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The Morning Briefing: Nationals to face Phillies; DC to allow full capacity at Nationals Park beginning June 11

Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball headlines, news and the latest news for Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Good Tuesday morning, Washington Nationals fans! Thank you for starting the day with us.

Upcoming Games:

  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 pm EDT
  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 pm EDT
  • Thursday, May 13, 2021: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals, 1:05 pm EDT
  • Friday, May 14, 2021: Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm EDT

This morning’s briefing was written by Richard edited by Brynne.

Today’s Top Story: Nationals to face Phillies for first time in 2021

Hoping to turn around a three-game skid, the Washington Nationals will face off against an NL East rival tonight when they host the Philadelphia Phillies starting tonight at 7:05 pm EDT; MASN will have the broadcast.

The Nationals will send out Erick Fedde, who is 2-4 with a 5.26 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) in his career against the Phillies. Fedde allowed five runs in five innings in his last appearance against the Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies will send 1-3 right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson to the mound to face the Washington Nationals offense. Anderson has a 5.54 ERA with 21 strikeouts. However, Anderson still has not pitched more than five innings in any of his six starts.

Returning to Washington DC will be former Nationals right-fielder Bryce Harper. Harper is currently hitting a .292 batting average with 28 hits, six home runs and ten RBIs. This will be the first time since 2019 that Nationals fans will get a chance to either boo or thank Harper for a World Series win! We will see what the reaction is going to be.

The Nationals need their offense to get hot again so that they can begin to re-climb in the NL East Standings.

We will have more in today’s GameNotes.

Office of Mayor Bowser announces no capacity restrictions for large sporting events beginning June 11

If the Nationals weren’t playing tonight, this would be our top story. It is another sign that things are returning to “normal” in the DC area. Yesterday, during a press conference, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that by Friday, May 21, she will order the lifting of nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on public and commercial activities in the District. This loosening does not include bars, nightclubs, or large entertainment and sports venues, however, which will be allowed to operate only at 50% capacity.

“But on June 11, capacity limits and restrictions will be lifted on all those venues that cannot fully reopen on May 21,” the mayor stated. “May 21 is a turning point. There will be no capacity requirements after that for almost all activities, including libraries, museums, gyms and fitness centers, pools, recreation centers, places of worship, business meetings, schools, child care and the like.”

When will the Nationals play to their potential?

As I have noted over the last week, the Nationals were at the top of the NL East and finally getting back to “full strength,” but when they faced the Atlanta Braves and then the New York Yankees, the team plummeted to last place in the NL East. We all know that this team has a lot of potential, and it is just a matter of time until they get in a rhythm. The real question that needs to be asked: will it be too late? The two main acquisitions this offseason that the front office was planning on performing at the plate, Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber have horrible batting averages. Bell is batting .135 (OPS .504), and Schwarber is batting .190 (OPS .602)

Bottom line, the Nationals need more offense; and having two sub-.200 hitters back-to-back in the lineup almost every day kills that and doesn’t properly protect the top of the order. Schwarber has been clutch with his walk-off homers, and I’ve been impressed by his defense, while Bell hasn’t impressed me at all. These two players need to get out of this slump ASAP!

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