Reaction: Washington Nationals Getting Hot At The Right Time
The Washington Nationals defeated the Kansas City Royals 13-2 Wednesday afternoon, making them 5-1 on their current road trip and setting up a great series with the Chicago Cubs this weekend.
Over the past few years, the Washington Nationals’ offense has been something that could be seen as one of their weaknesses. This could be attributed to various reasons such as injury, inconsistency, or even the coaching staff, but this year that is not the case. The Nationals ‘offense is firing on all cylinders right now, and it could not come at a better time.
This season, the Nats have been the best in baseball at scoring in the first inning, and Wednesday afternoon this held true. The Nats took advantage of some poor defense from the defending World Series champions, and gave Stephen Strasburg a six run lead going into the bottom of the first inning.
Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth both recorded RBI doubles in the first, and Zimmerman ended up having a three-hit day. Both Zimmerman and Werth are really starting to heat up this season and this will only make the offense more dangerous. Dusty Baker has done an outstanding job of giving both players days off and keeping them fresh, and it is paying off in a big way.
Bryce Harper, who came into the game 1 for his last 23 at the plate, had a great game and took a big step into getting out of his slump. In the first inning Harper got a bloop single to fall into centerfield for an RBI to give the Nats an early 1-0 lead.
This may have been good for Harper’s confidence, because in the fifth inning, Harper crushed a homer on a Dillon Gee breaking ball, his 10th of the season, and increased the Nats lead at the time to 12-2.
Out of all the Nats players on offense this year, no one has been as hot as Daniel Murphy, and he continued this Wednesday. Murphy went 4-for-5 with three RBI’s and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Murphy increased his average on the season to .398 and hit his fourth home run of the year. It was a move that was criticized by some when the Nationals signed him this winter, but Murphy is proving all the doubters wrong and has been the Nationals best, and most consistent presence in the lineup this season.
Wilson Ramos also had a great day at the plate going 3-for-5 with an RBI. The Nats really needed Ramos back after his absence because of the death of his grandfather and he has been great at the plate since. Clint Robinson went 2-for-3 with 3 three RBI’s and a walk, in a spot start at first for Zimmerman. Getting Robinson going will be very key to the Nationals success and he has been very good on this road trip and is starting to get his swing going.
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Not to be lost in all the offense was Strasburg, who had another great start. He worked around some trouble early and went six very solid innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out seven to improve his record to 5-0 (2.36 ERA).
The Nats offense and pitching are firing on all cylinders right now, and it could not come at a better time. They will start a four game series with the Chicago Cubs, who have baseball’s best record. Ben Revere is set to join the Nats in Chicago, which will only make their offense more dangerous.
Next: District Daily: Revere Expected To Rejoin Nats Thursday
When Revere does return, someone will need to be sent down. The candidates are probably Michael Taylor or Matt den Dekker. Taylor has really struggled early this season, and maybe Dusty Baker will feel it to be beneficial to send Taylor down and try to get right at tripe-A. Although den Dekker has not been great, he does provide some left handed pop off the bench, and he adds speed and solid defense in the outfield.
Whatever the Washington Nationals decided to do, the series with the Cubs still looks to be one of the best of the season, and could be a NLCS preview in early May.