Nationals Still Trying to Find Consistency

The Washington Nationals stood at 10-8 this season after defeating the Miami Marlins in two of three games, but then losing two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals.

April 14-16: Nats Take Two of Three from Marlins
Washington beat Miami, 9-2, in Game One of a three game series on April 14. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann picked up his first win of the season allowing just two runs and six hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings. Center fielder Bryce Harper was hot at the plate, recording three hits and a RBI. First baseman Tyler Moore also had three hits with two RBI’s, and third baseman Anthony Rendon added three RBI’s.

Game Two of the series brought the exact opposite for Washington, however, as the Nationals lost to the Marlins, 11-2, on April 15. Stephen Strasburg struggled, giving up eight hits and six earned runs in only four innings before he was yanked from the mound. Meanwhile, Washington was just as bad on offenses, recording five hits total.

The Nationals bounced back in Game Three of the series, beating the Marlins, 6-3, on April 16. Right fielder Jayson Werth and pinch hitter Zack Walters both hit home runs to lift the Nationals to victory. Starting pitcher Tanner Roak gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings. But closer Rafael Soriano earned his third save of the season with a flawless ninth inning performance.

April 17-19: Nationals Drop Two of Three to Cardinals
The celebration for beating the Marlins didn’t last long, as Washington was shut out, 8-0, by the Cardinals in Game One of their four game series on April 17. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was unstoppable, giving up just two hits and no runs across a full nine innings of work. Taylor Jordan, however, was awful for the Nationals as he allowed seven hits and seven runs in only five innings pitched.

Washington responded the next day on April 18 by winning a close Game Two against the Cardinals, 3-1, thanks to the efforts of pitcher Gio Gonzalez. The ace struck out seven batters and gave up just four hits and one run in seven innings. Gonzalez earned his third win of the season, while Soriano picked up his fourth save of the year.

But on April 19, the Nationals fell back into the losing column with a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals in Game Three. Zimmermann had a decent game on the mound with six strikeouts and just one earned run in seven innings. But the Nationals weren’t able to generate enough offense, recording just eight hits and three runs as a team.

Nats’ Player of the Week:
Rendon has been one of the most consistent situational batters for the Nationals this season. He produced seven hits, five RBI, two runs scored and a home run across the last six games.

Analysis: So far this season, Washington has made a trend of starting weeks off strong but finishing them in losing fashion. For the third straight week, they’ve won a series and then lost a series. Washington is currently among the top six teams in the National League with a 10-8 record, but they’re in danger of falling below .500 if they don’t address the problems that are keeping them from winning consistently.

Next-up: After completing the Cardinals series with a home game on Easter Sunday, Washington will take on the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game home series on April 21-23, followed by a four-game home series against the San Diego Padres on April 24-27.

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Nationals Still Trying to Find Consistency


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