Washington Nationals Rapid Reactions: Nats Can’t Get Out Of Their Own Way


Tuesday night at Fenway Park saw the Washington Nationals put up their best offensive game of the season. Down 5-1 in the top of the fifth, Washington was able to string together hits, get on base, and put six runs on the board to take the lead. At 7-5, you would think Washington had a chance for a huge win. Then, the theme of the early stages of the season took over. The defense and the bullpen continued to falter as the Nats now find themselves at 2-6.

Before I get to the negatives, let me first stress the positives about this game. That positive came from the offense and the lineup change Matt Williams made. He put Yunel Escobar in the leadoff spot, who leads the team in hits with ten and now has a seven-game hit streak. Escobar did leadoff the game yesterday with a base hit.

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Michael Taylor was put in the number nine spot because the strikeouts continue to happen in large amounts as he has 12 on the season (second behind Bryce Harper’s 14). However, this was a good move to take some of the pressure off of Taylor and it showed last night when he went 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI’s.

This Is a offense that will continue to get better as Denard Span could be back soon now that he has began his rehab assignment down in double-A Harrisburg last night. However, it comes back to the defense and bullpen losing the game.

The Nationals bullpen has not been able to hold leads early in the season. Matt Williams has tried mixing and matching different relievers, but he has not been able to find the right match to get to closer Drew Storen, who has only appeared in two games this season.

Yes, the defense has not helped, but this is where Washington could use Casey Janssen, who is still out with a shoulder injury. If Janssen was healthy, Washington would only have to matchup relievers for the seventh inning because they would have a pitcher that has proven he can get big outs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Now, I want to switch gears to the defense. When you watch this team play, it looks as though each player is very tentative because they are nervous to make a mistake. For example, when Ian Desmond had a chance to throw out the runner at the plate in a 7-7 tie, he decided to get the out at first, allowing the run to score. If Desmond had not misplayed a ball to start the inning, does he take a chance there. Plus, the errant throw by Blake Treinen which allowed the tying run to score is something that can’t be overlooked because it’s a play that should be made.

Right now, Washington has to get over the mindset of what can go wrong, will go wrong in the field. There is enough time to find the answers, but as Williams continues to stress, if you want to win games, you have to catch the ball. The Nationals have the talent to win, but they have to avoid beating themselves and getting in their own way.

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