3 and 3: Looking Back at the Giants, Looking Forward to the Rockies
3 Things on San Francisco
The Nationals played some of the best baseball we’ve seen them play all year in a thoroughly entertaining 3-game demolition of the San Francisco Giants, formerly the No. 2 team in the N.L. Here are five things to take away from the sweep:
1. The Back End
The Nats beat a very good team with the back end of their rotation. The Giants have one of the top pitching staffs in baseball, but even their top three starters couldn’t hang with the Nats. The combination of Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler, and another stellar series by the bullpen allowed the Nats to post a very respectable 3.66 ERA in the three games.
2. Hitting the Best
When the Nats plated 35 runs in four games at Coors Field, it was easy to suggest that the notoriously thin air of Colorado was to blame. Not so, apparently. The Nats scored 24 runs against the Giants – good for an even eight runs per game – something that just doesn’t happen. San Fran came in to the series with a 3.37 team ERA, and left with an ERA 15 points higher.
3. No Fluke
Perhaps the most amazing stat of the series? In the last 2 years, the Giants were 74-1 in games in which they led by three or more runs. The Nats somehow managed to grab two such wins in two nights, an accomplishment that speaks to something very important: we may be beyond the point where we simply think the Nats’ bats are hot. Perhaps it’s just the potential finally coming through.
3 Things on Colorado
1. Home Cookin’
The Nats entered Colorado a few weeks ago with a 2.95 team ERA. In the four games at Coors Field, that pristine ERA, which had been under 3.00 for 63 of 70 games, shot up to 3.11, thus proving that no pitching staff escapes Colorado with good stats. What does that mean for the Nats? It means they get to face the Rockies at home, where the pitching staff is decidedly better. Sweep?
2. The Matchups
There really isn’t much to say here, except this:
Strasburg (2.81) vs Pomeranz (3.72)
Gonzalez (3.01) vs Francis (5.16)
Zimmermann (2.70) vs Guthrie (6.28)
3. Heading to the break on fire.
If the Nats manage to sweep the Rockies, as they are entirely capable of doing, they will be riding a 7-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break. Since you never know how a team will perform in the week or so after the break, going into the break with such confidence is critical. The Nats can’t get overconfident – falling in a series to the Rockies could be very detrimental to the rest of the season.