(Aug. 5-7) Washington Struggles at Plate in Three-Game Sweep By Atlanta
The Washington Nationals lost more ground in the Wild Card race following a three-game sweep by the hot Atlanta Braves to start the week. In all three games, the Nationals continued to struggle mightily at the plate, failing to record more than five hits total in the final two games of the series.

Their hitting woes squandered three good performances from the Nationals best starting pitchers, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann. Strasburg gave up just five hits and two runs in a 3-2 loss in the First Game, Gonzalez allowed six hits and just two runs in a 2-1 loss in the Second Game the next night, and Zimmermann gave up seven hits and two runs in a 6-3 loss in the Third Game.

(Aug. 9-10) Nats’ Jumpstart Offense to Win Two Straight Against Phillies
Unlike their series against the Braves, in the first two games of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies the Nationals found success at the plate. The Nats recorded 12 hits in a 9-2 win in their First Game on Aug. 9, with Wilson Ramos, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond each recording two hits and Anthony Rendon blasting a homerun. Starting pitcher Dan Haren won his third straight start, giving up four hits and two earned runs over seven innings of work.

The Nats’ maintained the success on offense with 11 hits in their Second Game 8-5 win on Aug. 10. Jayson Werth had three hits, including his 1,000th career hit, a two-run homer that helped seal the win.

Analysis:The chances of the Nationals (56-60) reaching the playoffs are slim to none at this point, but they can still put on a show for their fans, especially when they get their offense going at Nationals Park. The hitting has been inconsistent all season for Washington, but as long as they get it together in front of their home crowd, fans may still have a reason to come out to games.

Nat’s Player of the Week: Jayson Werth
Werth had six hits this week, including his 1,000th career hit against the Phillies. He also scored six runs, along with five RBI and two homeruns.

Next up:
Washington will close out their series with the Phillies before they end their home stand with a three game series against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 13 to Aug. 15. They will then hit the road for a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 16 to Aug. 18.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor