Washington Nationals: 5 goals for the 2018 season
By Ron Juckett
The Nats spent most of the Grapefruit League stretching how aggressive they could go on the bases. From stretching singles into doubles to constantly trying to swipe bases, Washington did their best to create runs. That philosophy should continue throughout the year.
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Although we saw the risk of running themselves out of innings in West Palm Beach, the rewards for creating offense through speed outweighs the risks. You can force pitchers, especially tired or ones lacking confidence, to make mistakes by forcing them to think.
Every time Turner or Eaton draw a throw from the mound, the chances increase of a bad pitch to the plate. Harper, Murphy, Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman can crush mistakes for extra bases. The faster Washington can chase a starter, the better off they are.
Only Zimmerman and the catchers are slow-footed. Although Murphy and Rendon are not huge threats to steal, they will take an extra bag when needed.
As Scherzer and Strasburg dictate the game tempo through their pitching, the offense can dictate play by causing havoc on the bases. This season is about crushing opponents. Not in the literal sense of fighting, but by making the rest of the NL mentally drained after a game.
Next: Predicting Nats rotation success
Sometimes, the power game can run over teams. By creating runs and playing small ball, Washington can achieve their on-field goals for 2018. It will not always work but when it does it is devastating.