Following an impressive series in Philadelphia, things have not played out how the Nationals would have hoped. Dropping a home series to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend was immediately followed by a 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. However, Wednesday is a new day and an opportunity for Washington to get back on track.
Here are three things to watch for:
1. Where's the relief?: The first couple weeks of the season didn't go well for the bullpen. Week three hasn't gone much better. The relief staff earned the loss on Sunday after allowing Pittsburgh to break the tie in the ninth with two outs and two strikes. On Tuesday, an inability to hold the Giants in the late innings hindered an opportunity at a comeback win. Besides Sean Doolittle, it's hard to think of a reliable and consistent arm in that bullpen. If the Nationals want to get back on track, they'll need some consistency from their late-inning guys.
2. Searching for Consistency: Speaking of consistency, it's something Washington has struggled to obtain on a larger level than just the bullpen. As NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas explained, the Nationals' season has been filled with ups and downs. Philadelphia seemed to be a potential turning point, but two straight losses have stifled that momentum. It's a long season, but it'll be interesting to see if the Nationals can begin to string wins together and build on positives.
3. Silent Bats: Despite a win on Saturday, the Nationals offense hasn't scored more than three runs in four straight games. This comes immediately after scoring 25 runs in two games (there's that inconsistency again). As of late, Anthony Rendon has been doing most of the heavy lifting on the offensive side. Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto have contributed at times, but the Nationals are still searching for more production throughout the lineup.
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After two consecutive rainouts, the Nationals are scheduled for a doubleheader Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Max Scherzer is slated to pitch one of those games, but after breaking his nose during batting practice Tuesday, Scherzer will be a game-time decision according to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo.
“‘We’ll see when he arrives today if he’s capable of pitching tonight," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday morning.
Following his hit in the face while attempting to bunt during BP, Scherzer also underwent a CAT scan to be sure there were no further injuries other than the broken nose.
Rizzo said he saw Scherzer Tuesday night and reported he had a bandage and splint on his nose but was breathing "fairly normally." However, swelling from a broken nose typically spreads to the eye region, which could potentially deter Scherzer's start.
“We’ll see if that curtails his ability to start or not," Rizzo said.
Rizzo said Scherzer will be a game-time decision.
“I think we’ll see what happens when he wakes up today," Rizzo said.
The Nationals are set for a split day-night doubleheader against the Phillies Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05.
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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.
Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.
Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.
The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.
Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.
The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta.
Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.
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