Memorial Day weekend is another guidepost of the season.  One that hopefully eliminates the phrase “well…it’s still early” from fans who refuse to recognize the mounting evidence piling up before their eyes.  Twenty games can be construed a snapshot– and while 51 games may not be the exact picture but it at least qualifies as the outline to eventually be colored in.

The Nationals are off to a 30-21 start…and their NL East lead withstood the nine game division gauntlet (they went 5-4 against the Mets and Miami in that stretch).  They’re still waiting for the bats to come alive:  the Nats rank 19th in the Majors in hitting, and 14th in scoring.  And the rotation has hit a couple of pot holes as of late.  But as opposed to last year’s team that was waiting for everyone to get healthy, this year’s crew feels as though it’s operating from a perspective of warranted confidence as opposed to misguided hope.

Dissecting the Division- the Nats lead the Mets by one game.  That’s with Matt Harvey hemorrhaging (3-7, 6.08 ERA).  Philadelphia dropped 7 of 10 to slip three and a half games back…handcuffed by an offense that has scored the second-fewest runs in the big leagues.  Miami is also 26-24 to start the season…with a rotation that features Jose Fernandez (7-2, 2.82 ERA) and four straight days of closing your eyes.  Yes, the Nats are far from perfect at this stage of the season-but the company they are competing with is far from unblemished.

Division to Watch- the more things change on the west coast, the more the NL West stays the same.  Yes, Arizona and Colorado have made World Series appearances this century and San Diego is a great place to visit–but those three teams are just the Emeralds and Hawks in the world of the Jets & Sharks.  This being an even calendar year, San Francisco has opened a four and a half game lead on LA in Vin Scully’s final season on the mic.  When you’re a Giant, you’re a Giant all the way…

Last Week’s Heroes-  Ryan Zimmerman hits .333 while slugging .704…leading the team in homers while tying for the lead in runs scored as well as runs driven in.  Batting fifth seems to agree with him.  Stephen Strasburg goes 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA while striking out 15 over 12.2 innings…but hats off to the Zeppo and Gummo of the rotation:  Tanner Roark and Joe Ross both pitched well in their respective starts.

Last Week’s Humbled- Gio Gonzalez after a strong start to the season struggled last week…going 0-2 with an ERA of 12.10.  Batters hit .372 off the lefty.  After a surge the week before, Ben Revere hit .182.  Lost in the shuffle of the league-leading 48 walks, Bryce Harper’s hitting an early-season hiccup:  just .167 last week with no walks.

Game to Watch- Saturday in Cincinnati, Stephen Strasburg puts his 9-0 record on the line.  The Reds counter with Dan Straily, who’s off to a decent start (2-2, 2.98 ERA).  The 4:10 start time is perfect-as you can even get in time at the pool while still having time to do something in the evening.

Game to Miss- Sunday Tanner Roark pitches against John Moscot.  He’s 0-2 with an ERA of 4.02 and will be making his second start off the disabled list.  So there’s a chance he might get scratched before then.  The 1:10 gametime not only conflicts with paper and pool time but doesn’t jive with those who like to brunch.  We recommend Fiola Mare on the Georgetown waterfront (get the Uova in Camica).  Just make sure you wear your white pants.

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