The 2013 Major League Baseball season is underway, the Washington Nationals are roughly 30 games into the year. Washington has high expectations placed upon them this season by many pundits, analysts, and fans. They haven’t lived up to those expectations thus far, but there are still 100 plus games left to go in the season. They are currently 15-14, while it isn’t great it is still good enough for second place in the National League East.
In the nine series played this season, the Nationals have won four while coming up even in a couple others. There have been only two series in which Washington was swept, a 3 game series with the Braves and the Cardinals. The Nationals have really struggled to generate runs early in the season, they are currently 25th in the league with just 101 runs through 29 games. It’s also difficult to generate runs when players are struggling to put the ball in play. This isn’t a case of a team whose line-up lacks talent to generate runs, more so a team whose bats struggled in April. An example is Adam LaRoche, last April Adam hit .329 versus this April where he hit just .136. It’s more than LaRoche, the same applies to Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa, and Stephen Lombardozzi. There are positive signs regarding the struggling bats in Washington. Bryce Harper has far more than than six plate appearances this year, last April Harper went 2 of 6 resulting in a batting average of .333. This April he has 93 at-bats, 32 of which resulted in hits, and 14 that resulted in walks. Harper has been bright spot at the plate for Washington; he has 9 Home Runs, 18 Runs Batted In, and six doubles. Ian Desmond stepped up as well, the difference from last April to this April is very impressive. Desmond batted .301 last month, he’s hit 10 doubles and 3 HRs which have resulted in 8 RBIs. Harper and Desmond’s scorching start to the season has allowed the Nationals to be where they are, Washington doesn’t expect the rest of their bats to stay silent.
Washington’s pitching staff did a decent job holding down the fort, but they haven’t been as good as they were last April. In the 2012 Season, the Nationals ERA was just 2.33 as a team. This April it ballooned to a 3.57 ERA, that also has to do with seven more games played this April(22 games in 2012 vs 29 games in 2013). Edwin Jackson was the only starter in April 2012 with an ERA over three, this year only two starting pitchers have an ERA under three. Jordan Zimmerman was outstanding in the month of April, in six starts Zimmerman won five games. He’s gave up just eight runs in the 44 innings he pitched, also had 27 strikeouts and a sterling ERA of 1.64. Washington’s aces struggled mightily to start the season, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have combined to win three games in 12 starts. Strasburg is 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA while Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA, for the Nationals to have record over .500 is a testament to the depth of their staff. If this is as bad as it gets for Washington, there’s nothing to do but look forward. It’s hard to see in the midst of their struggles, but the Nationals as a team are 8th in ERA, 4th in Quality Starts, and 12th in Batting Average Allowed. This is a very talented staff, if their worse has them better than many other teams than imagine what they’re capable of once they get back on track.
The Washington Nationals are currently sitting just 2.5 games back of the Division Leader Atlanta Braves, the Braves are 17-11. Atlanta lost to Washington last night 3-1, Dan Harren got his third win of the season by pitching eight strong innings and giving up just one run. Harren surrendered just four hits against the Braves, he also had 4 strikeouts. Denard Span had a great game at the plate, Span went three for four resulting in two RBIs. Rafael Soriano got the save, it was his ninth of the season. The Nationals are off to a hot start in the Month of May, they are 2-0. What do you expect out of the Nationals going forward, will the live up to the expectations?
Written By Wilson K. Tarpeh Jr.