About the Nationals
While the Atlanta Braves have a nine-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East, Washington still has its eyes set on a National League wild card spot. Entering Tuesday’s opener with the Twins, the Nationals are currently set to host the National League wild card game with a three-game lead over the Chicago Cubs.
Washington’s run to a playoff spot may be somewhat surprising after the departure of Bryce Harper last winter, but the Nationals have had enough firepower to help make up for that loss. Leading the charge has been NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon, who has stepped up for a career season with an NL-leading .337 average, 32 HR and 114 RBI.
The Nationals have also gotten a great season from 20-year old phenom Juan Soto hitting .297 with 33 HR and 101 RBI.
On the mound, the Nationals have been led by a strong starting trio of Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin, but their big issue has been in the bullpen. The Nationals bullpen ranks 29th in MLB with a 5.76 ERA, but with the horses that are in their rotation, they’ve done a great job masking that on the way to a 32-21 record since the All-Star break.
With the Nats relatively healthy (minus former Twin Kurt Suzuki, who is dealing with right elbow inflammation), they’ll look to shake off the feelings of losing five of their past seven games to cement their standing atop the NL wild card race.