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Do the Nats need another left-handed bat?

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Do the Nats need another left-handed bat?

NASHVILLE — The Nationals’ pursuit of Ben Zobrist wasn’t lip service. They made a serious run at the veteran free agent, so much so that one source familiar with the process said they actually offered more money than the $56 million he wound up taking from the Cubs last night.

That said, the Nationals didn’t desperately need to acquire Zobrist. They have no shortage of viable candidates to fill out their infield. And they have two quite established corner outfielders who aren’t going anywhere in the immediate future.

One question, however, does remain: Do the Nationals really need another bat in their lineup, particularly a left-handed one?

Bryce Harper made it clear on the season’s final day he believes so.

“The one thing we definitely need is another left-handed bat, and hopefully a huge right-handed bat to hit behind me or in front of me,” Harper said. “If we can do that, that would definitely help us out and put us up to the top.”

The “huge right-handed bat to hit behind me or in front of me” Harper alluded to is already on the roster. Actually, the Nationals have one right-handed bat to hit in front of him (Anthony Rendon) and another to hit behind him (Ryan Zimmerman). They just need both guys to stay healthy in 2016.

That left-handed bat, though, remains elusive. As things stand today, there may be only one other left-handed bat in the lineup altogether. Here’s what a projected 2016 lineup looks like at this moment…

LF Jayson Werth (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)
3B Anthony Rendon (R)
RF Bryce Harper (L)
1B Ryan Zimmerman (R)
2B Danny Espinosa (S)
CF Michael Taylor (R)
C Wilson Ramos (R)

That is way too right-handed-heavy. And nothing changes in that regard if and when Trea Turner takes over as either the everyday shortstop or second baseman, being right-handed himself.

So there appears to be legitimate reason for the Nationals, after missing out on Zobrist, to pursue another left-handed bat. There aren’t a ton of options that would fit, but here are two potentially intriguing possibilities…

Daniel Murphy: The Mets’ postseason hero was the talk of the baseball world throughout October, but you haven’t heard much about him over the last month. That’s because everybody had Zobrist higher on their wish lists of second basemen. There’s no denying Murphy’s offensive capabilities, though. No, he’s not the Ruthian power hitter he appeared to be for three weeks in October, but he does boast a career .288/.331/.424 slash line that bears some resemblance to Zobrist’s stats. Defensively, he’s poor, and that would be a concern. But his bat certainly would look nice somewhere around the middle of the Nationals’ lineup and would help bring some much-needed balance.

RELATED Nationals lose out on top free agent target Ben Zobrist

Gerardo Parra: The Nationals were interested in the outfielder over the summer, but the Brewers wound up dealing him to the Orioles instead. Parra struggled in 55 games in Baltimore, hitting a scant .237/.268/.357. But he has established himself as a good hitter over the entirety of his career (.277/.326/.404). He also excels in the field and can play all three outfield positions. His acquisition would give the Nationals four starting-caliber outfielders and would put pressure on Dusty Baker to find playing time for all. But as a left-handed hitter, Parra would be a natural fill-in for either Werth in left field or Taylor in center field.

The markets for Murphy and Parra have yet to heat up, but the expectation around the Winter Meetings all week has been that Zobrist’s signing would start the chain of dominoes. The Nationals may or may not wind up with either guy, but they certainly don’t want to find themselves empty-handed when that final domino does fall.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Joe Ross exits game with leg injury

Washington Nationals Roundup: Joe Ross exits game with leg injury

A massive hot streak has the Nationals trending in the right direction with a month left in the regular season. They scored another 13 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in an all-around impressive offensive showing for the Nats. 

Player Notes:

SP Joe Ross exited Monday's game early in the fourth after being struck by a grounder on his right leg. Before the injury, he continued his incredible stretch of starts as he was through 3.1 innings with three hits and no runs. His last four starts have resulted in four wins for the Nationals and in the process, he's only yielded one run. His performance was so strong that he was making the case to be the team's fifth starter when Max Scherzer comes back later this week.

OF Juan Soto had a perfect night at the plate against the Pirates. Finishing 4-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and four runs scored he's continued his incredible sophomore campaign. In this outing, his OBP went up a whole six points to .404.

3B Asdrubal Cabrera had himself a career day with the Nationals in their 13-0 win over Pittsburgh. A two-run home run, a double and a sac fly supplied five of the Nats 13 runs. Those five RBIs were a new personal best for Cabrera, according to MASN. He's been a great add for the Nationals with an 11-for-29 plate performance in his nine games. 

INF Adrian Sanchez was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to give some infield depth with the temporary absence of Brian Dozier. In 24 MLB games this year he is 6-for-27.

2B Brian Dozier placed on the paternity list and is expected to miss part of the Nats' series in Pittsburgh. He and his wife are expecting their first child.

Injuries:

2B Brian Dozier: Healthy, Paternity leave, day-to-day

SP Max Scherzer: Back, 10-Day IL, maybe back August 22

RP Roenis Elias: Hamstring, 10-Day IL, maybe back in mid-August

1B Ryan Zimmerman: Foot, 10-Day IL, maybe back in late-August

SP Austin Voth: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, maybe back in late-August

RP Sean Doolittle: Knee, 10-Day-IL, out indefinitely 

RP Jonny Venters: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely

Coming Up:

Tuesday 8/20: Nationals @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park
Wednesday 8/21: Nationals @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park 
Thursday 8/22: Nationals @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park

via Rotoworld

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Nationals’ ridiculous three-game scoring pace unmatched in more than 20 years

Nationals’ ridiculous three-game scoring pace unmatched in more than 20 years

The Washington Nationals are on fire right now. Almost literally, as they have been ripping the baseball and breaking records as of late. 

On Monday they scored 13 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a dominant shutout. Those 13 runs, paired with 16 runs scored against Milwaukee on Sunday and 14 on Saturday seem like a lot in a short period of time.

That's because they are. In fact, those 43 runs scored in a three-game stretch is a new franchise record for the club. 

That scoring pace is also the first time since 1996 that a National League team has scored 13 runs or more in three straight games.

A potency of runs is not just limited to the past three games. Over the past five games (two vs. Milwaukee on Thursday and 17 against the Reds on Wednesday), the club has scored 62 runs.

Sixty-two runs. That's 12.4 runs a game.

Also, it's a franchise record and the most in the MLB during such a span since the 2007 Yankees. 

If the Nats keep scoring runs at this unprecedented pace there will be no one able to stop them as they march to the postseason. 

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