After starting off with three consecutive wins, the Washington Nationals are mired in two straight losses to the Atlanta Braves, where the Braves have looked like the clearly better team, defensively, offensively, and in all aspects of pitching. For the Nationals, it has been the same old story offensively — the Nationals score early, then die out offensively, unable to put up key insurance runs. This is the same offensive story that has been running for about three years now, where the Nationals will get players on base, but then strikeout or just be unable to get them to score without a home run. Throw in solid starts from their pitchers, and it becomes all the more maddening.
This could be explained by the fact that the Nationals have some notorious slow starters in their lineup in the likes of Adam LaRoche and Denard Span. Span currently has a .250/.348/.500 slash line, and LaRoche has two home runs and is batting .294, so they cannot be seen as the culprit for the slow and inconsistent offense.
As always, it is a team effort, but the Nationals can look to players like Bryce Harper, who is off to quite a slow start after a very quiet spring. Of course, spring numbers are not something to be examined intensely, as they typically mean very little. Harper is currently hitting .143/.182/.143 and is out of Washington’s lineup today, probably for those reasons.
The more pertinent questions is whether or not the Nationals should be alarmed by Harper’s slow start. After five games, the answer is easily no, though looking at Span’s 2013 season, things can snowball pretty quickly. Harper and Span are pretty opposite players, that much is true, but it does not mean that a slow start could become a down season in a matter of months. For the time being, however, the Nationals should not be alarmed yet, though the emphasis is on the word ‘yet.’
Last season, Harper was able to out slug everyone else on his way to winning his first Home Run Derby. This year he will have some stiff competition when it comes back around in the summer but you won’t have any competition in getting Home Run Derby tickets by heading over to Select-A-Ticket today.