Will the Nats Heat Up in Hot-lanta?

The Nats just completed a 4-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park and completed this homestand in which they faced difficult opponents from the NL Central, the Cardinals and the Reds.  They don’t play the Reds again this season.  The Nationals won the season series 4 games to 3.
 I was at Sunday’s Nats-Reds game, the only game they lost in the home series against the Reds. If you missed the game, here are some highlights:

  •  The Nats threatened a few times but couldn’t take the win. They stranded bases loaded in the 4th with back-to-back Ks by Desmond and LaRoche  LaRoche extended his hitting slump to 0-for-Jersey Number.
  • In the 5th, Anthony Rendon was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a hit by Denard Span.  He hesitated rounding second and probably should have held a third.
  • In the 7th, Kurt Suzuki laced a double down the left field line that scored Ian Desmond.  This time Rendon stayed at third due to a laser shot on the relay from Xavier Paul to Todd Frazier. 
  • The next inning, Ian Desmond took a Jonathan Broxton pitch high to the center fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Choo tried to make a diving basket catch, but the ball dropped. It probably will not surprise you if I told you that Bryce Harper scored from 1st on that play.
  • Henry Rodriguez came on in the 8th for the Nats.  He got the first out but then walked the bases loaded.  One pitch hit the backstop and ricocheted back and almost hit Rodriguez on the mound.  Wow!
  • Aroldis Chapman was able to get Denard Span out to finish up the game. Span did have another amazing catch at the wall in the 4th.  The Reds defeated the Nats, 5-2. 

Now, the Nats head south to take on the NL East Divison rivals.  The Braves just got swept by the Detroit Tigers in interleague play.  They are on the kind of slump the Nationals were in when they last played each other about 2 weeks ago.

As the team plane travels to Hartsfield-Jackson, the Nationals need to find “The Upton Strategy.” And out of our luck, Mike Rizzo was once the General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Justin Upton’s former team. That means he could help us win.

The Braves haven’t seen the reinvented Jordan Zimmermann, the 4-1 Zimmermann, and Dan Haren, the 1-3 Haren. The Nats haven’t seen Julio Teheran, the 1-0 Teheran, and Kris Medlen, the 1-3 Medlen.

If Justin or B.J. Upton hits a home run, the Braves usually win. If Bryce Harper hits a home run, the Nats usually win. If Paul Maholm pitches, the Braves are awesome. If Jordan Zimmermann pitches, the Nats are awesome. Wednesday will be a good game because Jordan Zimmermann is up on the hill against Paul Maholm. LaRoche needs to break his slump. Wilson Ramos will be off the 15-day Disabled List.

The Nationals bats, which have been sleepy most of April, stopped hibernation in the first three games against the Reds. That only seemed to last three days, though. As the team goes down to Georgia, will their bats heat up in Hot-Lanta? I just hope LaRoche’s offense wakes up soon.  He used to play for the Braves, so maybe he’ll feel comfortable there and start hitting the ball.

Tonight’s Game: NATIONALS @ BRAVES at TURNER FIELD

STEPHEN STRASBURG (1-4, 3.16 ERA) VS. JULIO TEHERAN (1-0, 5.48 ERA) 


Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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