Washington Nationals: 5 things they must do in 2018

rjuckett
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after scoring on an RBI single by Michael Taylor of the Washington Nationals against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after scoring on an RBI single by Michael Taylor of the Washington Nationals against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next
washington nationals
washington nationals /

STAY HEALTHY

Injuries have hurt the Nats going into October the last two years.

Wilson Ramos, Stephen Strasburg and Adam Eaton were missed during their postseason runs while Harper’s knee was never right last year. In a one-run Game 5, those players healthy might have topped the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs. Remember, Daniel Murphy played with bad hamstrings two years ago and a busted knee in 2017.

Although Murphy and Koda Glover will not be on the Opening Day roster, October is the key. Washington must have all the big players raring to go when the playoff bell rings.

A challenge for the new manager Dave Martinez is balancing his starting pitchers need to go all out from the start with keeping them fresh for the postseason. The first time Max Scherzer glares at him when removed will draw chuckles. Yet, Scherzer and Strasburg are going to need 30 starts and 200 innings each to feel normal.

As with Spring Training, expect older players to get regular rest over the year. Washington has the depth to rotate when needed, especially in the outfield. For Eaton coming off the torn ACL and playing left that is a big deal.

Expect Howie Kendrick to be the reliable super-utility player they need.

facebooktwitterreddit