It's the offense. We're all sure about that now. Sure Haren has been very bad but check out most NL staffs and you'll find a guy near or above 5.00. That alone can't explain why the Nats are where they are.
It's the offense.
It's honestly hard to explain. The Nats added Rendon to replace the injured Espinosa and he's been lining balls all over the place. He's not going to keep it up (.500 BABIP) but there's no reason he can't have a good "Joe Randa's best year"-esque rookie campaign on the way to something more special in the future. Werth is back and after the opening Mets series has been basically doing what he needs to (.424 OBP last 8 games). How can the Nats add two bats and still can't score? It's because there's been a big crash by other players.
LaRoche : .091 / .167 / .136 in the last week
Span : .083 / .185 / .125
Suzuki is still bad. That last OF position is still bad. There you go. It's a lineup with 4 holes right now, not counting the pitcher.
What can the Nats do about it? I'm guessing nothing. Not unless they want to deal for a C or an OF. I want to say this is just bad luck. That the pieces are finally there, but the Nats are just going through a bad stretch, but I think that may be a bit too kind. The Nats have two holes with C and OF. That seems to mean within the remaining 6 spots, they can't have 2 guys slumping at the same time. You see what happens. They can be down a bit, or maybe one guy can slump. But 2 guys slumping require 3-4 guys being hot to have any offense going. The Nats only have 2 guys hot at the plate right now.
They NEED Bryce back. They need his bat because he's that good, and they need that extra batter of leeway, so a couple guys can slump at the same time without bringing the whole offense to a grinding halt.
- What happened last year? The OF had a rough go early on with Morse out and Bryce not there yet, and the team wasn't scoring. But in a month+ they were back and the team was ok. Werth would go down but the bench covered for him better than expected. That left the only hole at catcher after Ramos went down. When the Nats got Suzuki he filled that hole for 2 months with better than expected play. So there was precious little time when the Nats had more than one hole and arguably 2 months with no holes at all.
- That being said with all that luck the offense was still only good, not great. The pieces aren't here for a great offense. And unless LaRoche and Werth can have a renaissance while Bryce and Rendon hit their max expectations there won't be one here. Sorry. This is a pitching and defense team
- And Span thanks god for that. He has been very good in the field at times having to cover for 2 OFs that shouldn't be out there (you try to play CF with a statue in right and a second-baseman in left) but any hope that Span was really 2012 Span at the plate and not 2010-2011 Span is gone. The batting average could bounce up a bit but no patience and no power mean that his just above average 2012 is what his best years will look like. Despite how Boswell is trying to rewrite history, the geeks knew this. It was his "going by the gut" type of fan that expected more.
- It's all fine and well to compare Rendon's numbers to Espinosa's, but doing it without noting Espy was injured at the time is terribly annoying to those of us that understood his unique value over the past couple years. Does this happen with other players? Did I just block out people saying how much better Bernadina was than injured Werth last year?
Remember the goal was simply a winning record on this road trip. Baby steps. They have to win the series vs the Phillies to do that. But do it and there are still moving in the right direction. Never let one bad series get you too down (unless it's a sweep against a direct rival)