Washington Nationals Reaction: With another big win, Nats’ offense suddenly on fire
By Pablo Roa
After last night’s 11-4 win over the White Sox, the Washington Nationals’ offense is suddenly red-hot — scoring 31 runs in their last three games.
There was a hint of concern in the air when the Washington Nationals lost two games to the lowly Reds last week. Not panic — this team is too deep and too talented for anyone to panic about a two-game losing streak in June. But there was definitely concern.
The concern, as always, was with the offense. How could the Nationals — who scored seven runs in the last game of a three game sweep of the Phillies — suddenly be stumped by the Reds’ mediocre pitching staff? The Nationals should have, in theory, built off of that sweep in Philadelphia and stayed hot in Cincinnati.
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The Nationals shouldn’t be losing games to a team that boasts the second-worst record in the National League and sits 15 games under .500. In those two losses, the Nationals were outscored 13-5. The Reds almost swept the Nationals, and would have done so had Washington not miraculously overcome a five-run deficit and held on to one-run lead in the last game of the series.
Suddenly, however, the Nationals’ offense has turned things around.
The team scored 11 runs last night on route to an 11-4 victory over the Reds. The victory not only secured a series win for the Nationals, but it was also the third game in a row in which the Nationals scored 10 or more runs.
Even with those two losses against the Reds, the Nationals outscored their opponents 80-39 in their last nine games. Over that span, the Nationals scored 10 or more runs four times.
Baseball is a complicated game, but there’s one aspect of the sport that is fairly simple to understand — you need to score runs to win. If you score a lot of runs, you’re more likely to win. Over the last several days, that’s exactly what the Nationals have done — winning seven of their last nine games.
The Nationals are a team that has long relied on dominant pitching for success. Apart from Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper, the offense hasn’t really shown that it has the fire power to score a lot of runs on a consistent basis, and the inconsistence of the offense has been the team’s only real concern this season.
Fortunately for the Nationals, that trend seems to be changing.
Almost every bat in the lineup appears to be heating up with the weather, and the offense is finally producing at a level that can lift some of the pressure off of the pitching staff.
Whether or not it will last remains to be seen. One thing’s for certain, the Nationals are a far, far more potent team when the offense is clicking. Great pitching can only get you so far, as the Nationals learned in both of their failed playoff runs in 2012 and 2014. It takes 25 players to win a championship, and every part of the team has to do its part for the Nationals to succeed.
The Nationals are hot right now — they’re in first place, they’ve won three in a row and seven of their last 10. Of course, in a week they could be riding a long losing streak. That’s what happens in a 162-game season.
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But right now, the team is clicking, and for the first time in a long time, it’s being led by a suddenly red-hot offense. If the offense — and the team as a whole — can stay hot throughout the summer and down the stretch, it’s going to be a fun season in the nation’s capital.