The 2020 season is finally here and there are lots of huge storylines throughout the league. For the Nats it's the positive coronavirus test for star outfielder Juan Soto, and the rough start for the Nats, jumping out to a 1-4 record which has been magnified by the shortened season. In this article I will be breaking down exactly what happened to the Nats and how they can rebound from a rough start in the shortened season.
Alongside the loss of Juan Soto, the Nats have lost many pieces to their team with most coming from the effects of the Coronavirus. Before the season began two of the key pieces in the Nationals world series run, Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman opted out of the season due to health concerns. Ryan Zimmerman who has been with the Nats since their first season was a key factor and one of the faces of the nationals franchise. With his absence slugger Eric Thames has been the starting first baseman for all of the Nationals first five games. Thames has struggled early and not having Zimmerman to replace him is hurting the Nationals. Joe Ross also has opted out for the Nationals. A former starting pitcher, Ross was most likely going to be a strong reliever if he did not win the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
The two biggest absences for the defending champs have been the biggest reasons behind the Nats struggles. Stephen Strasburg missed the second game of the season and was scratched from his start with a back injury. While he is expected to recover the Nats will hurt if he is out anymore games because it is unlikely that Eric Fedde can pick up what Strasburg gives up consistently despite doing just that and earning the Nats only win so far this season in the second game. Finally, Juan Soto has been diagnosed with Covid-19, but has since received multiple negative tests which comes to the suprise of many. The situation with Soto is very confusing, but it doesn't matte because he has been out for the Nats and that is causing a lot of problems for the Nationals offense which has only scored four runs in the last three games.Chris and Calvin's play by play of the Nationals opener versus the Yankees.
While normally a 1-4 start in a 162 game season isn't a worry. In a 60 game season it is. Teams do not have time to recover from a slow start or get over a cold streak solely because there are not enough games. For the Nats the key has got to be getting the offense going. We know the Nationals are strong at the pitching position, but at the moment their only offense seems to be homeruns. They need to focus on getting on base with no outs and battling for singles and doubles while not being as concerned about knocking the ball out of the park. Veterans like Howie Kendrick must help out the team and we need to just focus on taking it one game at a time which is the mentality that led the team to a world championship.
The Nats have started rough, but if they can get back on course they are still a deadly team, poised to make yet another playoff run.