Washington Nationals: Juan Soto is about to do some heavy lifting

Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals celebrates a two-run home run in the eighth inning during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park on July 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals celebrates a two-run home run in the eighth inning during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park on July 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Well, the San Diego Padres punched, and they punched, and they punched some more. For twenty six innings they whaled away at the Washington Nationals. The Nationals absorbed most of those blows. Bent over, hands covering their head, they took shot after shot. When the Padres stood up to take a break, a battered and bruised Nationals team emerged from their defensive position and delivered a jab of their own.

In thirteen of the first eighteen innings they played, the Padres scored runs, in the first series since the All-Star break. All told, in the three games, the Friars scored the equivalent of five touchdowns and two field goals.

Thankfully, the Nationals salvaged the series finale, in dramatic fashion nonetheless, and will have a little bit of momentum when they host the Miami Marlins to start the week.

A little bit of momentum which hopefully snowballs downhill. A bat which has been in a slight slumber, has awakened, and the broad shoulders of Juan Soto is ready to carry this team down the stretch.

The bat of Nationals outfielder Juan Soto awoke during the Padres series.

Soto had pedestrian numbers as he entered the All-Star break. His two-run home run in the eighth inning, didn’t prove to be the knockout punch to the Padres, though was a staggering blow which put the Nationals on top in a see-saw affair. While Alcides Escobar’s walk-off hit an inning later gave the Nats the win, Soto’s homer capped off an impressive weekend where he seemed to find his power stroke once again.

In the three games, Soto had seven hits, three of which left the yard. He also walked twice. With the way Escobar has been getting on base, and the way Trea Turner has been hitting, if Juan Soto can keep the power going, the Nationals are going to put up some runs in the near future.

Soto seemingly had handed over the reins of the team to Turner. The team can be Soto’s again if he can hoist them on his shoulders and the Nationals can put together a few wins. This bunch has the pull-yourself-up-from-the-bootstraps-mentality, time to translate that to some wins.

We’ve seen in the past how participating in the home run derby has negatively affected some players’ swings. Not Juan Soto. He may have found something after competing in the derby. He found it at the right time, too.

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The Nationals just need some pitching now, to make sure Soto’s offense is enough to put some curly w’s in the books.

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