Two years removed from the Black Knight moment that legitimized baseball in the Nation’s Capital, the Washington Nationals are waiting for a few Howie Kendrick moments by Josh Bell and Josh Harrison to propel them out of the cellar in the National League East Division
Manager Davey Martinez said the entire team “has been taking too many good pitches” which is leading to an overall slump in the District. Washington is a team that looks caught up in analytics at the plate, swinging late on pitches they should be driving.
Their offensive struggles continued in a 5-1 loss to division-rival Atlanta Braves on Friday.
Washington ranks 5th in MLB in batting average, but just 25th in homers (53) and 27th in RBI (198). These numbers reflect the squad’s inability to get key hits and drive in runs.
The MLBbros on the left side of the infield shoulder some of the blame as the Nationals continue through this tough June schedule, where they are facing division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia.
After a hot streak, The Josh Boys have contributed to the team’s inability to score runs and simply get on base.
Second Base Slump
The Nationals have been waiting for Harrison to take charge at second base, but his inconsistency at the plate has kept the platoon in order. Despite batting .270 with four home runs and 18 RBI for the season, Washington’s incumbent starter is slumping badly with four hits in his last 32 at-bats.
He was blazing in early May and fizzled out with his team as June came around.
Josh Harrison – Washington Nationals (3) pic.twitter.com/l36gXzruJs
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) May 8, 2021
Bell has been showing flashes of his All-Star brilliance from his days in Pittsburgh but is yet to string together consistent stretches of productivity. After his return from the COVID list in April where he batted .113, he rebounded to hit .289 in May.
But as the calendar changed to June, Bell’s struggles returned. He’s batting .125 (2-for-16) and managed just one hit in five at-bats in Atlanta as they broke even with the Braves in that recently concluded four-game series where they split despite having chances to win games behind stellar pitching from Patrick Corbin, Joe Ross, and Jon Lester.
The Nationals offense is wasting quality starts from the pitching staff and now must dig themselves out of a cellar-dwelling hole that may be too deep to climb out of and get back into playoffs.