It’s been a good week for the Washington Nationals on a whole lot of fronts. Despite playing in an historic heatwave in Atlanta and in almost equally scorching temperatures back in DC, the Nationals have a lot of reason to celebrate the past week of baseball.
If you’ve been following this report card from the beginning, you’ll see that I gave an ‘A’ to the two series sweeps of the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. So you may be asking yourself, how can I possibly be giving an A+ to the past week? Well, for a whole lot of reasons.
The Nats went into Atlanta and took care of a Braves team that was hot on their heels in the NL East. They won two of three, and they only game they lost was when Stephen Strasburg left the game early with a heat-related illness. They also scored 18 runs in the three-game series.
Before beating up on the Braves on Sunday, the Nats found out they would have three All-Stars representing the team in Kansas City for this year’s midsummer classic, while they haven’t had more than two in team history. Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Ian Desmond are all more than deserving of the honor, and it is just another way for the Nats to increase their exposure on the national stage.
Finally, the San Francisco Giants came into town to compete with the Nats for the best record in the National League, and once again, the Nationals offense stood up against some really good pitching. They scored 24 runs on the way to a series sweep against two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Cain, who pitched a perfect game earlier this season.
Thursday night’s game was one of the most exciting and season-defining games of the year for the Nationals. The comeback victory against one of the best teams in the NL proves they’re the real deal, and it earns them the top grade.
Player Of The Week: Ian Desmond
For the third consecutive week, the Nats All-Star shortstop earns our POTW honors. Desmond is riding a 10-game hitting streak while hitting .381 with an outstanding 1.220 OPS. His 3.0 WAR nearly doubles the second-best WAR on the Nats, a 1.7 from Bryce Harper. He has the best WAR of all shortstops in baseball. This is the Ian Desmond we’ve heard about.
The Nationals Weekly Report Card is released at the end of every week (Thursday evening or Friday morning depending on schedule) to give the grade on the Nats prior week's performance.