The circus is in town this week and this time it's not the Washington Nationals. In fact, in this recent nine-game homestand, the Nationals only lost one of those games, to the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night. But the Nats made sure they got things done by winning every series of this home stretch, and they have all of the sudden gotten very hot. In fact, since August 21st, the Nationals have lost only three games. Suddenly, they are playing like the major league team some thought would challenge for a playoff spot in the National League.
If this team wasn't plagued by injuries, they might have had a chance. First baseman Nick Johnson led the team in on base percentage before his injury, and had one of his best seasons yet. Shawn Hill and Matt Chico both had injury problems, yet tried to play through their respective injuries, and that may have hurt the team. Chico never won a game, and Hill had a pretty terrible 1-5 record to show for himself. Before the season, John Patterson was released, and Odalis Perez was his replacement. Perez is way past his prime, and that prime wasn’t the best for a pitcher in Major League Baseball.
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was also injured for part of the season, meaning the best part of the offense was missing. Although Guzman did step up, the team just is not the same without Zimmerman. Then the offense had the pain of playing with Felipe Lopez and Paul Lo Duca on its roster.
Then there were the younger players who had yet to click on the team. Elijah Dukes started off very slowly, but has since stepped his production up bigtime. Lastings Milledge was a poor hitter to begin with, but he has really increased his patience at the plate. There are just so many things to talk about why these predictions went wrong. Next year is going to be better for sure. How many people actually believe that statement is a very good question though.