For the Washington Nationals, Monday’s off day comes at a very good time.
Washington is coming off a thrilling, yet disappointing 7-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies, which led to a disappointing series split after what seemed like a strong start that would lead to Washington’s first series win at home against Colorado, but it was not to be.
Now, the Nationals turn their attention to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team they have historically played well against and won the 2012 season series against 4-2, outscoring Arizona 27-23.
Arizona leads the NL West by six games over Colorado, and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. The series lines up with Arizona’s three best Pitchers in Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Patick Corbin facing Washington’s three best in Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.
Cahill, who pitches tonight, went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 2012 vs. Washington, allowing five earned runs in 13.1 innings. Miley, who was right behind Bryce Harper in the 2012 Rookie of the Year Race, fared much worse than Cahill, allowing six runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings against Washington, or 0-1 with a 8.31 ERA. Corbin has mowed through the league thus far, and is looking to go 10-0.
Washington has recently been picked by pundits as most likely to turn their season around, and a series win against a team leading their division by as many games as Arizona would be a great place to start, especially with a road series against the New York Mets looming. That’s no disrespect to the Mets, but it’s a great way to start a winning streak, or at least a “won four of their last five” type of streak Washington needs.
Bryce Harper is set to begin a rehab assignment tonight in Potomac, and Jayson Werth is also day-to-day with a pulled groin muscle. The last thing the Nationals need is for Werth to go back on the DL right when they are preparing to get Harper back, so Werth being in the lineup is an absolute must, as long as he is healthy of course.
What Washington needs is for their offense to wake up, their pitching to be consistent and to play sound defense. So, an all-around strong showing against Arizona is desperately needed. 10 of Washington’s next 13 games are going to be at home, which is exactly what Washington may need to turn things around.