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MLB Washington Nationals

5 Adjustments The Washington Nationals Must Make For Playoff Push

5 Adjustments Washington Nationals Must Make For Playoff Push

Antony Rendon Washington Nationals
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

With a high-end starting rotation featuring Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez, the Washington Nationals are a serious World Series contender this season. But a lack of clutch hitting and injuries to key players has the NL East front-runner stumbling in five of its last 10 games. Here are five adjustments the Nationals must make to enjoy success in this year's postseason.

5. Pinch-Hitting Blues

Danny Espinosa Washington Nationals
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

5. Pinch-Hitting Blues

Danny Espinosa Washington Nationals
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals have had little success pinch-hitting this season and ranks 27th in the majors with a horrible .153 BA (21-for-137). Unless Washington can find a few more capable hitters to go along with Anthony Rendon, no amount of strong pitching will be able to hide so many offensive deficiencies in postseason action.

4. Win More One-Run Games

Jerry Blevins Washington Nationals
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

4. Win More One-Run Games

Jerry Blevins Washington Nationals
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Washington is on pace for a 90-win season and has an impressive cast of starting pitchers and relievers. However, the Nationals' embarrassing struggles at the plate with runners in scoring position has resulted in a 13-17 record in one-run contests.

3. Bryce Harper Re-emergence

Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

3. Bryce Harper Re-emergence

Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The former No. 1 overall draft pick burst onto the scene two years ago with 57 extra-base hits as a 19-year-old rookie. However, the two-time All-Star has been limited to just 49 games this season and is hitting only .260 with three homers. For Washington to click offensively, Harper needs to get back to his hustling and productive ways.

2. Deliver In The Clutch

Jayson Werth Washington Nationals
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

2. Deliver In The Clutch

Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals are the fifth-highest scoring team in the NL, but have failed miserably in the clutch. Washington is hitting 19 points fewer than its .250 team batting mark with RISP, and a Mario Mendoza-like .190 with runners on second and third with two outs.

1. Get Ryan Zimmerman Healthy

Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Get Ryan Zimmerman Healthy

Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Zimmerman has played in only 53 games this season and is currently out of action with a hamstring injury. A career .286 hitter, the veteran slugger batted .381 in the 2012 NLDS and is well-known for his clutch hitting. A healthy Zimmerman upgrades Washington's batting order in a big way.

Marvin Moore is a Texas Rangers writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsMarvin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your circles on Google.