By SKYLA HENDRICKS
The Washington Nationals are hoping to make a deep playoff run this year. To help them achieve this goal, the line-up of the team is found to be one of the best in the league and one of the better rosters the team has ever had. The Nationals are led by strong hitters making the offense a force to be reckoned with.
In addition to this, the National’s are just seven long balls away from tying the franchise record for home runs in a season. The offense on this team is making up for some errors committed by the defense.
One of the players that is highly valued by the team, recently acquired Howie Kendrick, was traded from the Phillies. The addition of Kendrick helps the the Nationals even more. Kendrick is an experienced outfielder, that has also jumped in to play second base for the Nats and he has experience at both first and third base in his career.
The addition of Kendrick has helped the team immensely in their offense at a time where many players have been sidelined by injuries. With Kendrick on the team, they are hopeful that it will help them get far in the playoffs.
Outfielder Jayson Werth, who was placed on the disabled list with a foot fracture after a game with Oakland in June, according to the Washington Post, will make a huge impact on this team. Werth was put on the disabled list along with Trea Turner who fractured his right wrist in June after a game against the Cubs.
Both of these players were in rehab together to recover and rejoined the team for the playoffs. The Nationals Manager Dusty Baker stated to the Washington Post that, “We’re excited to get them back… You want them back when they’re ready, versus trying to force them back early.” With Turner and Werth returning to the team, this is even stronger evidence of one of the most capable benches Washington has seen.
Star outfielder Bryce Harper, who was injured in August in a game against the Giants, is also returning in time for playoffs. The Washington Post reported, “The goal when Harper returned, it seemed, was to have him slowly ramp up his workload each day.” As to not wear him out too soon after recovery, the team is not playing him every game. The strategy is smart, making it so he stays healthy throughout the rest of the season.
With the Nationals just beating the Pittsburgh Pirates, they now head into the series against the Chicago Cubs. Even with the return of strong players to the Nationals, the team will face some obstacles when playing this impressive Cubs team. Unfortunately for the Nationals, they will be heading into this matchup without pitcher Max Scherzer, who will definitely miss the first game and could possibly miss even more time.