After the Nationals took a 6-4 loss to the Brewers yesterday afternoon, they completed a terrible road trip by going 1-7. They did not hit, pitch and catch the ball in this trip. This puts the Nationals to 21-28 for the season, and they are 9 games back of first place.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Nationals were better than people think. After all, they had series wins against the Braves and the Marlins few weeks ago, and it looked like everything was on the upswing.
A bad road trip changed everyone’s perception, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It shouldn’t dim the work the team did in the first quarter of the 2011 season.
The Nationals did well in that time period. They received good pitching performances out of their starters and their relievers. They made plays on defense, especially in the infield. They found ways to win those tight ballgames. It was good enough for the Nationals to win games against NL East teams and hover around the .500 mark.
This team provided hope in the first few weeks of the season. John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Sean Burnett continue to develop into effective pitchers. Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos, and Danny Espinosa turned out to be a revelation as everyday hitters.
The best part about this team is they are exciting to watch, which no one could say in the first few years they played in the District. That should be a sign the Nationals are heading in the right direction.
Now, they are not going to play in the level the Phillies are. They are not ready to be a winning team just yet.
They don’t have hitters that are ready to be stars. Ramos, Desmond and Espinosa are going through growing pains. They are going to wow folks, but they are going to struggle.
The veterans are not good enough to carry the team. Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and Pudge Rodriguez are role players at best.
The starters are going to be inconsistent at times. Zimmermann and Lannan are still learning to be established starters that can win every fifth day.
As great as their defense is, they are going to make errors at times. That happened during the Brewers series, which the outfielders had a hard time reading where the ball was going and the infielders couldn’t throw the ball .
The relievers are going to be worn out at times for being overused.
These things are supposed to be expected from a young team. It’s going to be frustrating, but it will be beneficial moving forward in the next few years.
Does this mean the team is going to be bad in the next few months? That’s hard to tell. It’s hard to make evaluations based on a bad road trip. Every team goes through that during the course of the season.
It wasn’t long ago the Red Sox played terrible baseball to start the season, but here they are in first place. In a long season, no one should make much of a bad road trip, and then make predictions based on that.
Everyone thought the Nationals would struggle after losing two of three against Phillies few weeks ago, but they showed resiliency by taking series against the Marlins and Braves to make it a good road trip.
If there is one thing about the Nationals, they are resilient. They won’t be overwhelmed on a bad trip. This is what one can expect from a good young team.
It’s hard to tell what the Nationals are going to do this season. Everyone thought they would do bad, and understandably so when they compared the team’s talent level to other teams in the division. It turned out they could play with the NL East teams.
This team did not win games by accident. They have to be good enough to win games, and they showed that in the first two months of the season.
The hope is the team is good enough to win 70 to 80 games. That’s what the team has to do this season. It’s a good way to get fans to think this team is showing progress.
They need to know how to sustain this good play for the next four months. It’s not going to be easy, but the talent is there to get it done.
If there is something to learn in this young season, there’s a lot to look forward about this team for years to come.
Seeing this team grow is more rewarding than the finished product, and that’s why this team is worth watching now.