On Friday night the Nats put together a 7 run game. It was a nice game for the team to have (and more importantly, it led to a win) but it was the first time since April 21st that the Nats have managed to score more than 5 runs. In fact, in their last 10 games the Nats have only scored more than 3 runs twice, the 7 run game and a 5-1 win versus LA.
Now the Nats have managed to win half of those games, taking games of 1-0, 3-1, and 3-2 along the way, but no team can keep up a .500 record scoring 3 runs a game. The question is whether this is a blip, or are there larger issues that might be at play here that could mean a season of problems?
Unfortunately for Nats fans, there isn't a single issue bringing the offense down. The Nats are not hitting for average, and they are doing a worse job at getting on base. Their power hasn't really dipped, but that wasn't great to begin with so it's not going to carry the team through rough patches. Where's the problem at? The first two spots shouldn't surprise you.
2B - Adam Kennedy has been just awful hitting .214 / .269 / .329 for the year and .188 / .206 / .344 in the past 10 games and after a hot start Guzman has really slowed down, hitting .176 / .200 / .294 during the same stretch. (if you're wondering Orlando Hudson is batting .308 / .385 /.413)
RF - Willie Harris over the past 10 days is BY FAR the best hitter and he's only hitting .143 / .294 / .286. Bernadina is hitting .091 / .231 /.091 and Maxwell and Taveras have combined for a single hit between them.
Right now one-third of the Nats lineup is worthless (the pitchers are as one would expect). Along with that Josh Willingham has stopped hitting (.161 /.316 / .161) and Nyjer Morgan is still not getting on base enough (.333 OBP the past 10 games) when that is all the Nats want him to do.
The Nats are down to four players now, and four players do not an offense make. Zimmerman is awesome, but when he's not in Alberto Gonzalez is terrible. Pudge is still smacking singles, but he can't play everyday at his age and Nieves is not more than an emergency back-up. Dunn has been hitting a lot better, but isn't parking them over the fence like he should. Desmond is doing allright, but has no walks and only 2 doubles.
You might say "Well Willingham and Morgan should get better" and sure they should. In fact, I'll go ahead and say they will, but at the same time 2 of the other 4 should slump and then the Nats are back where they started (maybe in a worse position if the two slumpers are Dunn and Zimmerman). The Nats cannot work around the fact that right now they have 2 big holes in their offense - two holes that everyone could see coming into Opening Day. With the holes at 2nd and RF, the Nats have to hope either 5 of the 6 remaining guys are coming through at the plate or they keep winning these close games with some better than expected starting pitching and nearly flawless bullpen work in tight games. It's worked for a month - anyone want to bet on two?