Despite the current five-game losing streak in which the team has managed just 11 runs, including only a single run scored in the past 19 innings, Nats manager Jim Riggleman does not think shaking up the lineup is the solution to recent offensive woes.
“I have played around there with Nyjer (Morgan) in the 1 and 2, (Cristian) Guzman in the 1 and 2, (Ryan) Zimmerman and (Adam) Dunn in the 3 and 4. That is about the extent of it. When (Mike) Morse is in there, he may hit seventh. When Pudge (Rodriguez) isn’t catching, (Roger) Bernadina hits sixth as opposed to seventh. There is very little I am doing there.
“Sometimes parts of your lineup are working. Yesterday, in the first inning, our first two guys were on base. The day before they weren’t on base. We have to get the whole lineup working at the same time, and that hasn’t happened recently.”
Today’s lineup proves his point: Morgan, Guzman, Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham, Bernadina, Desmond, Nieves and Lannan.
Riggleman has seen some positives from the first two games against Chicago.
“I am very encouraged with the way we played the last couple of days. The way we pitched. That is good baseball. If we play good baseball and pitch that well, that bodes well for the future.
“I want to win as much as anybody. I can really see a lot of possibilities when we pitch and play that well. I know we are going to win our share of games and make a statement in the division. We can with that kind of pitching.”
On the divisional race with the Braves, Mets and Phillies playing well:
“That is what we need to do. We need to hit our hot spell. We haven’t really done that. It is up to us to do that to close the gap in the division. If we don’t get hot, we are not going to close the gap. Talking about it and being concerned about it doesn’t accomplish anything. You have to go out and play good baseball.”