If you haven't been able to tell my interest in the Nats is in a waning period. I feel like the division has been sewn up for a month now. Papelbon is gone. Strasburg and Ross aren't back yet. Dog days and all, plus like I said yesterday, there are plenty of interesting baseball situations going on that have more hold on me than if the Nats host 3 or 2 games in the NLDS. (It'll be 3 - the Nats schedule is too easy to fall away). So I took a look at the Nats past 4 weeks of baseball to see if there was anything going on that I wasn't keyed into.
First thing it seems like Bryce is BRYCE again. He actually has a higher OPS than either Turner or Rendon, the two poster children for "Nats hitting well in August". He does not have a lot of homers (only 3 - Heisey has 3 in the same time period) but he's hitting .338 / .422 / .592 over the past 4 weeks and has driven in 19 runs. He's not going to get the MVP and he's back behind Trout in the pecking order*, but who cares as long as he's BRYCE for the playoffs.
Jayson Werth is only hitting .222. It was brought up during his "on-base streak" but Werth was having a lot of one-hit or one-walk games to do it and wasn't really boosting his overall stats as much as you might have thought. As far as my theory that he can walk or he can hit for power - he's currently in "power mode" having 3 homers and a double in the last week - with no walks. Like I said this isn't bad at this point. I'll take him doing one thing well. The alternative is far more likely doing nothing well, than doing multiple things well.
Clint Robinson is doing better with more playing time. He started playing more around July 8th and has hit .270 since then. It's been all singles - literally 1 XBH in those 34 games, but he's doing much better than Zimm. In Clint's last 5 starts he's 8-19 with 3 walks. Yes, those are probably favorable match-ups. Well keep playing him in favorable match-ups then.
Speaking of Zimm - no better since coming back. He started with a 3 hit night and has had 4 hits since giving him a line of .175 / .209 / .275 with 10 Ks. We'll give another week or so but early indications is my "just sit him for the rest of 2016" plan seems easily arguable.
When Robinson starts, the bench has become just Heisey as Revere, Goodwin, Lobaton, Difo all are not hitting.
The veteran middle relief has really taken a hit. Oliver Perez (12.71 ERA, 2.647 WHIP) Petit (11.00, 1.778), have had terrible Augusts. I knew they were bad but I didn't know they were this bad.
Why did the Nats trade for Rep? Because Solis has been sneaky bad. You can't rely on someone with a 2.000 WHIP. That's not going to work long term. They needed a reliable lefty arm and at this point of the season all they can do is throw stuff at the wall to see if it sticks.
On the other side of the mound, Melancon has been very good as has Belisle. Kelley and Treinen (one terrible outing) have both been better than their ERAs would suggest. So big right hand outs and any normal SP outing should be well covered.
All in all this may be an issue for the regular season until the rotation sorts out Lopez not against the Braves, Cole, and Giolito have all been various shades of disappointing and the Nats will have to reach for 4-5 innings occasionally. But for the playoffs? I'd hope that wasn't the case.
*Trout is hitting .319 / .436 / .562 for the year. He'll probably hit 30 homers, drive in 100, steal 20+, score 125. Remember when we had the people clamoring "Where's Machado?!" He has a terrible July just like Bryce - .204 / .288 / .337. He's having a hell of an August (10 homers) though but he wasn't able to keep pace with Trout either. It's Trout #1, everyone else lining up behind him.