Washington Nationals: Exact moment the rebuild sunk in
Our Washington Nationals tore the house down. At first, it was foundation from which the house was built (Max Scherzer and Trea Turner). Next, it was the load bearing walls (Yan Gomes and Daniel Hudson). Since the theme was everything not nailed down must go, the couches and recliner (Brad Hand, Josh Harrison, Kyle Schwarber) were snuck out before the building collapsed. The Nationals even found a taker for the lamp they were about to put out on the curb (Jon Lester).
There were a lot of veteran faces removed from the everyday lineup, and replaced with either youth or career minor leaguers. As fans, we knew the final two months of the season were going to be a struggle. Regardless, we are fans. We are going to follow our team because we root for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back.
Game one after the trade-deadline was a winner, so we figured we would tune into game two. In the eighth inning of the game is where something took place when we realized our remaining games in 2021 were going to be a struggle.
The Nationals gutted their team and will patch together makeshift lineups from here on out.
In game two against the Chicago Cubs, the Nationals trailed 6-1 as they came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Three hits and a walk later, the bases were loaded and the Nats were bringing the tying run to the plate.
Yes, the Nationals have had their troubles hitting with the bases loaded. Troubles to the tune of a .184 batting average. Just eight extra base hits in 98 at-bats with the sacks packed.
We are fans though. Even though we know the numbers, we have hope. Bases loaded, no outs, best case scenario, the Nationals leave the inning with the lead.
As the Cubs went to the bullpen, I looked at the next three hitters due up for the Nats. That is when I was hit with a sack of potatoes. We are in a rebuild. That’s when, my best case scenario turned from ending the inning ahead, to pleading for the Nationals to get a base hit.
Due up for the Nats, Tres Barrera, Carter Kieboom, Adrian Sanchez. Up to that point the trio combined to go 1-10 in their career with the bases loaded. The lone hit, a Sanchez single back in 2017.
No worries, let’s pinch hit. Josh Bell. Oh, he hit earlier in the inning. Andrew Stevenson. Oh, he already pinch hit. Losing Josh Harrison’s versatilty meant Gerardo Parra wasn’t going to hit for an infielder. Rene Rivera wasn’t coming in either.
The game depended on these three players. As you know, the Nats didn’t get a hit and scored a lone run, a sacrifice fly by Kieboom. With the vets gone, this young group is going to get thrown into the fire, and gain the experience they need to succeed one day. For a fan with high hopes, that day can’t come soon enough.