Eight games back, Nats are desperate for momentum

Josh Luckenbaugh
May 14, 2019 - 9:53 am

The Nationals have dug themselves a deep hole in the standings, now trailing the Phillies in the NL East by eight games. 

And if they want to get out of it, they're gonna have to start winning now, and winning a lot. 

"They need like a 20-7 run," The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "They haven't won more than two games in a row, which is jarring when you think about it. I don't think back-to-back wins really constitutes any kind of streak."

"There's been no momentum, and I think if you're gonna turn this in the other direction, you need to get hot even if it's only for a week or two just to erase some of this deficit."

"It looks right now pretty insurmountable, if you want to get to that 90-win mark. Even if you want to get to .500 right now, you better start playing out of your mind."

Injuries have played a huge factor in the Nats' struggles, but Ghiroli points out the Nats are coming up short in almost "every facet" of the game, from the bullpen to poor offense to poor defense. 

"They're still the worst bullpen in the major leagues despite throwing the fewest amount of innings," she said. "But there are other problems here, and a main one to me is this rotation's been so good, they're gonna go through a lull for at least a turn or two through this long of a season, and the Nationals just can't afford that. They're wasting so many of their good starts right now."

"Nobody's expecting these guys to make these web gem plays, but what they should be making is the routine plays. So that's probably the thing that irks them the most: they're not putting the ball in play, and they're not making those routine plays."

"People keep talking about, 'Well, they're gonna get healthy, they're almost healthy.' Well, what happens when somebody else goes down? We are only 40 games through the season, it would be totally naive to assume once they get healthy they're gonna stay healthy for the rest of the year."

Additionally, Ghiroli pointed to a lack of passionate leadership in the clubhouse.

"From what I keep hearing, they don't have that guy that Jayson Werth was. That leader, that guy who's gonna stop the long losing streaks, who's gonna demand better effort," said Ghiroli.

"That's not to say they don't have guys in there who don't care, they do. But the guys who are the best guys are very quiet, they're more unassuming: the Rendons, the Zimmermans." 

"And we know that Davey (Martinez) likes guys to police themselves, which is fine, but they don't seem to have that guy in there, that fiery guy who's going to get them going. And I think that's what they miss probably most of all, especially when they're going through a stretch like they just did on the road."

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