Tonight is the Third Night of Strasmas, as he starts against the Chicago White Sox at Nats Park at 7:05pm. The flashbulbs with all go off again, the crowd will once again chant for strikeouts, and DC will be a baseball town, as it will be all summer, for one game out of each five.
The Nationals are in for a crucial stretch of games, nine against interleague teams with records worse than their own 31-36, and then a patch of 13 against division foes that are a significant hurdle for our boys in red. Their first 67 games have not gone as planned, but the team is still wins ahead over last year’s abysmal 59-102. So, what do the Nationals have to do to make every day into Strasmas?
Defense, Defense, Defense.
The errors have been far too frequent this season. Nothing takes the wind out of the sales like an unearned run, and the Nats have been guilty of costing their pitchers runs on a regular basis. This has to get fixed, and the answers aren’t clear as to how this one will get taken care of. It’d be nice if the errors didn’t feel like they were coming as the result of snapped concentration.
For the Nats to be successful, they have to win more than just the game Strasburg starts. John Lannan and Livan Hernandez used to be wins the team could count on, but their last starts have been nothing short of disasters. The Tigers ate the Nats’ starting pitching for lunch; it’s not just a failure in the bullpen any longer, and that has to stop. Atilano and Martin have also proved that they’re more lucky than good in their last couple starts, which has been disappointing.
The Bats Must Awaken
Adam Dunn has awoken from slumber, but the rest of the team is still struggling, and no one seems to be hitting with runners in scoring position. The only guys that seem to be playing the game like their hair’s on fire are Mike Morse and Roger Bernadina, as they’re fighting desperately for playing time right now. It would be nice to see the rest of the Nats’ lineup fight for some offense.
This is, at its heart, a better-than-.500 team. We’re five games under right now, and facing an opportunity to go back above the winner/loser line. Let’s see it happen, folks.