Following an impressive series in Philadelphia, things have not played out how the Nationals would have hoped. Dropping a home series to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the week was immediately followed by a 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. However, Wednesday is a new day and an opportunity for Washington to get back on track.
Here are three things to watch for:
1. Where’s the relief?: The first couple weeks of the season didn’t go well for the bullpen. Week three hasn’t gone much better. The relief staff earned the loss on Sunday after allowing Pittsburgh to break the tie in the ninth with two outs and two strikes. On Tuesday, an inability to hold the Giants in the late innings hindered an opportunity at a comeback win. Besides Sean Doolittle, it’s hard to think of a reliable and consistent arm in that bullpen. If the Nationals want to get back on track, they’ll need some consistency from their late-inning guys.
2. Searching for consistency: Speaking of consistency, it’s something Washington has struggled to obtain on a larger level than just the bullpen. As NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas explained, the Nationals’ season has been filled with ups and downs. Philadelphia seemed to be a potential turning point, but two straight losses have stifled that momentum. It’s a long season, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Nationals can begin to string wins together and build on positives.
3. Silent bats: Despite a win on Saturday, the Nationals offense hasn’t scored more than three runs in four straight games. This comes immediately after scoring 25 runs in two games (there’s that inconsistency again). As of late, Anthony Rendon has been doing most of the heavy lifting on the offensive side. Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto have contributed at times, but the Nationals are still searching for more production throughout the lineup.