On Saturday and Sunday, the Nats put together an impressive bad offensive display, scoring exactly zero runs in 18 innings. They were blanked two days in a row, and wasted two very good outings by starting pitchers – Livan went 6.0 IP and gave up 2 ER, Stammen also went 6.0 and only gave up 1 ER. After losing 2-0 and 1-0, the Twitterers were out, commenting on everything from how this weekend was a waste to a confirmation that the guys in the middle of the lineup should be traded since they’re not scoring anyway.
These tweets, by the way, aren’t just coming from crazy fans that pretend to be journalists like me. Comments are coming in from people who get paid by networks, newspapers and MLB to cover the Nats. But breaking up the band based on this putrid weekend seems a bit rash. My problem with this is the idea that two bad offensive performances do not make a season. If you take a gander over to the right, you’ll see the Nats offensive rankings in the NL. It remains about where it’s been all year. They get on base, don’t lack completely in power, but don’t score. My feeling is that its because the middle 3 are the only ones doing anything. They can’t knock anyone in, because they’re the only ones really contributing to the OBP.
They need a few other hitters before they can score, and eliminating the heart of the lineup will make scoring that much more difficult. Adam Dunn is still hitting – his OPS this month is 1.234. Josh Willingham is hitting .300/.400/.450 this month. In that same timeframe, Ryan Zimmerman is at .340/.396/.596.
This weekend, they had their chances, but didn’t hit with RISP. That’s been the case for much of the year. But most people will tell you that this fluctuates greatly and is really more dependent on luck that anything else. One year you’ll hit .350 another you’ll hit .250 with RISP. And then you’ll go back up. It happens. Just ask Robinson Cano. I don’t think this empty weekend, or the lack of hitting when it counts for much of the season is any reason to panic. It’s the ups and downs of the game, and right now its a down.
None of this is to say that I am against trading players. The right deal should always be investigated, and if something worth doing comes up, go for it. I’m just saying I’m a little surprised that this weekend all of a sudden made people realize that the Nats don’t score alot, or made them think that people should NOW be traded. The story remains the same, as it’s been all year.