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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Washington Nationals continue to struggle

Washington Nationals continue to struggle

By CHRISTOPHER CUMMINGS

In 1924, the Washington Senators won the only World Series for Washington D.C., a franchise that is not affiliated with the Washington Nationals, but rather the Minnesota Twins.

The Washington Nationals, better known as the ‘Nats,’ to their D.C. area home, have not accomplished much since the beginning of the franchise in 1969 when they started out as the Montreal Expos. The Expos were only able to reach the postseason once in 36 years, where they came away with one playoff victory.

The Nats have only reached the postseason twice in ten years and they are one of the two major league teams to never reach the World Series. Over the past several seasons, however, the Nationals have dealt with many injuries.

Though that may be the case, these injuries have not stopped the program from winning games and going to postseason. Their powerhouse hitters such as Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Yunel Escobar helped generate the type of offense that could get them far in the playoffs, but their defense has continuously let them down by letting in too many runs.

This year the Nats tried boosting both their defense and offense by acquiring Dan Uggla, Yunel Escobar, Max Scherzer and Jonathan Papelbon, but to no avail.

Similarly, their pitchers performed poorly this year with a team ERA of 3.73, with most of their starters having an ERA just under three. Their majority of the Nationals offense is based on the production of Bryce Harper. Harper is the leader in every batting category for the Nationals this season. However, he will need the help of the other starters to start making a difference offensively. Until then, the Nationals will continue to fade as the playoffs start.

With their regular starting pitchers having an earned run average of a little less than 3.0 and the rest of the pitching staff having an ERA up to 5.0, it has been hard for the Nats to win most of their games. Although the Nationals’ pitchers need to perform better, there is still plenty of room for improvement within the ball club.

In order for them to compete for the National League pennant and even the World Series, the Nationals need all of their regular starting pitchers to continue to have an ERA of less than 3.0. As long as they can do this and keep their offense as good as it is, they will be able to make a playoff run in future years. But until that day comes, they will remain without a World Series appearance.

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