The Washington Nationals currently sit in second place in the National League East division with a 14-11 overall record after notching a .500 won-loss performance for the six-day stretch beginning April 21.

April 21-23: Nationals Lose Series to Angels 
The Nationals opened the week with two straight losses to the L.A. Angels, including a 4-2 loss on April 21.

In Game One, starting rotation pitcher Tanner Roark was outstanding, allowing just seven hits and no runs in more than six innings pitched. But Tyler Clippard came in to relieve and gave up four runs in one inning, losing the game for Washington. The Nats struggled on offense, too, recording just three hits the entire game.

Game Two was worse for Washington as they lost to the Angels, 7-2, on April 22. Rotation pitcher Taylor Jordan gave up four earned runs in the first inning alone, six total runs and eight hits in just five innings pitched. The Nationals were losing 6-2 when he was finally yanked from the mound. Washington’s batting struggles continued as they had just three hits all game for the second straight day.

Washington was able to break the slump, beating the Angels, 5-4, in Game Three of the series on April 23. Gio Gonzalez started the game at pitcher, but had just an average performance, allowing two earned runs in five innings. His shaky start put the Nats behind, 4-1, early.

But Washington was able to make a comeback, recording 11 hits as a team. First baseman Adam LaRoche had three hits and an RBI. Second baseman Danny Espinosa had two RBI and catcher Jose Lobaton hit a clutch home run in the ninth inning that helped ice the Nationals’ comeback win.

April 24-26: Nationals Take Two Big Wins over Padres
Washington suffered a loss in Game One of its series, 4-3, to the San Diego Padres on April 24. Another shaky pitching start hurt the Nationals as rotation pitcher Jordan Zimmermann allowed five hits and three earned runs in six innings. Washington piled on the hits with 16 total. Espinosa and LaRoche both hit home runs. But the Nats managed to find home plate just three times.

Washington, however, fired back with a vengeance in Game Two, routing the Padres, 11-1, on April 25. Shortstop Ian Desmond, left fielder Bryce Harper, third baseman Anthony Rendon, Lobaton and LaRoche each had an RBI, and the team poured in 17 hits total. But the biggest story was the dominance of rotation gem Stephen Strasburg, who went seven shutout innings, striking out 11 batters out before he left the mound.

Game Three was just as pretty for Washington as they shutout the Padres, 4-0, on April 26. Roark finally got his shutout victory, pitching nearly flawless for nine innings; he allowed only three hits, no runs and had eight strikeouts throughout the entire game. Desmond led the team with three hits and an RBI.

Nationals Player of the Week: Tanner Roark
Roark had two very impressive performances throughout the last six games. He hasn’t allowed a single run to be scored in his last 16 innings pitched, recording 13 strikeouts along the way.

Next up: After closing out it’s four game home series with the Padres on Sunday, April 27, Washington will travel to face the Houston Astros in a two-game series on April 29-30. The Nats finish the week by taking on the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game away set May 2-4.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor