Most of the Washington Nationals lineup has stayed the same in the first week, but Anthony Rendon’s spot in the order keeps changing. Is that a problem going forward?
When you talk about the Washington Nationals lineup, the big question usually is whether or not Dusty Baker is going to hit Adam Eaton second behind Trea Turner (when Turner’s healthy). So far, Eaton has stayed in the top of the order and it has shown good dividends (.485 on-base percentage and eight walks in seven games).
The lineup has hit their fair share of home runs, but one player who has gotten off to a slow start in 2017 is third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rendon is 3-for-25 (.120 average) with a RBI in the first six games of the season and missed Opening Day because of a calf injury.
Now, Rendon went the whole month of April last season without hitting a home run and still had a productive season. No one should be panicked about his slow start, but one thing to keep in mind is how Baker has used him in the lineup in the early stages of the year.
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In those first six games, Rendon has hit second, sixth, and seventh two times. On Sunday, it was kind of surprising to see him hit second because Jayson Werth is usually a good choice to hit in that spot considering his ability to take pitches and draw walks.
It may seem like it’s no big deal where a hitter bats in the lineup, but it can allow that hitter to get into a rhythm and eventually lead to good results. You could make the case Baker hit Rendon second on Sunday because he wanted to get him more at-bats and get his season going.
There was one big lineup surprise the first week and that was Ryan Zimmerman batting fifth behind Daniel Murphy. But, that may actually be a good idea to help Rendon. Last season, the 26-year-old hit .309 out of the number six spot in the order with seven home runs and 19 RBI’s.
Last season, Baker switched up the lineup spots for Werth and Rendon early in the season and it paid off for the offense. It is early, but he needs to do that again and hope that it brings the same result.
Eventually, Rendon will find his swing again. When he does, the Washington Nationals lineup will be even more dangerous. Considering they put up 19 hits last night without a hit from Rendon, that’s saying something.