Nats begin critical stretch in Detroit

If the Washington Nationals are to be a factor in the playoff picture this season, the push begins now. Having won three of four at home against the Braves, Washington visits Detroit to begin a monthlong stretch of winnable series, mostly against teams with losing records until the All Star break.  

More come-from-behind wins

The Nats didn’t play their best baseball in the first two games against the Tigers, but managed two more come-from-behind wins Tuesday and Wednesday. Closer Kyle Finnegan gave up a homer in the ninth Wednesday but still earned his 19th save a night after getting the win in the series opener. Riding a five-game winning streak, Washington is now three games under .500. For the playoffs to be a realistic possibility, Washington will need to be above .500 by the mid-July break.

Winker, Thomas and Abrams lead the charge

During the recent winning streak, Jesse Winker has hit .389 to pace the offense, and Lane Thomas has continued his resurgence, batting .333. But CJ Abrams has thoroughly rebounded from his May slump, delivering three doubles, a triple, two homers and eight RBI in the past week.

Meanwhile, Washington’s pitching staff continues to exceed preseason expectations, despite the recent injury to Trevor Williams. The Nats’ team ERA of 3.93 is eighth in the National League, and Finnegan is second in the NL in saves.

Home soon

Washington will go for the sweep in Detroit Thursday before returning home to host the Marlins and Diamondbacks. Curiously, the Nats have played worse this year at home (13-17) than they have on the road (19-18). Look for that home record to improve in the coming week.

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