The Washington Nationals had high hopes coming into the season, as many people predicted them to represent the National League in the World Series. They haven’t quite lived up to those expectations. With 60 games remaining, the Nationals find themselves four games under .500, eight games behind the division- leading Atlanta Braves, and nine and a half games out of the Wild Card.
A big reason for Washington’s struggles has been the almost non-existent offense. The Nationals find themselves in the bottom five of essentially every offensive category. Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan joined Scott to discuss the Nationals struggles.
“If you’ve watched this team at all Scotty, you know what the problem is. They’re a bunch of free swingers that aren’t hitting. There’s no plate discipline at all…” Dukes said, describing the offensive woes of this Nationals squad. “They’re not good offensively. They don’t have any discipline, and they fired the hitting coach as if that’s ever worked ever in the history of baseball. The time to turn this around has come and gone. They need to go on a tear here, the way I would describe it. They don’t have any hope for even competing for the Wild Card.”
There is no doubt that this Washington team is very talented. With guys like Bryce Harper, Jason Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ian Desmond, and pitchers such as Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasberg, and Tyler Clippard, Washington is not lacking in the skill department. However, a lot of these players, along with the rest of the team, have either struggled or gotten hurt this season. The only real consistency the Nationals have gotten has come from the top three of their rotation, Gonzalez, Zimmerman and Strasberg. In order for the Nationals to have any chance at making a run for the playoffs, the rest of the roster has to step up and play as well as they did last season.
“Look, outside of those top three guys in the rotation, everybody else has kind of let this team down this season,” Dukes told Scott. “You look at the bench, look at Tyler Moore, you look at these guys that had great seasons last year for this team, they haven’t been there… The bullpen’s giving them trouble, the closer’s giving them trouble, their offense, their bench… If they can somehow figure out a way to get in the postseason and they’ve got those top three guys, Jordan, Gio, and Stras, nobody’s going to want to see that team… but that’s a big ‘if’.”
It’s no secret that Washington D.C. is predominantly a Redskins city. They are by far the city’s oldest professional sports team, and also the most successful throughout the last few decades. But last year, when the Nationals were the best team in baseball, there was a buzz around the team in D.C. People started to become extremely excited to see this young Nationals team win and be successful, at the same time that the Redskins were entering an exciting era of their own. The fans of Washington D.C. were looking forward to welcoming Robert Griffin III back and rooting him and the Redskins to a possible Super Bowl appearance while also watching the Nationals make it to the World Series. However, the Nationals have all but crushed those dreams with their struggles this season.
“You know what type of town D.C. is. It’s a Redskins town,” Dukes explained. “What was supposed to be taking place right now was you were supposed to have Griffin back and the start of a division-reigning team marching to the playoffs, and you were supposed to have the Nats in first place marching towards the World Series. It would have been a really nice time for sports in Washington D.C. But Griffin is here now. Griffin is here, the Redskins are here, and the Nationals are below .500. If they want to still be talked about on the radio, if they still want people coming out to the games, they’re going to have to start kicking a**…”