Those are some interesting numbers for the Washington Nationals this year. 28-29, their record. .229, their team batting average. 478, the amount of hits they’ve given up this year.
Yeah, somethings askew. After last year’s game 5 meltdown, Davey Johnson uttered the words, “World Series or bust”. It’s leaning towards the latter. In the early offseason, the Nats were a general pick for World Series champs in 2013. They were looking even better, with Denard Span and Rafael Soriano coming along for the rid, leaving the Nats with a great center fielder and a great closer. Opening day was marvelous. They won 2-0, as Strasburg pitched 7 stellar innings, and Bryce Harper hit two home runs. And then.
Then, it got hard, fast. 15-0 loss? Check. Losing to the Mets? Check. Injuries? Check. And that’s where we stand right now. Here are some reasons for Nats fans to be depressed, and then some reasons to be optimistic.
Why to be depressed: Bryce Harper is showing he can be injury prone, with knee and face injuries after playing too hard, crashing into multiple walls in California, and swelling in his knee has gone up. Jayson Werth is hurt, again, and he has missed 28 games already. Wilson Ramos has been gone for 30 games. Stephen Strasburg could be showing he’s destined for more time on the disabled list, and let’s not forget that the Nats’ bats have not heated up. At all. They average 3.46 runs a game. They are only better than Chicago and Miami. Ouch.
Why to be optimistic: Jayson Werth returns tomorrow, so that provides serious leadership not only in the clubhouse, but also in the games. He was crushing during rehab. Bryce Harper, after he gets back, should be returning to his incredible pace, and is pretty darn good in general. Ross Detwiler should be back in a week or two, and Nathan Karns has stepped up. Stephen Strasburg will pitch wednesday, so he seems to be okay. The Nats have been missing some of their big bats, so they will be a glad addition. Jordan Zimmermann has really come into his own, and is playing like an ace. LaRoche and Zimmerman have shaken off their cold starts, playing well now at the plate and in the field. (Zimmerman has reduced his errors a ton). The final thing to be happy about if you are a Nats fan is that the schedule is getting easier. Take a look at the april and may schedule comparing the Nats and Braves.
HARD TEAMS FOR THE NATS (Series): Cincinnati, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, LA Dodgers, San Fransisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta. HARD SERIES FOR NATS: 12.
HARD TEAMS FOR THE BRAVES: Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, San Fransisco, LA Dodgers, Washington. HARD SERIES FOR BRAVES: 8
The Nats’ schedule gets a lot easier, very soon. Like, tomorrow, starting a stint with the Mets and Twins, and they won’t see a “tough team” for another 2 weeks, and then it gets much easier come July. The Braves’ schedule gets harder around July.
I can’t tell you to be worried or optimistic for the rest of the season, but what I will tell you is this. The Nats have a great chance to win it all, and they have a great chance to miss the playoffs. We’ll just have to find out.