The first games after the All Star break are the equivalent of jumping into a pool after spending all day in the scorching sun. The feeling is amplified by a series win, and even more so when it’s accompanied by a flurry off-field fun:
The trade deadline is approaching. #Sources are going to be trending on Twitter soon. Jon Heyman knock-off Twitter handles are primed to break fake news stories. The hot stove hasn’t really gotten going yet, but already the Nationals have been named as potential suitors for a whole host of players. As a team in the playoff hunt, it’s natural for people to speculate about what upgrades Mike Rizzo might make to his roster. But the Nationals are a first-place team, so where exactly could Rizzo try to improve the ball club?
Much speculation has swirled around the Nationals potentially acquiring a reliever to beef up the back end of their bullpen. They are frequently named as a suitor for the Yankees’ pair of fireballing lefties: Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. The list doesn’t end there, with Sean Doolittle, Fernando Abad, Jeremy Jeffress, and Alex Colome as members of a very deep group. Suffice it to say, there are quite a few ways the trade deadline could go.
Against a tough Pirates squad looking to fight their way back into the playoff picture, Tanner Roark turned in yet another impressive outing Saturday night. Although he couldn’t quite go the distance, he did turn in eight scoreless innings in the Nationals’ win. The Pirates struggled to even put together anything that could resemble a rally while Roark was on the mound. Pittsburgh can at least take some solace in the fact that they haven’t been the only team to struggle against Roark in 2016. He’s been on a tear since his first outing in 2016 and now holds an ERA under 3.00.
Sequels can’t all be better than their originals, but any sequel that ends with Bryce Harper and Kayla Varner married is one worth seeing in theaters twice.
The midway point through a baseball season can signal arguments concerning one game in 162. Like squirrels know when to start storing nuts for winter, baseball people know when to start picking fights about the All Star Game’s mandated importance. With the feuds come trying baseball-less nights. But the absence of baseball comes with a built in distraction of extra, well, off-field stuff.
The All Star Game has come and gone and the Nationals kick off the second half of the season with an impressive six-game lead in the NL East. There have been a lot of ups and downs getting to that six game lead. Some players have clearly gone above and beyond expectations while others have frustratingly fallen short. Let’s figure out who those under/over performers are so far this Nationals season.
While not necessarily falling at the zenith of the season, this week marks the traditional midway point of the MLB regular season; the All-Star Break. It includes the time-honored tradition of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, all culminating in the 87th MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. During this four-day-long excruciating hiatus without any meaningful baseball (but this one counts!) the 89.5% of MLB players who aren’t All-Stars take this time to go on vacation while the rest head to San Diego for this “showcase”.
Entering this season, it was seen as a fait accompli that the Nationals would call up Trea Turner to start at shortstop on May 31, when it would be assured that the team would have an extra year of contractual control on the young shortstop. Danny Espinosa “won” the job in the spring, but he was simply a placeholder, intended to keep the six spot warm until the rookie arrived.