Correct me if I’m wrong, though don’t the Washington Naitonals pride themselves on practicing the fundamentals at the beginning of spring training every year? Seems like I’ve heard each spring that manager Davey Martinez has been at the helm, a need to focus on the little things that win baseball games.
What happened this year?
The team can’t steal bases with success. The team can’t sacrifice bunt correctly. The team doesn’t hit a ton of home runs and they don’t play small ball. For a change, they are playing good defense this year. However, with all the issues the Nationals are having, are we surprised they are five games under .500 and in the basement of the National League East?
The Washington Nationals need to improve on one fundamental aspect of their game as a start to solving their offensive woes.
Scoring runs has been difficult for the 2021 version of the Washington Nationals. They are getting on base. They are just not getting around the bases. When they get to third base with less than two outs, the offense is stalling. Driving that runner in with a base hit isn’t even the problem, it’s providing a productive out which has also been elusive for the Nationals.
Thus far on the season, no team is worse than Washington at scoring a runner from third with less than two outs. No team. Too many scoring opportunities wasted, by hitting atom balls, striking out, popping up, or flying out to to a shallow part of the outfield.
Going for the big inning is one thing, though sometimes a player just has to give themselves up and ensure they get good wood on the ball to get it deep enough to score the runner from third base. Granted, squaring a ball is easier said than done. For championship caliber teams this is a must. Runs can not be left on the field.
A quarter of the Nationals games thus far have been decided by one run. 51 times the Nationals have failed to score a runner from third base with less than two outs. 51 runs left on the field. Championship caliber teams find ways to win. If the Nationals are going to get back in the race, they need to start doing the little things to win baseball games, starting with scoring runners with productive outs, if not hits.