For much of this season and last, the Washington Nationals‘ offense has been frustratingly sporadic. The offense will explode for 20-30 runs in a series, and then barely break 10 in the next. Needless to say, when you’re a competitive team, this can get frustrating.
Get used to it, Nationals fans, this is what they are.
Washington’s lineup, especially after the addition of Denard Span to the leadoff spot, was dubbed as one of the deepest and balanced lineups in baseball, with the lineup being almost entirely left/right all the way down the order. Unfortunately, with the injury and ineffectiveness of Danny Espinosa, that left/right balance no longer extends all through Washington’s lineup.
For most of his tenure as manager, Davey Johnson pushed Washington’s hitters to be more aggressive and hit more fastballs, and try to work more fastball counts. The problem with that is when other teams know your offensive strategy, they are less prone to throw fastballs in a fastball count, perhaps going off speed and throwing more changeups and curveballs, which could cause Washington’s offense to be so sporadic.
Washington’s constant slew of injuries is also to blame for the sporadic offense. When a player is rehabbing or coming back from an injury, they’re not able to do everything they normally would. Jayson Werth is a great example of this. Last season, when returning from his wrist injury, Werth reportedly could not use his “home run” bat because of how heavy it was, so Johnson left Werth in the leadoff spot because of that.
The bottom line is this: Washington may hit a stride for a week or two, perhaps even a month. But, for the most part, this team will have fans and the coaching staff pulling hair out of its collective head, and there’s nothing more they can do but get used to it. This team is what it is offensively, and there’s nothing more we can do.