In the series opener against the New York Mets, Washington Nationals pitchers held their opponents to just four hits. The result was a 2-1 Nats win. That Mets lineup featured Francisco Lindor, Javy Baez, Pete Alonzo, and J.D. Davis. Mets fans were unhappy, voiced their displeasure, and the whole thumbs down to the fans celebration for certain players was eventually revealed.
In the series finale against the Mets, Nationals hitters were held to just three hits. The result was a 9-4 Mets triumph. This was a Washington lineup which featured Juan Soto and Josh Bell, and, that’s about it.
General manager Mike Rizzo knew this was going to happen the moment he signed off on the trades which sent Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, Kyle Schwarber, and Trea Turner away. He knew this would happen when he gave the go ahead for manager Davey Martinez to pencil in Luis Garcia and Carter Kieboom into the lineup on a regular basis.
The Nationals hitting performance in the series finale against the Mets may be the rule moving forward, not the exception.
Honestly, I am kind of surprised it took this long for an outcome like this to happen. Lane Thomas went on a good run, but can he sustain it over the course of a baseball season? St. Louis didn’t think so. Tres Barrera got off to a hot start after being thrown into action. He’s cooled off of late.
We know, players go through ups and downs, hot streaks and cold streaks, and the occasional off day happens. Though when faced with a potential playoff team (are we still considering the Mets a playoff team), this current Nationals lineup is going to be overmatched.
Teams won’t pitch to Juan Soto, as evidenced the his 102 walks thus far this season, two coming in Sunday’s game. Teams will take their chances with Josh Bell, because three out of four times they are going to get him out. Bell was a little better than the averages say, and was able to hit two homers against the Mets in the finale.
Aaron Loup hadn’t allowed a home run all year, so he decided to play his percentages when facing Soto. Juan tagged him for a solo shot. Three hits. Four runs. All via the long ball. The long ball from two guys you’d expect to hit home runs.
Walk Soto and take your chances with Bell. That’s going to be the motto moving forward for teams facing the Nationals. Nats batters walked six times and had a man reach on an error. Didn’t matter. Couldn’t take advantage of it. This team doesn’t play small ball well, and has too few people who can play long ball.
That’s not an isolated issue. The Nationals have struggled to score with the bases loaded, runners on base, the bases empty, all year. Thomas isn’t going to get the golden sombrero every time out. Alcides Escobar isn’t going to hit nothing but “atem” balls, and Yadiel Hernandez won’t take the collar most days. But as a whole, we are going to be looking at a lot more of these days moving forward.
That’s baseball. Momma, said there would be days like this, there’d be days like this my momma said. We just hope they are few and far between.