Since Bryce Harper‘s injury almost 10-days ago, the Washington Nationals have a record of 6-and-3 against the Giants, Angels and Padres. Some of the line-ups have looked like a Spring Training concoction like this one against the Twins on a road trip to Ft. Myers:
Here is the line-up:
- Michael Taylor CF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Chris Heisey LF
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Matt Skole DH
- Stephen Drew SS
- Jose Lobaton C
- Brian Goodwin RF
- Corban Joseph 2B
This was the Syracuse Chiefs line-up from last night:
- Trea Turner SS
- Irving Falu 2B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Neftali Soto RF
- Matt Skole 3B
- Spencer Kieboom C
- Rafael Bautista CF
- Erick Fedde P
This line-up (below) was the actual line-up the Nationals used on Saturday against the San Diego Padres. Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters got the day off.
New #Nats lineup: Stevenson RF, Sanchez SS, Rendon 3B, Zimmerman 1B, Kendrick 2B, Taylor CF, De Aza LF, Lobaton C, Strasburg P.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2017
The Nationals have had to dig so deep for players that they signed Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal on June 14th. De Aza had been out of organized baseball since he was released by the Oakland A’s in Spring Training. De Aza had actually signed a deal according to the Washington Post with Tijuana in the Mexican League before the Nationals came calling with a deal. We were kind of thinking they should have tried to coax Rick Ankiel out of retirement (joking). The Nationals have now played 13 different players in the outfield this season with the addition of De Aza. To put that into perspective would be to say they could fill all of the 3 outfield spots in 4 groups deep with 1 extra.
On Saturday, Dusty Baker only penciled in 2 opening day starters with Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman. A coincidence, Rendon was the only projected starter who played in that game in Ft. Myers back in February with Michael Taylor and Jose Lobaton. Three other names on that spring training line-up have started for the Nationals this season like Chris Heisey, Stephen Drew and Brian Goodwin.
In the last 9 games without Bryce Harper, the Nationals have scored a total of 30-runs. Just thirty. That is 3.33 runs scored per game by a group featuring some players who were batting under Mendoza in the starting line-up. On Saturday, the Nats had 4 starters batting under Mendoza. For those who don’t know, Mendoza is the line set at a .200 batting average or below. How low can you go?
Hopefully that is the low point in the season as the Nationals should start getting back starters like Jayson Werth and Trea Turner within the next week and a half. Brian Goodwin could be available soon, and we will be in wait-and-see mode on Bryce Harper who is recovering from a bone bruise from his knee hyper-extension.
The Nationals are also missing many pitchers like Max Scherzer, Enny Romero, Koda Glover and Ryan Madson who are all on the DL.
Stephen Strasburg just returned from the DL, and looked very good in his return. The Nationals will need to make sure their arms are fresh for the long-run.
How do the Nationals arms look in usage compared to the rest of the league?
The Nationals lead the league in pitches thrown for their top-4 pitchers at 9,622. The Nationals have 3 pitchers in the Top 10. What you might notice, there are no Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitchers on this entire list which is the Top 30. The Chicago Cubs only have 1 pitcher in the Top 15. The other projected playoff teams of Arizona and Colorado have players on that list. Colorado has just 1 and the Diamondbacks have 2.
FanGraphs has also now covered this topic from the 120+ pitch count angle and Dusty Baker’s record on it.
The Nationals are beat-up, tired, and still getting at it. The collective effort by these players to persevere is admirable. With a 14-game lead in the NL East, should the Nationals start resting more players?