Rachel Levitin: It's tough to predict whether Nats will rebound from struggles

At the end of each month of play last season, I remember sitting down along side some of my fellow Nats bloggers and chatting up a storm about how we just couldn't believe how well this team was doing week in and week out. No one wanted to get ahead of themselves by predicting a possible extraordinary outcome in fear of jinxing the team.

Now the team that proved itself worthy of the postseason (despite an early exit in the first round), is struggling to find its footing. The Nationals are riddled with injuries that seem to keep on coming, they're trying to break out of an offensive slump and the bullpen is having a hard time closing games out in save situations.

How the Nationals will fare in 2013 is impossible to predict. The team looks great on paper, but translating that to the playing field has proven to be far more difficult for this roster than expected. Manager Davey Johnson remains confident in his players' abilities and the talent they posses, but confidence will only go so far.

The trade deadline is a ways away at this point, but I wouldn't be too surprised if general manager Mike Rizzo made a few moves if the Nats are still struggling to win games in the middle of the summer. It's tough to say who, if anyone, would be a chip to deal in such a case but if this team doesn't rise to their potential soon it may come down to that.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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