Offense Needs To Continue
On offense, the Nats have scored 66 runs already in just nine games in June (most in the National League). However, they’ve been against Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and the Chicago White Sox. The Reds are dead last in xFIP by a large margin (5.07 to 4.53 in 29th) and the White Sox are 15th at 4.20. Philadelphia has defied all expectations in this department, coming in 7th at 3.78. While that’s impressive, the Nats are one of the few teams to figure them out; 38 of the 66 runs this month came against the Phillies.
This isn’t the top pitching the Nats will face in the playoffs. The Cubs have that. The offensive stats thus far are deceiving due to the low quality of opponents Washington has faced thus far. All 11 opponents have a 4.14 combined xFIP, roughly average. But, eight of those opponents are in the bottom half of the league in that stat. This is not an accurate representation of what we will see from the Nats offense in October.
Again, it’s games against teams like the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants that are most telling — especially when top-three starters are pitching. Not the 40 games against the Marlins and Braves.
The offense is the Washington Nationals’ biggest weakness right now; Bryce Harper has to wake up for anything to happen this season, it’s that simple. Daniel Murphy will end up hitting around .330, which is fantastic, but not enough to sustain the other eight bats in the lineup. Whether the Nats can draw walks, string hits together, and score runs against quality pitching is the difference maker.
Next: A Consistent Bullpen