World Series Dream Match-up (Nationals vs. Tigers) Still Alive But On Shaky Ground

(Photos by A Curious Introvert and Stats from mlb.com)

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The MLB trade deadline passed last week and the two teams in my dream World Series match-up, the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers, headed into the deadline with very different strategies for the final two months of the season.  The Washington Nationals appear to still be very confident with their players and only made one move prior to the deadline by signing a reliever, Jonathan Papelbon, now that they are finally seeing major players return from the DL, with Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon back in the line-up and the hopes of Denard Span and Stephen Strasburg returning soon.  After a week of denials, the Tigers decided on a fire sale prior to the deadline and moved David Price DSC_1007to the Toronto Blue Jays for three left-handed pitching prospects, Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets for two right-handed pitching prospects and Joakim Soria to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop JaCoby Jones.  The Nationals appear to still be intent on winning a World Series while the Tigers, fearing they would lose those players in free agency after the season, decided to take their chances with the remainder of this season and look toward the future.  DSC_1207I am still confident with the Nationals chances of making a run for the World Series with the great hitting of Bryce Harper, who leads the National League with 29 home runs and is hitting .331, and their pitching staff that may have struggled at times, but still has a tremendous amount of talent.  Yunel Escobar - Washington NationalsYunel Escobar (.314) is the only other Nationals player hitting over 300 and the Nats bats need to heat up as the team is only hitting .249 as a whole.  The Nationals offense will be tested in several tough road series against the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals IMG_0737and the final series of the year against the Mets (all four teams have great pitching staffs).  In the absence of Miguel Cabrera, who is hopefully returning by August 15th, and the additional loss of Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez has taken up the power hitting for the Detroit Tigers with 29 home runs and 71 RBIs.  The Tigers have  a chance to make-up ground on the Royals with four series against the AL Central leaders, Kansas City Royals, in the last two months and with the impressive performance of the new pitcher Daniel Norris, strong pitching by Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander finally winning his first game, the continued hot bat of J.D. MartinezIMG_0708 and Cabrera returning to the line-up for a much-needed morale and bat boost (especially after the loss of Price and Cespedes).  I am refusing to give up on the Tigers chances of making the playoffs even though the last month has been very difficult as a Tigers fan with the absence of Cabrera, DSC_0947the struggles of Verlander and last weeks loss of Price and Cespedes.  Heading into the last two months with both teams 6-10 since the All-Star game, the Nationals swept by the Mets last weekend to lose their lead in the NL East, the Tigers behind the Kansas City Royals by 11.5 games in the AL Central and the Nationals losing 6-4 tonight and the Mets leading late in the game 12-0, Gabby and I shall be channeling all the extra mojo we can toward our favorite teams to keep our World Series dream alive until it is time to paddle our sorrows away.DSC_1935

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