The Washington Nationals swept a doubleheader on Sunday to take the 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins (take that Calvin Griffith!) and get themselves back to .500. One hundred games remain in the 2013 regular season and the 31-31 Nats probably need to win more than 60 of them to reach the playoffs and perhaps more than 63 to catch the Atlanta Braves. They start tonight in Denver with three games with the Colorado Rockies, a team the Nats have struggled against historically. Last year they went 3-4. This year they have Dan Haren, a call-up and Gio Gonzalez as probables for the Denver trip which doesn’t bode well. Curve balls don’t curve as much in the Mile High air and that hurts Gio. Haren is Haren and a call-up is always unknown.
The Post has a good outline of what awaits: The Nationals’ road ahead
The winning percentage of the Braves’ remaining opponents is .454, easier than the .467 winning percentage of the Nationals’ remaining opponents.
Thomas Boswell writes “who knows” what will happen. Getting back Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Bryce Harper will go a long way, the question is when. The Nats have not said anything about Harper’s visit to Dr. James Andrews and yesterday evening, that had me concerned. Harper tweeted out though:
All good! #FinishIt
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) June 10, 2013
I felt better after that, but still no word from the Nats. So, ya, “I have a bad feeing about this.”
The Nats are significantly better with Harper in the lineup than without. MLB Injury News has a take on the situation:
Nationals’ Bryce Harper could return by the end of June . Also, perhaps there are shortcomings to an ironworker mentality for baseball players.
Other recent moves including ending the Henry Rodriguez experiment (remember he part of the Josh Willingham trade1 and speaking of, Willingham is Morse-ian in left2), getting rid of Zach Duke and getting Danny Espinosa out of the lineup via the DL with a trip to the minors likely. That’s a lot of dead wood gone. Anthony Rendon is learning second base on the job, but he can hit and could very quickly make Espinosa obsolete.
Two games are 8:40 p.m. DC time and the finale is a 3:10 p.m. start on Thursday. Friday, the Nats are in Cleveland and I should have a guest prognosticator Q&A on Thursday afternoon/evening.
So, is this the week that either George Will or Charles Krauthammer writes a Nats column? They do at least once a season.
1Willingham was traded for H-Rod and Corey Brown, currently at AAA Syracuse (who looks like a better option than most Nats 4th outfielders)