The Washington Nationals continue to hover around .500 this July and their playoff hopes are hanging in the balance. They really need to show some urgency.
Now back at the .500 mark, they’re 6.5 games out in the division and 5 out in the wildcard. If they want to make the playoffs, the team, and maybe the front office needs to show more urgency.
The most glaring needs right now and a starting pitcher and a catcher. With Roark struggling again on Friday, Mike Rizzo may need to address this sooner rather than later.
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The right-hander went five innings, giving up eight hits, allowing four runs and striking out five. But the damage was done in the first inning, allowing three straight hits to open the game, then a sac fly and RBI single.
With his experience in the bullpen, he could convert into somewhat of a long-man if the team acquired a starter. But it will be interesting to see if the Nats executives go for a rental like J.A. Happ or a controllable pitcher like Chris Archer.
Either way, a move must be made soon to save the team’s playoff hopes.
Adams stays hot with a bomb
The Nationals obsession with solo home runs continued on Friday, as Matt Adams proves his value again with a missile in the eighth inning.
It was his 14th of the season, and it improved his OPS to a sparkling .918 as he continues to rake. We should be seeing Adams in the lineup against all righties moving forward. But, if he stays hot, he may sneak some starts against left-handers too.
Kelley quietly pitching really well
In a strange turn in the season, Shawn Kelley has turned himself into a useful arm in the backend of the bullpen. He allowed one hit and struck out two en route to a scoreless inning in the ninth.
Over his last 20 appearances, he has a 1.33 ERA, giving up runs in just three of those appearances. With some players like Justin Miller and Ryan Madson worked heavily, Kelley could get an appearance or two in the late innings.
He’s deserved a shot to fully redeem himself at the very least.