Washington Nationals improve to 8-7 with weekend sweep

Although the Nationals lack an ace, starting pitcher Livan Hernandez is off to a good start with a record of 2-1 and an ERA of 2.45. The pitching rotation has been a pleasant surprise thus far. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, user afagen)

The Washington Nationals currently own the second longest winning streak in all of Major League Baseball: three games. Though this may not seem like a big deal, it is a sign of progress.

The Nats improved to 8-7 by sweeping the series against a quality Milwaukee Brewers squad over the weekend.

They first prevailed in Friday’s contest in a nail bitter, winning 4-3 in 10 innings. After Saturday’s game was postponed due to rain, they won both outings of a doubleheader on Sunday, 8-4 and 5-1 respectively. 

Although they don’t have any big-name pitchers in the rotation, all of their starters have shown potential early in the season.

Livan Hernandez, who is first in the rotation, is 2-1 with wins over the Phillies and Brewers, and has an ERA of 2.45.

Although Jordan Zimmerman has a losing record, 1-2, he has actually pitched quite well thus far. He has an ERA of just 2.88 and had a perfect game broken up in the sixth inning against the Phillies before getting the loss.

John Lannan is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.38 and Jason Marquis is 1-0 with an ERA of 3.26.

The bats on the other hand have been a little more inconsistent. Shortstop Danny Espinosa leads the club in batting average at just .256.

Recently acquired star Jayson Werth is batting just .200 and Ryan Zimmerman is on the DL. Ian Desmond, another player expected to have a big season, is batting just .217. All three players will be key to the Nats continued success.

Despite the winning record and the winning streak, they sit in third in the National League East behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins.

Unfortunately for the Nats, they play in one of the strongest divisions in baseball. In addition to the Phillies and Marlins, they are also forced to deal with the Atlanta Braves and NY Mets.

The playoffs are likely not a realistic goal for the Nats this season with the Phillies expected to be the best team in the league, and the Marlins and Braves are expected to be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. However, a winning record is a sign of improvement.

They return to action with a road series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday before traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates on Friday.

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