Quick Links

Nats Stock Watch: Rotation continuing to dominate


Nats Stock Watch: Rotation continuing to dominate

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 5-1

Team slash: .269/.336/.406

Team ERA: 2.29

Runs per game:  4.6


Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 1-0/ 15.2 IP/ 0.00 ERA  

For this edition of Stock Watch, we probably should have just put 'the starting rotation' in this section, but we'll still single people out. Zimmermann was battling a brief bout of inconsistency  -- he allowed 13 earned runs in his three starts prior to last week -- before he posted back-to-back stellar outings. With 15 1/3 shutout innings over two starts, he's lowered his season ERA to 3.16. 

Stephen Strasburg, SP: 1-0/ 7.0 IP/ 9 K 

His first outing back from the disabled list was encouraging, but not dominant. His second was just about everything the Nats hoped for from a healthy Strasburg. His fastball had life, touching 97 mph at times, which set up his off speed pitches in two-strike counts. When he's able to pair his heater with that devastating breaking pitch, he looks like the guy who took the game by storm when he was first called up in 2010. It's been just two starts since his return, but if he's going to pitch like this in the second half of the season -- look out. 

Casey Janssen, RP: 2 GP/ 0.00 ERA 

Sure, it's easy to notice how dominant the starting staff has been over the past week or so. But don't forget about the bullpen, which has quietly stabilized of late. There are the occasional hiccups, of course, but for the most part things have been relatively smooth. Take Janssen, who since his disastrous outing in Cincinnati on May 30 (four runs allowed in just one inning) hasn't allowed a run to cross the plate since. In fact, that appearance in Cincy accounts for the only runs Janssen's yielded all season long. He and recent addition David Carpenter have served as an more than adequate bridge to Drew Storen in the ninth inning. 

Michael Taylor, LF: .304 AVG/ .360 OBP/ .478 SLG  

It's pretty evident that Taylor is getting more and more comfortable as he gets extended playing time in left field. The 24-year-old rookie had a pretty up-and-down start to his season, but he's now seen his average rise from .214 on May 30 to .250 as July begins. He's more confident at the plate, taking fewer poor swings and doing a better job of working the count in his favor. And when he gets his pitch, he usually doesn't miss. The gaudy power numbers he had in the minors haven't showed up yet in the big leagues, but there's no reason to doubt those will come if he continues to develop. 

Clint Robinson, 1B: .286 AVG/ .429 SLG/ 5 RBI 

Raise your hand if you had Robinson batting cleanup for an extended period of time before the season started. Don't worry, we'll wait. The 30-year-old utility man, who prior to 2015 was a career minor leaguer, has proven to be a key presence off the bench while filling in admirably for the injured Ryan Zimmerman. He along with Taylor and others show just how deep the Nats' roster is; so much so that the club can get by for a few games without many of the regulars playing, as it did over the weekend in Philadelphia. That's a credit to them as players, but it's also a nod to the organization for building a complete roster. 


No one this week. That'll happen when a team wins nine of their last 10 games. 

Quick Links

The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


Quick Links

Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.