September has been a good month for the Nationals as the season winds down and a great deal of the credit for the surge goes to the youth infusion from Triple-A Syracuse and the return of fireballer Stephen Strasburg.
Pitchers Strasburg, Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock have been very impressive: Strasburg with an ERA below 1.30 and back-to-back wins for Milone and Peacock at Citi Field in New York last week, are signals that the Nationals' pitching staff is in good hands for seasons to come.
First baseman Chris Marrero has been the exclusive starter at that position since his promotion in late August. He has shown he has a major league bat with 24 hits in 24 games,a .273 average, five doubles and nine RBIs, and has held his own on defense.
Steve Lombardozzi has had four hits in his last five games, including two hits Wednesday,and even got the chance to play at third base in Game 1 of the doubleheader Tuesday.
All of the call-ups have not only held their own, but have excelled at the highest level, which makes the Nationals' top brass pleased to see those results.
Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said it was "awesome as a group (coaching staff, ownership, scouts) to be able to touch them before their promotions. A lot of guys in the clubhouse (in Viera, Fla., at instructional camp) see those guys do well up there and it all becomes more real."
Harris said seeing the end result of all that work and preparation motivates the staff to re-double their efforts with the latest crop of prospects.
"We have a group of prospects who are prepared to get (to the majors)," Harris said. "Those prospects see their teammates make it and they say 'I have a chance'."