He made it to the National League Championship Series in 2010. He won an NL pennant in 2009. He got a World Series ring in 2008.
No shortage of accomplishments there.
Yet, here’s what Werth said last night after the Nats increased their lead over the Braves to seven games with 28 games left in the regular season: “I think we got a month to go, and arguably the most important month of my career.”
What makes him say that, given all that he’s been a part of thus far in his career? Why is this month the most important one, when he’s played in such important games in September and October in prior years?
“That’s just it - it’s in the past,” Werth said.
The Nats have set themselves up for an exciting September, and Werth has played a major part in that. The 35-year-old has been a steady presence in the Nationals lineup, which has been needed while numerous teammates have landed on the disabled list.
He’s delivered clutch hits, played a solid right field, remained a tremendous baserunner and served as a key leader in the clubhouse. And with the final month of the season approaching, Werth has his eyes clearly fixed on the task at hand.
“It’s no secret: I want to win another championship,” Werth said. “I want another ring. Those were my intentions when I came here. In order for that to happen, we’re going to have to play good, I’m going to have to play good and we’ve got a long, hard road ahead of us.”
Werth has needed to battle to get to this point; he was limited by a right shoulder injury earlier this month, an issue that led to Werth receiving a cortisone shot that knocked him out of action for a few days but might have freed him up to get back to his normal form.
In his 13 games played since the shot, Werth is hitting .372 with three RBIs and an OPS north of 1.000, which can be attributed both to him feeling healthy and an adjustment he’s made at the plate.
“Part of the deal was, when I was swinging, it was bothering my shoulder,” Werth said. “I don’t know how many (days) I was out. It felt like seven or 10 days I didn’t play. I had to do something to take the stress off my shoulder. I was screwing around in the cage. It was similar to when I came back from my wrist injury in 2012. Just trying to be shorter and not so long through it.
“I think that’s what was bothering my shoulder. I just kind of shortened up my swing a little bit. I didn’t think it was going to take away my power. In my second at-bat (Saturday night), I hit I think the hardest ball I’ve hit all year. I think it was a good adjustment.”
On the season, Werth is now batting .288/.381/.451 with 15 homers, 75 RBIs and 72 runs scored. It’s quietly been a really solid season for the Nats’ No. 3 hitter.
How does he view it?
“Ask me in a month, or maybe two, and I’ll have a better answer for you,” Werth said. “I like the way we’re playing. I like the way we’re going about it. I like our team. We got a long way to go.”