Tom Boswell puts it best:
Baseball has always been a game of streaks — with hot often turning instantly to cold. But the Nationals are taking it to extremes. This season, the Nats have gone 7-13 and looked scatterbrained and error-tormented while doing it. Then they used a 13-12 comeback win as an emotional springboard to run off a 21-6 streak, and they could hardly have played sharper baseball.My last game was on Saturday where they lost to the Cubs 4-2. The night before the Nats had done really well. Saturday they were just flat. Their two runs came from two home runs. One from Wilson Ramos in the 2nd. The other from Bryce Harper in the 9th. They had three other hits for the entire game. Just not enough to do it.
Now, they’ve been ripped apart by a 53-27 margin in their last 10 games by the Reds, Blue Jays and Cubs — clubs that are under .500 as a group. If the Nationals weren’t in the anemic National League East, they’d probably be punished with a significant deficit already for their meandering 30-27 record. Instead, they are only a half-game behind the first-placed New York Mets.
Saturday's game also brought the major league debut of Joe Ross. He actually did pretty well. He just didn't get any offensive support. From the Post:
But beneath the offensive gloom was the major league debut of 22-year-old Joe Ross , who was solid in five innings of work.The question is is this the way the season is going to go. Very hot one minute and then very cold the next. Or is this just a blip or a bump or a little pause until they get things back on track.
Ross is a tall and talented right-hander with a heavy sinking fastball and biting slider and is the younger brother of Padres starter Tyson Ross. Joe Ross was one of two prospects acquired from San Diego in the three-team deal that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Tampa Bay this season. He is also the youngest player to play for the Nationals this season. As shortstop Ian Desmond said afterward, Ross pitched like he had done this kind of thing before.
They are dealing with injuries. The incredible pitching rotation is more than a little banged up. Anthony Rendon is back (his first game back was Thursday). But it takes a little while to get up to full steam. Jayson Werth is probably out until August.
But if there's a time to have major injuries and a slump it's in June and not in September.