|Photo by USA Today|
By Michael Huberman
After completing a sweep of the Chicago White Sox, the Nationals came back down to earth a bit this weekend as they were swept by the visiting Atlanta Braves. As the Nationals look to take two out of three against the Marlins, here’s a look at five players who were hot, and five players who were not over the past week.
Jordan Zimmermann, SP – 2-0/2.81 ERA/16 IP/10 K/1 BB
Jordan Zimmermann picked up the first complete game of his career and second win against the Marlins this year in the Nationals’ 10-3 romp on Monday night. With the win, Zimmermann is now 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.091 WHIP over 22 innings on the season. On a staff full of aces, Zimmermann has been the Nationals' best pitcher so far.
Ross Detwiler, SP – 0-0/1.29 ERA/7 IP/5 K
What a luxury to have Ross Detwiler as your 'No. 5 starter.' Building off his impressive start in Cincinnati, Detwiler pitched like a top-of-the-rotation arm against the Braves, going seven innings and only giving up one run on four hits. However, for the second time in a row, the Nationals’ bullpen failed to hold the lead provided by Detwiler, depriving the lefty of his first win in 2013.
Ian Desmond, SS – 11-27/5 2B/4 R/1.060 OPS
After struggling to start the season, Desmond has been hot for the Nationals at the plate, going 13-31 since April 9 against the White Sox. With two more doubles Monday, and another last night, Desmond now leads the team and majors with seven on the year.
Denard Span, OF – 8-25/5 R/4 RBI/2 SB
Over his last six games, Span has eight hits, five runs scored, and he’s hit safely in seven of his past eight outings. Known for his patience at the plate, Span has seen an average of 4.08 pitches per plate appearance over his last six games.
Jayson Werth, OF – 9-26/5 R/2 SB/.393 OBP
Though he went only 2-11 against the Braves, Werth has nine hits in his last eight games. In that time, he’s reached base at a .393 clip and stolen his first two bases of the season. Werth also leads the Nationals with 10 runs scored on the season.
Gio Gonzalez, SP – 0-1/12.60 ERA/5 IP/7 ER/7 H
On Sunday’s finale against the Braves, Gonzalez had his worst outing as a member of the Nationals, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits and three walks. After the game, Gio said high pitch counts in multiple innings, his failure to attack the strikes zone, and an ineffective curveball were the main culprits for his poor performance.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B – 7-26/1 HR/7 RBI/5 K
Zimmerman’s big night at the plate Monday against the Marlins (home run and two-run single) could be a sign of things to come offensively. But right now most Nationals’ fans are likely concerned with the third baseman’s defensive issues. Zimmerman made three errors over the weekend against the Braves, including two key errors in the team’s losses on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Then last night, Zimmerman made another costly error, this one leading to four unearned runs for the Marlins.
Danny Espinosa, 2B – 3-14/1 HR/3 RBI/.267 OBP
Though he hit his first home run of the season in the Nationals’ 3-1 loss on Saturday, Espinosa entered Sunday’s finale with just three hits in his last fourteen at-bats. Unfortunately, Espinosa left Sunday’s game with a bruised right hand after being hit with a Paul Maholm pitch. X-rays were negative and there’s a chance Espinosa will return Wednesday, though he acknowledges he may not be ready until Friday, when the Nationals face the Mets.
Dan Haren, SP - 1-1/5.79 ERA/9.1 IP/6 ER/17 H
Despite getting his first win as a member of the Nationals last Thursday against the White Sox, Haren's struggles continue. The latest setback was his 4 1/3 inning outing against the Marlins on Tuesday night, where he gave up seven runs (three earned) and seven hits. Over his last 9 1/3 innings, the righty has given up a staggering 17 hits and he’s yet to reach the sixth inning.
Craig Stammen, RP - 0-1/6.75 ERA/2.2 IP/2 ER/3 H
Stammen hasn't exactly been presented ideal relief situations in his most recent outings, but he has failed to stop the bleeding in two of the Nats' recent losses. He gave up the go-ahead home run to Ramiro Pena of the Braves on April 12 and served up an RBI double to Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins on April 17. The latter runs were not earned as Haren handed him the bases loaded, but Stammen could really use a crisp outing and soon.