Washington Nationals: The Lineup At Full Strength Is A Scary Sight
By Max Rayman
The boys were finally back!
For the first six games of Washington’s season they were undermanned, which obviously showed. 11 Nationals started the season on the COVID list, leading to multiple players being called up from the Alternate Site. Against the Braves and Dodgers, the Nationals floundered continuously with runners in scoring position. That will happen when four starters are missing from the lineup. During the first six games, they went 1-5, scored 17 runs, and were shutout three times. While the bullpen played a part in a couple of the losses, the offense went silent for way too long.
But last night against the St. Louis Cardinals, for the first time all season, the lineup was at full strength and it was a sight to see. After only scoring five runs against the Dodgers in three games, Washington put up a five spot against the Cardinals. Josh Bell, Josh Harrison, and Kyle Schwarber, who were all making their season debuts, went a combined 4-12, with an RBI, one run scored, and two walks. The lineup was crippled without them in the middle to add the missing thump.
From the jump, the trio showcased why their presence was greatly missed. Schwarber, had the biggest impact, going 2-5, and provided what turned out to be the game winning hit in the sixth inning. An RBI double into the gap off of John Gant.
Josh Bell took a while to get going. In the top of the third, he had his first real opportunity. The Cardinals intentionally walked Juan Soto to load the bases with two outs, which brought Bell to the plate. Unfortunately, he struck out to end the threat. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that he recorded his first hit as a member of the Nationals. He finished 1-3, with two walks.
Veteran Josh Harrison who was expected to be the Nationals utility infielder, won the starting position at second base due to Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia’s struggles. Last night he went 1-4, with a single in the eighth. Keep in mind, those three have been out almost two weeks and will need to get back into the swing of things, but they impressed nonetheless.
While the sample size is small, Washington’s lineup being at full strength inspired hope for what is to come.