With torrid hitting in the first two weeks of July, Jayson Werth has erased his slumping June. After going 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBI in Sunday’s throttling of the Phillies, Werth’s slash line for July looks like this: .375/.490/.975 with six home runs and 19 RBI. The home run and RBI outputs are already the biggest of any month this season. In only 40 at-bats, he has 39 total bases, nearly as many as the entire month of April.
And now, in the middle of a hot streak, Werth must rest for four days. It may be an inopportune time for Werth to take a break, but he welcomes it.
“It’s going to be good,” he said after Sunday’s 10-3 win. “I was joking with [Tyler Clippard on his all-star selection,] ‘Congratulations but sorry to hear.’ Sometimes the four days off can be beneficial but I think when you play every day and you play hard every day and you get to this point, you look forward to the four days and then you come back ready to buckle it down for the second half.”
The Nationals’ offense has been whole for two weeks and the level of production has picked up. Having a healthy lineup helps but Werth’s July resurgence has been a major reason. In the 12 games since Bryce Harper returned from the disabled list, the offense has scored 63 runs, boosted by two lopsided wins over the Cubs and Phillies.
Before the Nationals went their separate ways Sunday, Manager Matt Williams made his way around the clubhouse and chatted with players. He told each of them to rest, enjoy the time with their families and remain somewhat active. To Williams, the four-day break for everyone but Clippard comes at a good time. He said he has seen some players look a tad tired, the result of a lot of playing time over the trying first 3 1/2 months of the season.
Williams believes the rest will be good for Werth, the team’s oldest position player. His hot bat and experience will be crucial if the Nats hope to make a second-half push.
“He’s been in this situation before,” Williams said. “He’s got the ability to do a lot of things out there. From getting on base, hitting the ball over the fence, driving runs in. He’s had a really good July. I know he’s dragging just a touch. It’s good to give him a few days. He’s a veteran guy. He knows what he’s doing and can lead this club. He’s had a really good year so far.”
FROM THE POST
At MLB Futures Game, Nationals prospects Lucas Giolito and Michael A. Taylor perform, writes Adam Kilgore
FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Charlotte 13, Syracuse 8: In a rare clunker, Taylor Hill allowed seven runs on six hits over one-third of an inning. The bullpen, led by two scoreless innings from Matt Grace, filled the rest of the innings. Steven Souza Jr. hit his 14th home run and Zach Walters added his 13th.
Harrisburg 9, Altoona 5: James Simmons allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings. Colin Bates, Bryan Harper and Robert Benincasa combined for four scoreless innings. Quincy Latimore homered. Caleb Ramsey and Kevin Keyes each had three hits.
Potomac 2, Frederick 1: Ian Dickson tossed five scoreless innings, Richie Mirowski added three scoreless and Jake Walsh fired two scoreless. Tony Renda drove in the winning run with a single in the top of the 13th. Randolph Oduber finished 3 for 6.
Lexington 6, Hagerstown 5: Jake Johansen gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits over five innings. Ryan Ullman and Joseph Webb combined for three scoreless. Narciso Mesa homered. Brennan Middleton went 2 for 3.
Auburn 5, Aberdeen 3: Matthew Derosier allowed only one run over five innings. Tyler Mapes earned his second save. Raudy Read went 2 for 4 with a homer. Willie Medina also added two hits.