The World Series hangover must be real, though the Washington Nationals are playing like they are still drunk.
We watched the 2019 version of the Washington Nationals grab themselves by the bootstraps and climb back into contention after being twelve games under .500 fifty games into the season. The 2020 version won’t have the luxury of an added 110 games to do so.
If you look at the standings closely you’ll have to look in the cellar of the National League East to find the defending World Champions. With a record of 1-4, the Nats are looking up at everyone else in the division, even the COVID stricken Miami Marlins (who currently have the best record in the division).
We are five games into the season and the Nats are only two games back of first place, so the time to panic is not now.
Unless the time to panic is now.
Through the Nationals’ first five games they have committed seven errors and been caught stealing three times.
Those base running numbers may not seem like a lot, but addd to a runner being picked off and compare with zero stolen bases, and the team is running themselves out of innings.
Trailing 3-2 in the 9th to the New York Yankees, Emilio Bonifacio was caught stealing third base for the first out in a game the Nats lost. Trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1, Starlin Castro booted a potential inning ending double play ball, which was followed by a two-run, game sealing single.
In three of the four losses the Nats have scored just one run. Almost as if they haven’t shown up. When Anthony Rendon walked away in the offseason via free agency, and Juan Soto landed on the COVID list, we knew the team would have to find power and run production elsewhere.
They have not found it yet.
There is no shame in losing a hard fought game. Kicking the ball around the infield and getting caught stealing in key positions of the game seem inexcusable.
If the Washington Nationals want to be one of the teams to make it into the postseason, they best stop giving away wins.