Washington Nationals News: Desmond, Ramos are key in Nats’ playoff push

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Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Before tonight’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies, get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com‘s Bill Ladson discusses how Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos will play a key role in the team’s playoff push down the stretch. As Ladson notes in his article, Desmond and Ramos have both struggled mightily with the bat this season, and although they’ve showed signs of improvement of late, they’ll both need to turn their seasons around if the Nationals want to accomplish their goals down the stretch and in October.

Needless to say, it’s been a rough year for both Desmond and Ramos. Prior to this season, both were considered key components of the Nationals’ lineup. This year, however, many consider both tp be  liabilities to the offense and team they once helped lead.

Desmond, in his walk year, is having the worst season of his career. The shortstop is batting a mediocre .217 and has looked nothing like the Silver Slugger shortstop of years past.

Ramos is also in the midst of his worst offensive season ever. Although he’s managed to stay healthy all year long, Ramos’ .241 batting average is over 20 points below his career norm. His career-low .268 on-base percentage doesn’t help, either.

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Despite the troubling struggles of both players, there’s reason to be optimistic about what they can do for the Nationals down the stretch. As Ladson notes, both players appear to be hitting the ball better of late and were crucial in last night’s victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But for the Nationals’ offense to finally find the stability it has been searching for all season long, Desmond and Ramos need to produce on a daily basis—not just in one game. Fortunately for the Nationals, they appear to be on the right track and they still have plenty of time to turn their seasons around.

Also in today’s Daily, Call to the Pen‘s Tim Haberin discusses how the Nationals hope their recent rotation shuffle will help get them back on track in the NL East.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Desmond, Ramos are key in Nats’ playoff push

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — If the Nationals are going to win the National League East title, they need shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos to get hot with the bats.

Thursday was a step in the right direction as they were able to get key hits in an 8-3 victory over the D-Backs.

After being benched on Wednesday, Desmond, who was mired in a 5-for-35 slump (.143) before the game, went 2-for-4 including his 12th home run of the season. Read full article here.

Washington Nationals hope rotation shuffle provides path back into first

(Tim Haberin, Call to the Pen)

The last week or so has not been the kindest to the Washington Nationals. After sitting in the driver’s seat for a good while, they have watched their once-comfortable lead in the NL East slip away at the hands of the New York Mets.

They were swept by their rivals in a weekend series at Citi Field, and now find themselves a game and a half back in the division. Having made a few key upgrades to their offense and bullpen before the trade deadline, the Mets appear determined to finish the season strong and secure their first division title and postseason appearance since 2006.

The Nationals hope that the first step of getting themselves back on track will come this Saturday, as Stephen Strasburg makes his long-awaited return from the disabled list. The right-hander has been out of commission since July 4 with a left oblique strain. Read full article here.

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