(Aug. 19-22) Nationals Jumpstart Win Streak against Cubs
The Washington Nationals began a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs with a lopsided 11-1 loss in Game One. Nats starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann delivered perhaps his worst performance of the season, giving up three homeruns in the first five innings.
But that would be Washington’s final loss of the week as the team ignited a five-game winning streak, starting with a 4-2 win in Game Two of the series. The Nationals found great success at the plate with 14 hits, including two each from Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. But pitcher Dan Haren was the star of the game, pitching six innings and allowing just five hits and one earned run.
Right fielder Scott Hairston was the hero of Game Three, when he was called on for a pinch hit in the seventh inning and clobbered a key three-run homer in an 11-6 win.
Game Four of the Cubs series turned into a marathon affair after starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg gave up a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning. After 13 long innings, center fielder Denard Span hit a double, then made his way to third base on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Steve Lombardozzi. A slow tapper up the first base line by third baseman Chad Tracy allowed Span to score and clinch the 5-4 win.
(Aug. 23-24) Nationals Take Two Straight from Royals
Washington kept their winning streak alive against the Kansas City Royals, rallying from a 6-0 deficit with a seven-run fourth inning and eventually claiming an 11-10 win in Game One of a three game series.
The Nationals extended their run to five wins with their 7-2 defeat of the Royals in Game Two of the series. Jordan Zimmermann earned his 15th win of the season by pitching eight solid innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits while striking out seven batters. Both Washington and Kansas City honored the Negro Leagues by wearing retro Negro League uniforms in the game.
Though many thought the Nationals (65-64) would give up on the season after falling so far behind in the wild card hunt, instead the Nats are giving it their best effort. Their resilience resulted in a surprising five-game win streak but also pushed them above a .500 record for the first time in weeks. Washington still trails by eight-and-a-half games in the wild card race, but it’s nice for fans to see some success from a team who were predicted to be World Series contenders at the start of the season.
Nats’ Player of the Week: Bryce Harper
Harper put on a hitting clinic this week with nine hits and four RBI, as well as five runs scored.
After completing their series with the Royals on Aug. 25, Washington will return home to take on the Miami Marlins on Aug. 27 to Aug. 29. Thereafter, the Nats continue their home stand by facing the New York Mets on Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.