By Dave Daniels @AllDave_AllDay on May 25, 2014
The Washington Nationals have not looked fantastic this season, and injuries have been a part of the problem to be sure. Bryce Harper has not lived up to his marketing campaign quite yet, but he still has a chance to turn things around. They will need him and others to return swiftly in order to expect a return to the postseason. The Nats have a lot of players who are not replaceable, but these are the five who are most key to their success.
Harper is currently out, which is partly why the team is suffering a lot of losses. The relationship between their superstar and the new head coach has been a little bit shaky so far, which is cause for major concern down in the district. They need their outfielder back in the lineup as soon as possible.
Zimmerman is another player who the Nationals need back, and they will surely fail if they do not get his production later in the year. The folks back in DC are hoping to see some more playoff baseball, and so I am rooting for the Nats to pull this thing together.
The Nationals recently put LaRoche back into the lineup off of the DL, because they are sorely lacking runs. If LaRoche can give them a burst, then Harper and Zimmerman might be able to finish the job later in the year. It is a patchwork batting order at this point, but they just need to keep grinding out wins.
Now we get down to the pitching, which is the most crucial area for the Nationals. Gonzalez has had his up and down moments in DC, but ultimately the strength of this team lies on the mound. The pitching staff will need to be on point to end the year, and this is especially true with all of the injury troubles to the batting order.
Strasburg is obviously the ace of this pitching staff, and he will need to throw like a Cy Young candidate if the Nats are ever going to win a World Championship. His numbers have been impressive this season, but his team is still on the outside of the playoff picture and looking in. I am mainly pleased that his arm appears to be healthy after all of the injury concerns.
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