State of the Nats-5/20

State of the Nats-5/20
May 20, 2013, 8:00 am
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Team Record: 23-21 (8-8)

N.L. East Standings

Offensive Game of the Week: Adam LaRoche 5/17 vs. Padres – 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
Pitching Line of the Week: Stephen Strasburg 5/16 vs. Padres – 8 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 SO, 117 pitches (68 strikes)

Top Storylines
Injuries, injuries, more injuries - Already without Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos, the Nats lost two more key players this week in Bryce Harper and Ross Detwiler. Harper (sore left knee) is hopeful to play Monday in San Francisco, but Detwiler’s (strained oblique) future is less certain. Pitching has been a big reason the Nats have a winning record right now, as their offense has been lagging. Losing Detwiler for any longer than one start could be a major issue. The fact they are starting Zach Duke (8.40 ERA) in his place makes that pretty clear.
Offensive struggles – After scoring six runs in each of their first two wins in San Diego at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, it appeared the Nats’ bats were trending in the right direction. But after struggling in two subsequent losses, they now head to San Fran with resurfaced questions about their offense. Danny Espinosa has one hit in his last 28 at-bats and their bench replacements haven’t been any help. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche are the only guys swinging it well it seems.
Giants and Phillies up next – The Nats’ next two series provide the chance for some pretty entertaining baseball. First they head to San Francisco for a three-game series with the Giants. As much as the Nats can complain about their offense, the regression of the Giants’ pitching staff has been just as surprising. They have the fourth worst team ERA in the N.L. currently at 4.21.
The Nats will then host the Philadelphia Phillies in the first matchup of the season between the two teams. The Phillies have the third worst team ERA in the National League, providing a good chance for the Nats’ offense to wake up over the next seven days.
Quote of the Week
Davey Johnson on losing to San Diego 13-4: “Very disappointing. I hate to even talk about that one today. We didn't pitch very well. We got back in the ballgame but Haren obviously didn't have his stuff. The bullpen didn't do it. Tough day.”
Tweet of the Week

This is a little random, so bare with me here. But Lionel Messi dressed his son in a Nats hat this week and that’s noteworthy. Is the world’s best soccer player and perhaps best athlete overall a Nats fan? Probably not, but this is cool:
Mon. – 10:15 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Duke)
Tue. - 10:15 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Strasburg)
Wed. – 3:45 p.m. at San Francisco Giants (Gonzalez)
Thu. – OFF
Fri. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Zimmermann)
Sat. – 7:15 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Haren)
Sun. – 1:35 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (TBD)