It’s Hard to Score Without Getting on Base

In case you weren’t aware, the Nats are in a bit of a hitting slump. The fact that they’ve won their last two notwithstanding, they still haven’t scored a ton. Maybe last night was an indication of the beginning of an awakening, but when 4 runs seems like a high scoring affair to this team, it is a bad sign. Only a month ago, this team looked like it could hit. But recently the bottom has dropped out, and it isn’t pretty:

  • Runs scored has continued to drop from middle of the league to solidly near the bottom, now ranked 13th
  • OBP has dropped from 6th in the NL all the way down to 13th in the matter of a week
  • SLG has dropped although not quite as badly, from 6th to 10th
  • OPS down to 12th from just above the middle spot only a few weeks ago
  • HR is pretty consistent – sitting around the middle all year, they’re in 8th place right now

In fact, the only one that has seen any kind of positive movement in recent weeks in the HRs. That means people aren’t getting on base, when they do they hit singles for the most part, and the bright spot is the occasional homer, which is more likely than not a solo shot. 44 of their 21 home runs were with the bases empty. That’s 67.7%! Until other guys figure out a way to get on base more, and hit something besides singles, they’re gonna have to continue to rely on production from the middle three guys in the lineup.

The problem with that became apparent over the last few weeks. Even though Dunn was hitting well and Willingham was doing his thing, Zimmerman entered a slump. Without him, only 2 guys were producing runs. It just wasn’t enough. Morgan has been awful this year, Desmond hasn’t hit since mid-May, and Pudge has been out of the lineup. Guzman is so streaky, he’s unreliable even if he’s getting hits. Morse and Bernadina look promising, but neither has done enough to make you think they are the solution for sure.

It makes me think that without another full time hitter, this team will never score runs in bunches. For all the talk about the need for starting pitching, it just seems like the lineup isn’t quite there either. Perhaps this is something that can wait until the offseason, maybe they’ll look at it a little bit now. Either way, they’re gonna need some more hitters, and second base and possibly right field seem like the obvious places to go.

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