Nationals

Mark DeRosa isn't quite ready to panic about Nationals' start

Nationals

One year after finishing in the cellar of the NL East, the Nationals are back in last place.

At 1-5, Washington currently has the worst record in Major League Baseball. It has the fewest wins - partially as a result of missing the first series of the season - and just a .167 winning percentage.

The pitching and defense have been league average, allowing 4.5 runs per game. That's just under the MLB average of 4.54 this season. But the offense has been a different story.

Superstar slugger Juan Soto is tearing the cover off the baseball, and Trea Turner got off to a hot start as well. But much of the rest of the lineup has struggled mightily, as evidenced by the Nats' 2.83 runs per game - the worst in baseball.

Of course, it remains very, very early in the season. The Nationals still have 154 games left on the schedule. If this was an NFL season, the Nats would still be early in the third quarter of Week 1. And the Nats have dealt with a tougher start than most teams thanks to their COVID-19 outbreak.

That's one of the biggest reasons MLB Network analyst and former player Mark DeRosa isn't ready to throw in the towel on Washington just yet.

"I'm not going to full blown panic yet because I want to see [Kyle] Schwarber back in the lineup, Josh Bell back in the lineup. There are just too many guys on [COVID-19 list]," DeRosa said Monday on MLB Network.

Even when the Nationals get back to full strength, however, DeRosa knows the odds are against them.

 

"The problem is their division is so nasty," DeRosa continued. "The Marlins are legit. Like, they're not a bad team...Philly's obviously playing a heck of a lot better and they kind of cleaned the bullpen up, you know Joe Girardi's not going to lose games for them. So there is a level of concern, because I don't know where they find the offense. If Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber aren't having resurgent years, they're going to struggle offensively."

The Nationals are no strangers to bouncing back from slow starts. They famously began the 2019 season 19-31 before turning things around en route to their first-ever World Series championship.

This year's roster looks a lot different than 2019, but the Nats haven't dug themselves quite as big a hole just yet. If offseason additions like Bell and Schwarber ca add to the superb offensive starts by Soto and Turner, then things will start looking up in the nation's capital and the early struggles will be quickly forgotten.