Associated Press photo
Jayson Werth is now hitting .221 after last night's 0-for-4 performance.
2. Bases-loaded walk
3. Wild pitch
4. Fielder's choice
5. Throwing error
6. Infield single
Not exactly the traditional method of scoring, even if those six runs have been good enough to produce back-to-back wins over the Cubs.
It's not like the Nationals don't get themselves opportunities to score runs in more conventional fashion. They had 11 at-bats last night with runners in scoring position. They just only managed two hits in those situations.
"We're just, I think we're looking for too much, or not looking for our pitch and driving it," manager Davey Johnson said. "I like the hitters in our lineup. It's not like they're slouches. They're good hitters, but we just haven't done what we're capable of."
There is some truth to what Johnson says. Ryan Zimmerman (despite his .234 average and .697 OPS) is no slouch. Ian Desmond, prior to this season, was a .270 hitter with a .724 OPS over 175 big-league games. He's not as bad as his current .215 average and pathetic .554 OPS suggest.
And, of course, there's Jayson Werth, who after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and double play last night is hitting a scant .221 with a .703 OPS (145 points below his career number entering this season).
Werth can only go up from here, right?
"I think he's bottomed out," Johnson said last night in one of several refreshingly frank quotes. "I thought he was in a good frame of mind the last three or four days. I think he's comfortable. I think early in the year he was playing mentor a little more than he needed to with some of the young guys, but he's a heck of a ballplayer and I know he's going to start doing the things he's capable of."
Look, nobody's going to suggest the Nationals are suddenly going to put together the best lineup in baseball. But we really shouldn't expect things to stay at this ridiculously low level for the entire season.
Zimmerman, who admittedly feels like he's going through spring training still after spending more than two months on the DL, is going to start hitting. Werth simply has to be better than this.
Get those two cornerstones going just a bit, and the Nationals' lineup starts looking a lot more productive.
"I'd love for us to break out, but it's almost like there's a little pressure blanket on us and we can't quite get it off us," Johnson said. "But I'm a positive manager. I always think good things are coming. We're winning ballgames when we're not running on all cylinders, but it makes it interesting."