During some rough patches in April, Nationals players and coaches kept saying it was early in the season and things would turn around. The mild frustration started to become a little more palpable as the team lost games and the offense had trouble with its consistency.
But all that time, the Nationals stayed close to the .500 mark. And in the last week, that patience has started to pay off.
With Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Detroit, the Nationals have won three in a row and five of their last six.
They are 5-1 in May.
Starter Jordan Zimmermann noticed the difference with the offense as he twirled seven innings for his sixth win.
“The bats are coming around, they scored three tonight,” Zimmermann said. “(Adam LaRoche) is hitting the ball now. His first month is over, so that is good, now he can get back to (being) Adam LaRoche.
“Everyone else is playing great defense and hitting the ball. A couple of starters are in a rough spot right now. They will come around and we will be just fine.”
First baseman LaRoche had two more hits Wednesday and said the combination of a couple of timely hits and amazing starting pitching reminds him a bit of the Nationals’ streaks in 2012.
“Looking back, last year we had some skids offensively, but we were winning those games so it really wasn’t a big deal,” LaRoche said. “We would go out and get five hits and win 2-1. Now we go out and get five hits and we are losing those games. So it is a bigger deal offensively.
“We are starting to show what we can do a little bit more. Obviously, you get performances like that from Jordan it makes it easy on all of us.”
Reliever Tyler Clippard came on in the eighth and battled through a couple of two-out walks to get the game into the ninth. He said he has noticed how the Nationals are grinding out some wins recently in a departure from their usual big bat ways, Bryce Harper’s blast notwithstanding.
“We are playing the games like we want to play them,” Clippard said. “That is the type of ballclub we are. We know we are going to play some close games. We are pitching well, playing good defense. Scoring those little runs here and there you wouldn’t really expect us to score. That is what is making the difference in the wins. That is kind of right where we want to be.”