State of the Nats-5/13

State of the Nats-5/13
May 13, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Team Record: 20-17 (8-8)

N.L. East Standings
Offensive Game of the Week: Ian Desmond 5/10 vs. Cubs – 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B (saw six pitches in 4 ABs)
Pitching Line of the Week: Gio Gonzalez 5/12 vs. Cubs – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 6 SO, 86 pitches (55 strikes)
Top Storylines
Stephen Strasburg’s continued troubles – It’s kind of amazing a guy with a 3.10 ERA can be considered struggling, but that is the reality for the young ace. After looking great through 4 2/3 innings on Sunday, Strasburg imploded against the Cubs after a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error kept him on the mound. If this is as bad as things get for Strasburg, he will be fortunate. But he has to figure out a way to fight through unforeseen obstacles because it is becoming the story of almost every one of his starts.
Zimmerman’s defense – Zimmerman’s error now puts the Nats’ third baseman tied with Ian Desmond atop the entire league with seven on the season. And in addition to their 14 combined, the team itself has 31 total errors which is second worst in the majors. Zimmerman has been making mistakes on routine grounders, errors that have cost them games in April and May. But what happens when the stakes are higher?
West Coast trip – The Nationals are about to go on their longest west coast trip of the season. They head to L.A. then San Diego, before finishing with a three-game series at San Francisco. The Dodgers and Padres are having rough seasons, but regardless it is a test for a team coming off two straight losses to the lowly Cubs. If they can come out of this road trip on a high note, it could set them up well for what is a tough schedule once they return. 
Bryce Harper’s recent struggles – It is likely due, at least in part, to his procedure to remove an ingrown toenail. Maybe it had bothered him for some time before missing two games because of the surgery. But whatever the reason, Harper has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats and has seen his batting average dip to .297. He will look to get back to the form that made him the team’s best offensive player in the month of April.
Quote of the Week
Ryan Zimmerman after his most recent throwing error: "You'll feel good for a week or so at a time, and you'll have a day where you do something like this. I wish I knew what to tell you. I wish I knew why it happens and why it doesn't happen. Obviously I haven't been able to figure that out yet. It's happening, and I have to keep working and keep going."
Tweet of the Week

Harper tweeted a picture this week of his ingrown toenail and the actual removed nail itself after surgery. To spare you all from having to see that, we chose a different selection. In this one Harper tweets his speedometer while driving at 40 miles per hour.
Road Ahead
Mon. – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Zimmermann)
Tue. - 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Haren)
Wed. – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Detwiler)
Thu. – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Strasburg)
Fri. – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Gonzalez)
Sat. – 8:40 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Zimmermann)
Sun. – 4:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Haren)