Last night, after the Washington Nationals put up 34 runs in the three previous games, the offense could not manage to get a run against Matt Harvey. To be fair, Harvey is off to a 5-0 start and is still hitting that fastball at 97 miles per hour deep into his outings. Plus, Washington is 1-3 against him in seven career starts. Even with Denard Span back and Anthony Rendon resuming his rehab in Harrisburg, there is one player that Washington still needs to get going for this offense to put up consistent production.
I am talking about Jayson Werth. Werth, who did not play in spring training games because of offseason shoulder surgery, It does take a while for a player to adjust, especially because of a lack of at-bats in the spring. However, it is May 2 and I don’t think many people thought that Werth would be without a home run at this point in the season.
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Now, to be fair, the Nationals have still been one of the home run hitting teams in the National League. They are fourth in the NL in home runs (20) and second in the league in runs scored (103). Once Werth does get going, this offense is going to take another step forward and that has to be scary for the rest of the league.
After Friday’s loss, Werth is hitting .164 with six RBI’s. Four of those RBI’s came this week during the Nationals’ three-game win streak. However, he is tied for the lowest hit total among regular starters on the Nats. He has the same amount of hits as Dan Uggla and both have played in the same amount of games as Uggla (16) .
There is no need to panic. Last season, Werth hit .278 before the All-Star break, but hit .317 in the final three months of the year with 28 RBI’s. The key is that Werth continue to keep a positive mindset and be that clubhouse leader the Nationals need as they try to get back to the .500 mark.
Last night, Werth slipped out in left field in the bottom of the eighth inning on a flyball hit by Daniel Murphy, which allowed three runs to score. However, until last night, his struggles at the plate did not affect his defense.
It’s still relatively early and all signs eventually point to a turn in the right direction, but this now has to be an area of concern when you consider he only has two extra base hits this season. If the Nats get him going, that is something that can cause a long winning streak.