Nationals fans are experiencing a bit of deja vu after the first month of the season.
For a second straight year, Washington was a preseason darling, picked as Sports Illustrated’s team to win the World Series. Yet, the season is just over a month underway and injuries and inconsistent play have once again taken over.
Even postgame comments are beginning to sound the same as last year’s.
“It’s early. It’s April. You can only say that for so long, though,” right fielder Jayson Werth said after a 7-2 loss to the Angels last week.
Here are five similarities between 2013 and 2014:
Though Washington is 16-12 (compared with 13-14 in 2013), it is in the same spot it was at this time a year ago: behind the Braves in the NL East. The Nationals went 0-5 against the Braves in April 2013 and went 1-5 against them over the first month of this season. Meanwhile, the Braves ended the past two Aprils 17-9.
Lack of Consistency
After getting off to 7-2 starts the past two seasons, the Nationals were unable to establish a winning streak of more than three games in the rest of baseball’s first month in either campaign. Since April 11, the Nationals’ longest winning streak has been two games.
Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper is once again missing significant time due to injury. Catcher Wilson Ramos (wrist), third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) and pitcher Doug Fister (lat strain) have all dealt with injuries, too. A total of eight players have been on the DL this year, compared with 10 players that missed games by mid-June in 2013.
A year ago, the Nationals committed 107 errors, tied for seventh-worst in the majors. This year, it’s been more of the same. The Nationals were tied for second-worst with 26 errors before Thursday’s games.
Pitcher Taylor Jordan (since re-assigned to Syracuse) has been the staff’s weak link (0-3, 5.61 ERA), though Fister should return to the rotation next week. Denard Span is off to a slow start, batting .233 compared with his first-month 2013 average of .276. And a middle-of-the lineup bat is again hitting under .240. Last year, it was Adam LaRoche (.136 in April); this year, it’s Ian Desmond (.232).