Well that was needed. That was a home run. Now let Bryce turn back into BRYCE and let the Nats roll. That's what I want to see. If he and Murphy could keep a team winning basically by themselves (ok Ramos too), imagine what they can do with a couple more bats going.
The Nats now extend their 2016 dominance over the Cardinals to 4 games. Most impressively is how they are doing it, limiting a potent offense to next to nothing. In the past 3 games they've given up 3 runs. Whatever I write asking if this is a great team or just a good one, I do not doubt they have a great starting pitching staff. The starter questions are merely "Oh right now the guys are pitching like 1-1-2-2-3 types perhaps they are only really 1-1-3-3-4 types"
Other notes :
Joe Ross pitched well. I think. I didn't feel like he got hit particularly hard, but I also didn't feel like he was dominating the Cardinals in a "fluke home run is only run" sense. It was more a case where the potentially damaging XBH balls were being hit at the OF while the less damaging single balls were getting through. He also got three DPs behind him which always helps. It was a 3-4 run outing with breaks.
I'll be honest do worry about his pitch counts. I'm not usually a pitch count worrier. I think we cut starters off too early confusing tiredness and decreasing pitch speed with effectiveness. Those things are correlated sure but you should react to the game in front of you, not the game that theoretically exists. If a guy is still getting outs then let him pitch. Maybe his stuff just works for that team on that day. Maybe the fact it's worked for 6 innings gives him a psychological advantage in the next couple. It should be judged then and there and not by some hard and fast rule... most of the time.
See I think for the most part once your body is done setting into place so to speak that you should just be set loose for a few years, to be reigned in at a more advanced age if injuries start to happen. But for me that's about age 23-24 to say... well usually 30ish when players start breaking down. This is when managers can go out there and let you throw 120 pitches if they like, in my opinion. Ross just turned 23 a couple days ago so maybe he's not ready? It's tough to say from the outside. But the fact that every single start of his this year, excluding the one he left after 2, would qualify in his Top 3 starts in pitches thrown last year... that bothers me. Let Stras, Gio, Max, and Tanner go until they look like they can't anymore. But maybe hold Ross back a little for another year.
I really like a rested Felipe Rivero. Keep working in those 2-days off breaks in there if you please.
There's really a gap between the guys hitting; Murphy, Ramos, Revere and
Rendon - all above .925 in OPS in past week - and the guys who are not; Zimm, Bryce, Espy, Werth - all below .625 in OPS in past week. Thanks to the homers last night both Bryce (.561 - he had stopped walking along with hitting and you didn't even notice) and Espinosa (.516) pass Werth (.455) in OPS for the past week. Werth has hit better in the 2nd spot but more accurately he's had one really good game (2-2 double, 3 walks) that's pushing up a mediocre run in the other 10 (8-34, 2 doubles, 4 walks). If the Nats need another bat replacing Turner for Espinosa is the easiest move. But that has very little guarantee of success. Replacing Werth for someone else is far more likely to make an impact.