After sweeping the Miami Marlins out of town, the Washington Nationals sat atop the heap in the National League East. Riding a four game winning streak, the Nationals welcomed the Atlanta Braves into town looking to push them further down the ladder in the division.
After getting swept by the Braves, the Nationals now sit in the basement of the division. As the Nats head to New York for an Interleague battle with the Yankees, fans are left wondering which Nationals team will show up. The decent one, or the bad one.
After a rough series against the Braves, the Nationals are left picking up the pieces of their season once again.
In three games against the Marlins, the starting pitchers for the Nationals were lights out. Against the Braves, they held their own as well. Take away the grand slam Erick Fedde surrendered and the starting pitchers gave up just six runs in the series. Unfortunately, that was the same number of runs the offense put up against all Braves pitchers.
Against the Marlins, the Nationals were able to come up with enough timely hits when needed. Against the Braves, they were not. In the series finale the game was there for the taking, yet the big hit eluded Nats batters.
When the Nationals arrive in New York they’ll be playing a team who has struggled with the bat for most of the season as well. Their .227 batting average is 22nd best in the Majors and twenty points lower than the Nationals. The Bronx Bombers have 16 more home runs than the Nationals.
A series win on the road is difficult, especially in one of the most hostile environments in the league. Will the Nationals play like a first place team or a last place team? My guess is, a last place team.
This team really needs Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber to produce. Victor Robles is struggling mightily with the bat and on the base paths. He has one RBI on the season, in 79 at-bats. As much as I like Yadiel Hernandez, and as much as he hits all the time, when he hits with runners on in high leverage situations, I am not confident. Juan Soto can not come back soon enough, although he did come back too soon against the Braves.
Starlin Castro has driven in a team high 13 runs, yet has failed in so many clutch situations thus far. Trea Turner leads the team in home runs, and also double play groundouts. Right now this team in not good. They are playing like exactly what they are, a last place team.