Having the weekend series against the New York Mets as a barometer would have been nice for the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, the team is not at full strength health wise, leaving the three games to be played with makeshift lineups. The Nationals again struggled to score runs as they were shutout in both of their losses, the fourth and fifth times this year they have failed to score in a game thus far in the early season.
Yes, Jacob deGrom pitched one of the better games you’ll see all year in the first matchup of the series, though there is no excuse for the lack of run production. In the absence of Juan Soto someone has to step up and provide offense. Filling in for Soto, Yadiel Hernandez showed he can get on base, he just needs someone to get him over, and in.
In the absence of Juan Soto, Washington Nationals outfielder Yadiel Hernandez had a productive series at the plate against the New York Mets.
Everywhere he has played, Hernandez has hit. He has also shown flashes of power as well, his 33 home runs at AAA-Fresno, in 2019 attest. While his power has not translated to the Major League level, he has shown a propensity to get on base. Hernandez had a hot camp, hitting .469 in spring training this year. Eleven of his fifteen hits were singles. Didn’t matter. He was getting on base for the bats behind him to drive him in.
After pinch hitting in game one against the Mets, Hernandez started the last two games and stroked out four hits, while walking twice. Yes, his hits were all singles, but from the two-spot in the lineup, he was getting on base ahead of Trea Turner, Josh Bell, and Kyle Schwarber. The Nats scored him just one time.
Hernandez can not fill the shoes of Juan Soto, though he shouldn’t be expected to. If Yadiel can provide back-to-back multi hit games, the Nationals have to take advantage of that and get some big hits from guys who are accustomed to doing so. When Soto gets healthy, Hernandez most likely gets sent to the alternate training site. Having the Nats win a few while he is filling in is a must if they want to keep pace while Soto is out.