Bounceback. Market correction.  Call it whatever you will, but the Nationals notched a key sweep over their NL East foe New York Mets to re-establish themselves after a rough road trip.  The sweep keeps the Mets at bay…and has the Nats in front as we reach another regular season marker.  Fourth of July brings morning baseball to the district and a chance of rain in the forecast.  Pay no mind-nothing but sunny skies on the fourth of July for the Nationals.

Injuries to the Rotation, or rotating the injuries?- Stephen Strasburg comes off the disabled list to toss six and two thirds innings of no-hit ball just as the team places Joe Ross on the DL with shoulder inflammation.  Meaning Lucas Giolito stays a little longer.

Division Dissection- the 6-1 week moves the Nats 17 games over .500 at 50-33.  The Mets after getting swept in DC sweep the best in the Majors Chicago Cubs…taking the finale  14-3.  Five games separate the two teams with Miami now six and a half off the pace.  Philadelphia and Atlanta remain on the outside, looking in.  Or at least pretending to look in.

Division to Digest- So the Cubs won’t clinch the NL Central by Independence Day, even though it looked like that might be the case when they started 39-16.  Even with their four game losing streak, Joe Maddon’s team still leads the division at 51-30.  St. Louis and Pittsburgh both were figured to be in the Wildcard chase this season, and that is exactly where they are–chasing.  The Cardinals recent roll puts them one game out while recent contender Pittsburgh reaches the .500 mark with a summer surge.  Both teams have enough recent regular season experience to give them an edge over newbies Miami or perennial underachievers LA in the race to reach the one game showdown.  Milwaukee and Cincinnati are your proper cellar-dwellers.

Last Week’s Heroes-  Danny Espinosa wraps up one incredible series against the Reds with his second grand slam in four days.  The shortstop hit .423 last week with 5 homers and 17 RBI.  Ben Revere hit .391 with 9 runs scored.the losing streak.   Lucas Giolito tossed four innings of one-hit ball in his major league debut.

Last Week’s Humbled- Michael A. Taylor has not had a fun 2016.  He’s struggled in the leadoff role (.206 in  136 of his 191 at bats).  Last week he went 0-8 with 2 strikeouts.  Joe Ross landed on the disabled list after allowing 8 runs on 11 and a third innings worth of work.

Game to Watch- Friday Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71 ERA) pitches against the NY Mets Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41 ERA).  Can Strasburg string together two solid starts coming off the disabled list?  And can the Nats repeat their performance last week against Syndergaard (5 runs in 3 innings)?

Game to Miss- Wednesday the Nats conclude their homestand by starting Tanner Roark against Milwaukee.  The 4:05 start will be the sixth straight day they’ve had a different start time…so you might just miss the game unintentionally.

 

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