Series Review: Nats takes two out of three from Kansas City

WASHINGTON NATIONALS SERIES REVIEW: The Washington Nationals took two of the games from Kansas City on the road.

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SERIES RECORD: 2-1

RECORD VERSUS ROYALS: 2-1

NATS OVERALL RECORD: 19-8

DIVISION PLACE: First

RUNS SCORED: 22

RUNS YIELDED: 7

WINNING PITCHER: Stephen Strasburg (5-0), Gio Gonzalez (2-1)

LOSING PITCHER: Jonathan Papelbon (0-2)

SERIES MVP: Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.  Murphy is just on fire.  He raised his batting average of the season back up to .398.  That’s exactly what a 7 for 9 series will do for you.  Murphy was 7 for 9 at the plate with another double as well… [7-9 (.777), 2B, 4 R, 4 RBI]  Ryan Zimmerman joined Murphy with a seven hit series.  Zim was 7 for 14 at the plate.  Sim has two doubles and raised his season average up to .264.  [7-14 (.500) at the plate, 2 2Bs, 3 R, and 2 RBI]

FORGETTABLE MOMENT: Papelbon’s awful blow save during the second game of the series.  Pap was called on to protect a two run lead, with the Nats up 6-4.  Pap couldn’t protect and instead fizzled out, permitting 5 hits and 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

TOP STARTING ARM: Gio Gonzalez pitched 6 shutout innings over 6 innings and only permitted 4 hits. On the season, Gio has an impressive 1.15 ERA.

TOP BULLPEN ARM: Yusmeiro Petit threw 2 more scoreless innings and fanned 2 during those winnings without allowing a hit.

HOT AS FIRE:  Daniel Murphy.  Once his batting average dips into .370, Murphy pops 7 hits in 9 plate appearances to raise that average back up to .398.  What a terrific start to this season for Murphy.  Murphy had another double to give him 10, which ties him for third in the MLB.

STARTING PITCHING:  Again, the Nationals starting pitching staff made it 6 or more innings in each of the three games.  Stephen Strasburg stayed perfect on the season, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs over 6 innings.  Strasburg added 7 more KOs to his 47 total, which is third overall in the MLB!  Strasburg’s win also improved his record to a perfect 5-0.  Gonzalez lowered his ERA to 1.15 with another six scoreless innings.  Tanner Roark allowed 3 runs over 7 innings in a no decision start for him.

COLD AS ICE: Danny Espinosa.  Espinosa went 2 for 12 at the plate and did not score a run or drive one in.  Espinosa’s batting average fell to .185.

What’s Next? Washington stays on the road with another impressive National League team, the Chicago Cubs.  The Nationals are 19-8 on the season while the Cubs are 20-6.  Nats kick off the four game Chicago series with Joe Ross to the mound with his team leading 0.79 ERA and a perfect 3-0 record.  Ross will take on Kyle Hendricks, who is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA.

Season Record: 19-8

Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy (20) breaks his bat on a foul ball against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
 (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)