Two weeks ago, though, the Nats went on an extended west coast road trip and came away with more wins than losses. Not a small task for this Nationals team. But things really seemed to turn around when the Nats took 3 of 4 from the struggling Padres. The low scoring games and newly shuffled lineup showed the Nats could be successful while playing small ball. But then they came home, and big ball returned in a big way.
The Nats have scored 18 runs in 2 games and has won 5 consecutive games for the first time since 2009. Let's look at our top 5 exclusively fantastic list of reasons why the Nats have looked this good.:
- Ryan Zimmerman - I mean, come on. How could #1 possibly be anything else? When Zimm is in the lineup, the team just feels different. I literally felt giddy watching his return on Tuesday, and it didn't disappoint.
- New lineup - Ever since Riggs put Werth at the top of the lineup on Saturday with the pitcher hitting 8th, the Nats haven't lost a game. It's just a fact, whether you agree with the new lineup or not, and you've gotta stick with what's working.
- Clutch hitting - the Nats nearly blew Sunday's game against the Padres by starting the game something like 0 for 16 with RISP, but that hasn't been the case against the Cards. Clutch, 2 out hitting has been abundant throughout the games.
- Michael Morse - Morse is making a ridiculously strong case to make his first career All-Star Game, but being at 1B certainly works against him (see: Pujols, Fielder, Howard, et al). That said, he's hitting .339 in June hitting full-time and hit .405 in May part-time. He just can't stop raking against ever pitcher he faces. He's also played great defense at 1B, which leads us to...
- Defense, defense, defense - The Nats haven't committed an error in 127 innings (June 1 against the Phillies) and that is a stark difference compared with previous seasons. It's fun to watch young players, and even older ones, play so remarkably in the field. It's also staggering to us that ANYONE thinks it's a good idea to run on Ramos and Pudge, under any circumstances. They're unreal.