Almost a perfect weekend for the Nats and already a winning road trip. It still could end with a bad taste if the Nats happen to get swept by the Marlins, but you gotta believe they'll take at least one game (though they don't have a definitive advantage in either of the last two games - not a disadvantage either though Edwin Jackson has pitched solidly all year, and in game 2 Josh Johnson hasn't come back fully from injury). 6-3 or 7-2? That'd be crazy good.
The Braves were dinged up, sure, but their offense performed competently in the face of adversity. It was the pitching that failed them. So the weekend story is either the Nats offense or Braves pitching, depending on how you look at it. Right now you'd say the Braves pitching since they gave up eight to the Cardinals, while the Marlins held the Nats to 3, but let's give it a few more games to see if the Nats offense has turned a corner. And hell - maybe even into next series, since the Marlins park can depress run scoring.
Some quick notes
Perfect example of why the closer role is idiotic. In an important series the Braves best reliever, Craig Kimbrel, pitched one garbage inning at the end of an 8-4 loss. He's pitched one whole inning since the 20th of May. The Braves are not using their best arm in important situations because they might need him later. Except 'later' hasn't come for 2 weeks. It is a maddening waste of resources, akin to the Rangers keeping Josh Hamilton on the bench for 9th inning pinch-hit home run opportunities.
Wang takes over for Detwiler in the rotation. Anyone surprised? Anyone?
Bryce Harper is easily the hottest Nat over the past week. .389 / .500 / .722. On May 18th he was hitting .230 / .318 / .419 and it was perfectly reasonable to think if he slumped into June that he might be flipped for Morse. Now that's crazy talk. He won't keep that up that line obviously, but it's next to impossible to see a scenario where Bryce doesn't spend the whole year here. You just can't see him go into the kind of slump necessary to force that move.
Outside of Bryce and Jesus Flores, no one is hitting exceptionally well but they are all hitting with power. Ankiel, LaRoche, Zimm, and Espinosa all have 3 XBH in this past week. Even "Singly Steve" Lombardozzi has a couple doubles and ZNN has a homerun.
Just when you thought he was breaking out Desmond goes ice cold .100 / .143 / .150 over the past week. He is what he is. Also shows you that if a team is hitting well, they can carry a bad bat.
The starting pitching has been fallible but the relief pitching has been close to perfect. Gorzo, Perry, Burnett, Clippard, Stammen no runs allowed. If only H-Rod wasn't still terrible (told ya it wasn't closing)
Don't be worried about Strasburg. He's getting unlucky with BABIP over the past month (.360+) and is still pitching good enough. He'll be dominant again as soon as the luck turns.