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MLB Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals: 5 Keys to Success

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Five Players Nationals Need to Succeed

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Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports

It's been said over and over in 2013, but the Washington Nationals still have not hit their stride and are still looking to get in a groove. Basically, insert any cliche about baseball when talking about Washington and you would be accurate in that statement, regardless of its intended meaning. Every possible negative situation that could occur for the Nationals pretty much has occurred in 2013. Whether it is injuries to the rotation, inconsistencies in the offense or sloppy defense, everything has gone wrong for Washington this season.

Washington has gotten poor returns from offseason acquisitions and from returning bench players, along with suffering through struggles of many key players and questionable managerial decisions. However, Washington finally has everyone back healthy, save for Ross Detwiler, whose back issues seem to be unending, and he probably will not pitch on Washington's homestand. However, Taylor Jordan has been able to stand in for Detwiler and probably would have multiple Major League wins under his belt had it not been for some bad breaks and sloppy defense.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has already attempted to address a concern with his club, acquiring Scott Hairston from the Cubs, giving Washington some right-handed pop and great numbers against lefties. Rizzo may have to make more moves, though, as is Rizzo's M.O., none of us will hear of it until the move is actually made and processed with MLB. With that in mind, here are five players Washington desperately needs to pick things up to be able to turn things around in 2013.

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No. 5: Drew Storen

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Drew Storen has probably been the most polarizing figure on the club, having many strong outings, though being booed after one bad outing. Fans obviously still have not gotten over Game 5, but they know Storen is desperately needed as part of a bridge to Rafael Soriano.

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No. 4: Bryce Harper

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Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

When Bryce Harper was out, it was thought his return would automatically turn Washington's offense around. Well, whether it's because of the dreaded "Sophomore Slump" or his knee that is still not 100 percent, Harper has been just as much of a cause of Washington's struggles as he's been a catalyst. If Harper gets hot, he could carry Washington.

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No. 3: Denard Span

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Denard Span was the crown jewel of Washington's offseason, who finally got a strong defensive center fielder who can hit leadoff. Well, the defense is there, but the offense has not been. Span has been absolutely horrid against lefties and just has not gotten into a groove offensively. Like Harper, if Span gets hot, watch out.

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No. 2: Dan Haren

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Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports

Yes, i'm just as surprised i'm writing this as you are. With the injury to Detwiler, Dan Haren needs to pick things up. He's been slightly better in his last two outings and was strong after his 2012 DL stint with the Los Angeles Angels. If Haren turns things around, then all of a sudden, Washington's rotation becomes very, very scary.

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No. 1: Chad Tracy

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Chad Tracy has been about as bad off the bench as anyone can be, especially after a solid 2012. Tracy's left-handed pop is not matched by anyone else on Washington's bench, unless Adam LaRoche has a day off. Tracy needs to hit for more average, and a 3-for-5 night like last night may be just what the doctor ordered.