams since June 22.
The Braves are freefalling and are now 41-47 since beginning the year 17-7. If the playoffs were to start today, they would be two games short of a wild card spot.
What has hurt them the most lately is their inability to score runs. Throughout their six-game losing streak they have averaged just 2.1 runs per game.
The Braves are 6-11 since the All-Star break and in that span have seen several players fall into major slumps. Freddie Freeman is batting .209 with 17 strikeouts and a .293 OBP in the second half. Andrelton Simmons is hitting .148 and has just 11 total bases in 16 games since the break.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Anthony Rendon 8/2 vs. Phillies – 3-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B, SB
Pitching game of the week: Stephen Strasburg 8/3 vs. Phillies – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 10 SO, 99 pitches, 68 strikes.
Quote of the week:
Rendon on getting close to a cycle on Saturday:
I heard a few people in the stands going: ‘Get the triple! Get the triple! I didn’t want to. That meant I’d have to run more. I’d stop at second base.
Tweet (or Instagram) of the week:
Gio Gonzalez loves dressing up his dog Stitch. Here is a ‘tribute’ to Derek Jeter:
MON – 7:05 p.m. vs. Baltimore Orioles (Roark)
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Gonzalez)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Fister)
THU – 12:35 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Zimmermann)
FRI – 7:35 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Strasburg)
SAT – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Roark)
SUN – 8:05 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Gonzalez)
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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