Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: One Max Scherzer Wild Pitch Makes A Difference

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Jun 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams (9) walks to the pitchers mound with catcher Wilson Ramos (40) to change pitchers against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Turner Field. The Nationals defeated the Braves 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Time For Ramos And Desmond To Step Up

Without a lot of normal everyday players in the lineup such as Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Denard Span, the Nats have had to rely on a lot of role players to step up. While some have stepped up and filled in nicely, it’s been two of the Opening Day starters that have not pulled their own weight.

This month, the Nats are hitting .207 as a team, which is the worst batting average in all of baseball. Two of the main reasons for that are catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond has taken his fair share of criticism this season, but Ramos has really struggled as of late.

In 11 games, Ramos is 7-for-42 (.167 average) with one home run and three RBI’s. He has three hits in his last 26 at-bats and has not driven in a run since his two RBI night on July 5 against the San Francisco Giants. Plus, while Ramos has actually stayed healthy this season, his average has gone down each month, going from .266 in May to .250 in June. The 27-year-old is far removed from the player who had a 21-game hit streak earlier this year.

As for Desmond, he is 3-for-37 (.081) this month with one RBI. He has had not a hit in each of the last five games and he has struck out six times over that time span. Desmond has moved further down the order in recent games, including hitting behind Matt den Dekker yesterday.

When you looked at how the Dodgers approached Bryce Harper in the series, they were intent on not giving the Nats slugger anything to hit on Friday because they weren’t afraid to pitch to Clint Robinson or Wilson Ramos. Other than Harper’s two-run homer off Kenley Janssen Saturday, Los Angeles’ top two pitchers shut him down.

Against Kershaw and Greinke, Harper went 0-for-5 with a walk and all five official at-bats resulted in strikeouts. Against Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom (the starters for the Mets the next two days), Harper is 3-for-20 with no RBI’s and nine strikeouts.

When facing strong pitching, the Nats need a collective effort to get the job done. Harper has carried the team at times this season, but how long can he truly carry them? It is time for Ramos and Desmond to step up.

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