Washington Nationals: Recent Hot Streak Raises Important Question
By Max Rayman
Buy or sell? It is the age-old question.
Entering June that question was easy. Sell! Sell! Sell! Three weeks ago Washington sat at the cellar of the NL East, with a 21-29 record. Trade rumors were circulating as fast as Jacob deGrom’s fastball, with Max Scherzer at the forefront. MLB Network, ESPN, and Bleacher Report frequently discussed the future Hall of Famer as the top target for the trade deadline. We even hinted that Washington should start gearing up for a firesale.
The start of June was similar to the rest of the season, with decent pitching performances being wasted by the offense. But then the tide slowly started to change during Washington’s four-game series against the Giants. At first glance, Washington splitting with the Giants despite holding them to three runs across four runs is disappointing. But the series was just the beginning of what was to come.
Washington won the fourth game of the series to earn a split and Kyle Schwarber dropped a very memorable quote for the fans. “Remember, guys, this is a good team,” Schwarber told reporters. “Stay with us. Stay with us.”
Since then Washington is 9-1 and overall in the month of June, the Nats have gone 15-7, climbing all the way up to second in the division. A large part of the team’s success has been Kyle Schwarber’s heroics. The slugger has eight homers in his last five games and 12 of his 21 bombs this month.
With the Nationals becoming the hottest team in baseball virtually overnight, it is becoming increasingly tough to decide if Washington should become sellers at the deadline. Currently, the Nats are in the midst of a four-game series with the Marlins, but then they have the daunting task of taking on the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants to end the first half of the season.
If Washington emerges from the dust with a winning record against those three, becoming buyers may be in order. But that raises another problem. Washington has a very thin farm system and with both Cade Cavalli and Luis Garcia off-limits, it becomes even tougher to acquire the necessary pieces.
Mike Rizzo and company are approaching an important crossroads that could alter the direction of the franchise for years to come.