Despite their current MLB-best seven-game win streak, the Nationals still have an MLB-worst .384 win percentage and are on course for 100 losses. That would be 11 games worse than last year, which was two games worse than the year before. This is the story of your 2008 Washington Nationals, a failure of epic proportions.
But let’s not focus on the past five months. Let’s focus on the past week, a week of wins, and what it means for the future. Sadly, as is often the case with this franchise, it doesn’t mean much. Shall we go through the lineup?
Willie Harris, LF — 29-year-old utility guy who’s having a nice season.
Christian Guzman, SS — 29-year-old fatty with a hollow .300 batting average. Also, this is by far his best season since 2001.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B — The face of the franchise, despite stagnating offensive performance in his first three seasons. That’s not to say he won’t be a regular All-Star at some point, but he’s not the type to carry a lineup.
Lastings Milledge, CF — Terrible instincts in center and on the basepaths. Was bad offensively April-July, but had a great August. Would be delightful to see him finish strong.
Ronnie Belliard, 1B — It could be worse; he could be Paul Lo Duca. He’s having the best season of his career, though he’s just a glorified bench guy.
Elijah Dukes, RF – I love me some Dukes, and he was terrific in June, as well as parts of July and August. If he stays healthy, which is a big if as he’s been hurt each of his two seasons, we’re looking at a 25-25 guy.
Jesus Flores, C – Along with Zimmerman, Dukes and maybe Milledge, this is the only other position player on the roster that I can see working out as part of The Plan. Of course, he’s not that good.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B — He never hit in the minors, and he hasn’t hit in 106 at-bats with the Nats. I can’t believe they traded Jon Rauch for this guy. Actually, Jim Bowden’s in charge. Believe it.
There you have it. That’s the lineup that’s produced the winning streak and a glimmer of hope. Too bad there are only three of four players in there who may actually be good someday. And don’t look at the pitching, because that’s even bleaker. Tim Redding, Odalis Perez and Jason Bergmann are end-of-the-rotation, scrap heap guys. John Lannan is probably a #3 starter at best, and Collin Balester has had a tough go of it so far. And do NOT go to the bullpen, because it’s the worst part of the worst team in baseball.
So, yeah, not much to root for here. Other than, you know, somehow managing to avoid 100 losses while also maintaining the worst record so they can draft that kid out of San Diego State #1 overall next summer. Even though you know they won’t sign him.