Washington Nationals: Is Gio Gonzalez in for a Career Year?

mweyrich
Apr 22, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) stands on the mound during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Minnesota Twins 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) stands on the mound during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Minnesota Twins 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 22, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor (3) stands by the on-deck circle against the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Minnesota Twins 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor (3) stands by the on-deck circle against the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated Minnesota Twins 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Tough Lineup Decisions are Up Ahead

It isn’t time to panic yet, but a lot of hitters in the Washington lineup aren’t, well… hitting. Leadoff man Michael Taylor is batting .192 with 26 strikeouts. Jayson Werth’s slash line is a concerning .180/.286/.393. Danny Espinosa is hitting a cool .182. Even Ryan Zimmerman (.234/.296/.328) and Anthony Rendon (.229/.289/.277) are struggling.

Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy can’t do it all for the Nats’ offense. Without any support around them, things could get ugly very quickly for this Nationals team. Manager Dusty Baker may not be thinking about it now, but there are tough decisions ahead if the Nats continue to hit like they are right now.

"“We’re 14-6. You don’t start moving guys yet,” he said. “And if you shake up the basket and there isn’t nothing happening in the basket, when you shake it up, there still ain’t nothing happening. It don’t really matter where you’re hitting if you’re not hitting. And everybody can’t hit in front of Harper. And some of the guys hitting in front of Harper still aren’t hitting.” (h/t Chase Hughes, CSN Mid-Atlantic)"

If you want to give your hitters a little more time to turn things around in their current spots, okay, I can give you that. But the leash cannot be too long, especially for hitters like Espinosa and Werth, who have immediate replacements waiting in the wing.

Meanwhile, Trea Turner is hitting the cover off the ball in AAA, posting a .357/.430/.529 slash line with six stolen bases (six-for-six on attempts) in 18 games so far this season. How long can the Nats justify keeping him in the minors when the player above him can’t even hit the Mendoza line?

In other news, Ben Revere will be making rehab starts soon and should be back in the Washington clubhouse for the Cubs series. With both Werth and Taylor struggling mightily, it will be interesting to see who Dusty picks to make a majority of the starts.

Next: Is Gio Gonzalez in for a Career Year?

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