When Kevin Long took over as the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals, there was optimism that we would see immediate improvement. The misconception is in the expectations. Change takes time. Change takes patience. Give it time and be patient. In the meantime, the Washington Nationals are having a stalling engine in the clean-up spot with Ryan Zimmerman. What is hard to believe is that Zimmerman has stranded 18 runners-on-base in just 22 at-bats. Zim is not the only under-achiever with a bat, but he occupies the 4-spot in the batting order. Nobody has had more at-bats with RISP (runners-in-scoring-position) than Zim who has had 8 opportunities with only 1 hit. The sample sizes are small, and the season is young. You can expect the Face-of-the-Franchise will lock-in soon — but the simple solution could be rearranging the furniture meaning the line-up could use some change.
In yesterday’s game, the Nationals were losing 4-to-2 and had bases loaded and no outs. In steps Ryan Zimmerman who just needed a productive out to drive in a run while a hit was really optimal to most likely tie the game up. Zimmerman popped up to short right field and could not score Brian Goodwin from 3rd base. Howie Kendrick lined out after Zimmerman, and the inning ended when Trea Turner struck out as the 42,000 fans in attendance watched in disbelief of what just happened.
The line-up is clearly missing a healthy Daniel Murphy, and once again the catcher position is an issue. Matt Wieters was not looking good to start the season, and Miguel Montero has not come close to a hit. Again, sample sizes are small but that is all we have to go by.
Do you go with Pedro Severino at catcher and play Matt Adams more? Do you juggle the line-up? Or do you stick with what you have and wait for Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Taylor and the catchers to lock-in?