The second half begins tonight for the Washington Nationals, as Stephen Strasburg leads them into a tilt with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Washington prepares for tonight, they all know that they need to turn things around before things get really out of hand, especially since they already sit six games back of the Atlanta Braves, a lead that could become ridiculously large if they do not improve their play.
Something else hangs in the balance for Washington if things do not pick up in the second half, regardless of injuries or inconsistent play. If Washington continues to play inconsistent and sloppy baseball, they could go down in both baseball circles and the court of public opinion as a one year wonder, or one and done. Basically, Washington would be considered a team that had one good year, and should not be taken seriously, because when the going got tough, they got going.
It’s easy to see why Washington has had so many struggles this season. Basically everything that could have gone wrong from pitching injuries to lineup inconsistencies has gone wrong: Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren have all been on the DL at some point in 2013, and the Nationals offense has been, well, maddening to say the least. As an example, from June 1 to June 7, Washington outscored their opponents 43-34 and went 5-2. From June 8 to June 14, however, they were outscored 24-19 and were 2-5.
Washington finally has every player back and healthy, save for Detwiler, at the same time, and could be primed for one of the greatest runs in MLB history. But if they do not, it will be the most disappointing seasons in the franchise’s history. Davey Johnson has done some more lineup tinkering, placing Anthony Rendon back in the two-hole behind Denard Span. Without Adam LaRoche in the lineup, Bryce Harper is batting cleanup. This new look lineup could be the key to Washington turning things around.
They have their ace on the mound and everyone is healthy, so Washington should be set for a big second half run.