The Good with the Bad: MIL Series Takeaways

The Good With the Bad is a segment in which contributor Luigi (Ouij) de Guzman (@ouij) and Citizens of Natstown's Alyssa Wolice break down the negatives and positives for each series, respectively. You, the reader, can then decide to see the glass half empty - or full - with each series wrap.

The Nationals returned home to take two of three games in a seemingly must-win series against the Milwaukee Brewers (53-72).


Update. Nats are 5 games behind the Mets. Their tragic number is 35: any number of Mets wins and Nats losses that equals 35 will eliminate the Nats. Playoff odds have dropped to 23.2%.

Red-eye. The Nats arrived in Washington early Friday morning after their humiliating defeat at Coors at the hands of Yohan Flande. They came out flat and listless, and consequently were demolished by a terrible Brewers team 10-3. The Nats should have swept Colorado, and failed. That failure bled into Friday's game, which featured a rare bases-loaded catcher's interference call against Lobaton. The grogginess possibly extended to Tyler Moore, who was notable in that game for his absence—yes, Matty sent Max Scherzer out to pinch hit—as he allegedly stepped on a baseball and injured his ankle.

Sent Up to Sit Down. Trea Turner was therefore called up before Saturday's game. Unfortunately, the most breathlessly hyped young shortstop in the organization is going to find his playing time limited. He's a shortstop and emergency second baseman on an organization that desperately needs an outfielder. The last time an infield prospect spent any time with the big-league side, Wilmer Difo languished on the bench. Turner is likely condemned to the same fate.


Team effort. While the Nationals couldn’t come away with the series sweep, at long last, fans were treated to contributions from virtually every hitter on the team. Even in Friday’s embarrassing 10-3 loss, Bryce Harper and Michael Taylor hit deep solo shots to try to breathe life back into the offense. In the second inning of Saturday’s 6-1 win, Taylor put the Nats on the board first with a two-run shot off Taylor Jungmann. The Nats opened things up in the fourth after Wilson Ramos doubled in Danny Espinosa, and Jayson Werth singled Ramos home. Anthony Rendon knocked in the third run of the inning on a sharp double to left that plated Taylor before Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura helped nab Werth at home. Rendon finally celebrated his second homer of the season in the seventh with a solo shot that brought the Nats to their final score.

Rendon wasted no time tallying his third homer of the season—in Sunday’s matchup, his three-run shot helped the Nats to a four-run fifth inning. By that point, the four runs were almost unnecessary, however, thanks in part to Danny Espinosa’s three-run double in the third. Milwaukee would get to the Nats’ bullpen just enough to make things interesting again, but Washington held onto a Curly W they more or less needed to stay afloat in the standings.

Joe Ross is trying his best to remain relevant. Only time will tell what the Nationals decide to make of Joe Ross. In the meantime, however, the rookie right-hander provided Washington with seven sharp innings Saturday night, during which he allowed only one solo home run and six hits over just 82 total pitches. The win marked his second of the season against Milwaukee, a team that just recorded its 72nd loss of the season. But, on the flip side, Ross’s success demonstrated his ability to mentally overcome two back-to-back road losses in which the Nats were shut out. Even more, Ross showed confidence in his change-up Saturday, and never shied away from the strike zone.

Michael Taylor and the long ball. Michael Taylor dazzled faraway fans with his monster shot in the Rockies’ series which Major League Baseball's Statcast tagged as the longest home run of the majors. More importantly, however, Taylor is showcasing that same power while standing in a batter’s box about a mile closer to sea level. Including the finale in Colorado, Taylor homered in three straight games—and his two-run shot in Friday’s game brought home the Nats’ first two runs on the night. Taylor has helped rejuvenate the Nats offense on days when it has seemed utterly hopeless and his consistency offers encouragement for a team struggling to get its groove back.

Home-field advantage. For the first time since late July, the Nationals celebrated a winning series at home. Even more, Washington came from behind in Sunday’s matchup to triumph amidst Jordan Zimmermann’s rocky first inning. After the Milwaukee Brewers started off with a two-run lead thanks to Jonathan Lucroy’s two-run homer, the Nats cut the deficit in half on a Ryan Zimmerman RBI double in the bottom of the inning. Luckily for Zimmermann, the Nats figured out how to hit off right-hander Matt Garza in time to tally four runs in the third. Zimmermann went on to record his 10th win of the season, and the Nats finally climbed back over the .500 mark.

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