What to Watch for: 8.19.13
Washington Nationals (60-63) vs. Chicago Cubs (53-70)
RHP Jordan Zimmermann (14-6, 3.02) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-11, 4.29)
The Nationals made a trade Monday afternoon, acquiring Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus for a player to be named later. DeJesus brings a veteran, left-handed presence, along with the defensive versatility to play all three outfield spots. He’s also a familiar face for several Washington players, including Gio Gonzalez, Scott Hairston and Kurt Suzuki. All four played together as members of the Oakland A’s in 2011, while DeJesus and Hairston also shared a clubhouse in Chicago this season.
DeJesus didn’t have far to go to join his new team – he literally walked out of the Cubs dugout earlier this afternoon, crossed behind home plate, and disappeared into the Nationals dugout on the first base side.
On the field, DeJesus brings the same approach to the plate as other Nationals veterans, especially Jayson Werth. While he carries a career slash line of .290/.366/.448 against right-handers, DeJesus’ 4.07 pitches per plate appearance would put him in the top 10 in the National League with enough at-bats to qualify.
“My game is grinding out at-bats and making the pitcher work,” he explained.
Off the field, the 33-year-old hopes to provide an affable, congenial voice for a young club trying to come into its own.
“Try to be a leader, someone the young guys can learn from,” DeJesus said, when asked about what he brings to the club. “That’s my role, and I’m going to take that to heart.”
1. Denard Span CF
2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
3. Bryce Harper LF
4. Jayson Werth RF
5. Adam LaRoche 1B
6. Ian Desmond SS
7. Wilson Ramos C
8. Anthony Rendon 2B
9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP
The Nationals second half record is just 12-16, but they could be in store for a strong finish. Washington is 2-13 in the second half against the teams with the top four records in baseball (Braves, Tigers, Dodgers and Pirates) but 10-3 against everyone else (Mets, Brewers, Phillies and Giants). Beginning with today’s contest with the Cubs, the Nats play 27 of their remaining 39 games against teams currently at least 10 games below the .500 mark on the season.
Last season, the Nationals went 29-13 against the NL Central, and their corresponding .690 winning percentage paced the Senior Circuit against the division. Washington is just 12-15 (.444) against the NL Central in 2013, including a 1-2 record against the Cubs. The Nationals have seven games remaining against NL Central competition (four at Chicago, three at St. Louis).
D.C.’S HIT MAN SOON TO BE EXPOSED
Jayson Werth’s .334 batting average would rank a close second in the National League to Atlanta’s Chris Johnson (.335) with enough plate appearances to qualify. Werth’s 371 plate appearances are 10 shy of the 381 required (123 games x 3.1 plate appearances per game) to qualify for the NL batting title. His 4.28 pitches per plate appearance would also be tops in the National League (Paul Goldschmidt, 4.19).