Legends On Deck

After Slow Start, Nationals And Harper Are Rising To The Top

Since starting out the season losing six of their first nine games and finishing the month of April at 10-13, the Washington Nationals have had their work cut out for them to catch the surging first place Mets.  But as the calendar changed to May, the Nationals have turned up the heat and now are 19-16, after winning nine of their last 11 games and sit just 1.5 games out of the lead. The sudden reversal can be in part to the Mets losing six of their last 10 games, but can’t take away credit from what the Nationals have done so far in May.

One of the main reasons for the sudden turn around has been the outstanding play of Bryce Harper, who is finally playing healthy and producing with his bat.  In the last month, Harper is batting .333, with 27 runs, eight doubles, 10 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 27 walks with a .479 OBP%. Just a great span from a player that has been waiting to break-out since his debut in 2012.  But injuries have limited Harper in the previous seasons, but he is finally showcasing the skills that Nationals fans have been waiting for as he is looking to have the best season in his brief career.

In the last week, there are other players that have stood out on the offensive side as the Nationals look to catch the Mets. Yunel Escobar, is batting .458 (11 for 24), with eight runs scored, Ryan Zimmerman is at .391 (9 for 23), with two home runs and eight RBI’s, Denard Span is batting .350 (7 for 20), with a home run, and Danny Espinosa is on track to surpass his 2014 numbers, and in the last week, he is batting, .333 (7 for 21), eight runs scored, two home runs and three RBIs.

On the pitching side, there aren’t any that are standing out and having a career year, but starter Max Scherzer has allowed less than two runs a game with a 1.99 ERA, Doug Fister has a 2.87 ERA and closer Drew Storen is 10 for 11 in save opportunities and opposing batters are hitting just .173 against him. But thanks recently to the offense, the Nats are inline to make a solid run at the Mets.

On Wednesday, a new hero emerged as Michael Taylor pinch hit for Harper and hit a grand slam to put Washington up for good and complete their comeback in their 9-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

All the pieces are slowly coming together and with the rest of the National League East division playing under .500, now is the best time for the Nationals to continue their surge towards first place.


David Conde
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