Rachel Levitin: Making do and searching for consistency

Earlier this week, Nationals Buzz guest blogger Marty Niland pointed out something I agree with. He wrote, "The Nats need to make hay against the teams they are supposed to beat until injured stars (Adam) LaRoche, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman can return to the lineup and bring them back to full strength."

One of the biggest problems facing the Nationals in 2014 is lack of consistency their overall performance due to health-related issues. This, of course, is a plague that haunts any professional sports team in some capacity each year. The issue is that an injury-ridden team has to make due with what's working and what's not.

This is a team teetering between mediocrity and living up to its perceived potential. It's like Niland said: "As bad as (the Nats) have been against the best teams, they have been just as dominant against the worst ones, and that's who they will be playing for the next three weeks."

After a loss to Arizona last night, the Nationals will play a series finale game versus the Diamondbacks this afternoon backs before heading into this three-week stretch of teams they're capable of beating. But given the slew of injuries endured by the Nats thus far, there's no telling what might actually happen on this stretch of games against the Mets, Reds, Pirates and Marlins.

If their play earlier this season is any indication, the Nats could gain some ground and keep their loss count down in the meantime. LaRoche, Harper and Zimmerman are down and others like Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa, Nate McLouth and Kevin Frandsen are stepping up. Can the full roster make a positive impact or is the original starting nine the key to the Nats success in 2014?

It's looking to be a combination and the next few weeks will surely be a test to see if the Nats can cast a steady line and find a string of consistency.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC. Follow her on Twitter: @RHLevitin. She 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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