The last time the Rockies took on the Washington Nationals was July 25, 2019. What a different world we lived in then. Most of us had never heard of a “coronavirus,” Donald Trump was president, and A-Rod and J.Lo were still together. When the Rockies head to the nation’s capital after they wrap up their series with the Braves today, they’ll square off with a nearly unrecognizable Nats team.
After the Rockies’ 8-7 victory that day, the Nats fell to 55-47 on the season but were in the middle of one of the most impressive comebacks in MLB history en route to capturing their first-ever World Series title. That day, Max Scherzer took the mound, and Trea Turner started at shortstop, batting leadoff. Nowadays, those guys are both facing the Rockies more often thanks to a Trade Deadline blockbuster that sent them both to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Nationals’ starting third baseman that day, Anthony Rendon, also went to the City of Angels, thanks to a $245 million free-agent contract thrown his way by the Angels. Adam Eaton, who hit second that day, also spent some time with the Angels this season but was released in mid-August and has yet to re-sign with a Major League team.
Matt Adams also suited up for the Nationals on that fine summer evening. You probably don’t need me to tell you that he’s no longer there, seeing as he spent the first half of this season with the Rockies!
The only notable faces from that World Series run that remain are Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg signed a megadeal after that World Series MVP performance but has struggled mightily with injuries since. He featured in just one game in 2020 and another five so far this season, the last of which came on June 1.
Juan Soto has fallen under the radar a bit thanks to some of the other exciting young guys’ making a splash, but his on-field performance suggests he’s still an other-worldly player. Soto is hitting .313 this year and has the highest OBP in baseball at .457 (thanks to a league-high 120 walks). He’s still the guy in Washington, and they’ll look to lock him down long-term as they work through a rapid rebuild.
One more name Rockies fans will most certainly be familiar with is the legendary Gerardo Parra. He’s back in Washington after a year off following his “Baby Shark” antics that inspired the team’s playoff run but has been out since September 5 with right knee inflammation.
This has been my long way of telling you that the Rockies will be seeing a whole lot of unknowns in their first trip to Washington in over two years. Juan Soto will continue to be the most intimidating guy in the batter’s box, Josh Bell has incredible home run potential, and then it’s youth, youth, youth.
That said, the Nats got an impressive haul from the Dodgers (and others) at the trade deadline. We may not know many of these names now, but we almost certainly will in the years to come. This weekend can be our chance as fans to start familiarizing ourselves early. I know I’ll be doing that as I head to Nationals Park Friday night to take in the game.
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Are you a fan of Trevor Story’s recent barrage of home runs? Me too! And so is Patrick Saunders who wrote about the shortstop’s resurgence at the plate lately. Going into yesterday’s matchup with the Braves, Story had three homers in his previous four games to bring his total to six in the last fourteen. Although his current total of 22 on the year is well below what we’ve come to expect from Trev in recent seasons, the signs of late have been encouraging.
Thinking ahead to the offseason, is it possible the “down year” he’s having could benefit the Rockies in their free agent pursuit of the shortstop? It’s possible, but still unlikely, and this recent tear will surely remind other teams what he’s capable of, if they somehow forgot. For now, all we have to do is sit back and enjoy Story Time.
Bleacher Report picked every team’s three MVPs; one on offense, one on defense, and a pitcher. It’s hard to argue with their picks on any of the three which came together as follows:
Defense: Ryan McMahon
Offense: C.J. Cron
Pitcher: Germán Márquez
I wouldn’t have predicted a non-Nolan Arenado third baseman to lead the team defensively this year, but after the way Ryan McMahon has stepped up, this one is a no-brainer. C.J. Cron used a monster month of August to make that choice relatively easy as well. I’d argue that the toughest pick here was pitcher, but it’s tough to argue with Márquez as the team’s pitching MVP. As good as Jon Gray has been, Germán is the only starter with an ERA under 4.00 and his 167 strikeouts lead second place (Jon Gray) by 27.
Think someone else should have snuck into one of these three spots? Sound off in the comments!
On the farm
A seven-run second inning coming on the heels of a two-run first? That’s a recipe that will yield a victory 99 out of 100 times. And fortunately for the Hartford Yard Goats, yesterday was one of those 99–even if it didn’t come easy after that.
One thing that did come easy? Runs! For just about everyone who stepped up to the plate. After the Yard Goats jumped out to a 9-0 lead, the Sea Dogs could have called it a night. They did the opposite putting up seven runs of their own. Regardless, the Yard Goats kept on coming offensively mashing their way to a 14-7 win.
The most impressive part of it all? They did it without a single home run.
The Spokane Indians may not have scored fourteen runs like their Double-A counterparts, but that didn’t stop them from getting the win last night. A three-run fifth inning followed by a two-run sixth gave the team all the offense they’d need as the pitching held the AquaSox to just three runs.
Starter Chris McMahon tossed five innings of one-run baseball while striking out seven compared to just one walk. Will Tribucher who came in to start the sixth got just one out before giving up two runs, but the bullpen locked it down the rest of the way for three and 2⁄3 shutout innings.
Another high scoring affair took place in Fresno yesterday, but the Grizzlies fell to the San Jose Giants in a back and forth slugfest. They got off and running with a three-run first inning, only to see that lead erased the very next half inning. They tacked on two more runs before a four-run outburst by the Giants saw Fresno in an 8-5 hole.
Despite giving up four runs in the top of the seventh, the Grizzles quickly struck back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame to knot things up at eight a piece. Unfortunately, the Giants’ bats came alive again in the ninth, where four runs gave them a 12-8 victory on the evening.
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