Two teams enjoying better play collide when Nats, Rockies meet

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The Washington Nationals checked one item off the to-do list over the weekend

Now there is another task they’d like to accomplish when the Colorado Rockies visit for the opener of a three-game series on Monday night

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Washington hadn’t swept a series all season — or since August 2021 — until taking three games from the San Francisco Giants. Next, the Nationals will try to put together a four-game winning streak for the first time this year

“If everything aligns, we’ll come out and win and another victory for us,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said, repeating the concept that he views each game separately

Colorado also was going for a series sweep on Sunday, but it didn’t work out. The Rockies used six pitchers in a 3-2, 10-inning loss at Miami

Still, the Rockies are 5-3 since the All-Star break

The Rockies and Nationals hold the two worst records in the National League, but recent results would suggest that these teams are on upswings

“This group of players, even from Opening Day to right now, has been a group of players who have fought to the end,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s a tribute to them.

The Nationals have several positive developing trends. Among those is the performance of first baseman Dominic Smith, who has nine RBIs this month after recording four in all of June

Smith’s presence has given a boost to young shortstop CJ Abrams, who has at least one RBI in each of the past three games and has three multi-hit games in his last four outings.

Martinez said it has been a good mix on and off the field.

“(Smith) has taken CJ under his wings and he’s trying to help him as much as possible,” Martinez said.

Colorado has been in games decided by one run in four of its past six games.

Rockies outfielder Randal Grichuk, who homered Sunday, has had an RBI in four of his last five games, though he missed a week during that stretch

Colorado’s Kris Bryant did not play on Sunday after a pitch hit his right index finger on Saturday. Black said Bryant is listed as day-to-day.

Both teams should feel good about their pitching staffs based on how this past weekend went. Washington gave up five runs in three games against the Giants, while Colorado yielded seven runs during the trip to Miami.

On Monday, Washington will likely start left-hander Patrick Corbin (6-10, 4.89 ERA), who is 11-7 with a 4.62 ERA in 27 career appearances (26 starts) against the Rockies

Aside from his first start of the season, Corbin has lasted at least five innings in every game. Yet he has given up nearly one home run per start (18 in 20 starts).

Corbin most recently faced the Chicago Cubs last Tuesday. He allowed three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

Colorado will turn to right-hander Jake Bird (2-1, 4.03), who will serve as an opener. Two of Bird’s 45 appearances this season have been starts.

Bird, who has surrendered three runs in 2 2/3 innings across two career relief appearances against the Nationals, started against the Houston Astros last Tuesday. He gave up three runs on three hits in one inning

–Field Level Media

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