Padres 3, Nationals 2: Second Look

SAN DIEGO - I wrote last night about the Nationals’ continuing issues on offense; that was the overriding theme from yesterday’s game, and it continues to be the issue at the forefront of most people’s minds as the team starts a four-game series in Houston today. The Nationals are 2-4 on their current road trip, needing to beat up on the NL-worst Astros to salvage the trip.

I’m about to start the day-long process of getting from one American coast to the other, so I’m going to keep this short and leave you with one key question to bat around: What should the Nationals do about their outfield?

Roger Bernadina was 0-for-4 yesterday, and with Nyjer Morgan’s recent struggles (including a 1-for-5 day yesterday), manager Jim Riggleman hinted in his post-game press conference he might move Morgan out of the leadoff spot for now.

The Nationals’ decision to get rid of Elijah Dukes was made in large part because he wasn’t producing in the outfield and didn’t appear to be turning a corner anytime soon. But I’ve got to believe it was made with at least some assumption that Morgan would be better offensively than he has been. His history suggests he’ll get better than this, but right now, he looks lost both offensively and defensively.

So here’s my question for the day: Is the Nationals’ outfield problem solvable internally, or do they need to look outside? They’ve kicked the tires on Corey Hart and Kosuke Fukudome, and even B.J. Upton (though the Rays aren’t likely to be in selling mode), and I’ve seen a suggestion on Twitter they should trade for Kansas City’s David DeJesus, which I think is a decent idea.

What’s your take on the outfield? What would you do with it at this point, and if it’s an external fix, who would you get? Let me know.

One In Case You Missed It Today: The play that put the winning run on base in the 11th broke down like this: Lance Zawadzki hit a comebacker to the mound, Sean Burnett instinctively reached for it, and when it went off the end of his glove, it shot to Adam Kennedy’s left. Had Burnett not touched it, Kennedy’s move to his right would have put him in perfect position to field the ball. Instead, Kennedy got caught going the wrong way, and once he got the ball, his hurried throw to first sailed past Adam Dunn. putting Zawadzki on second. “My only chance was to try to throw it as hard as I can on the run,” Kennedy said. Burnett said it was a reflex to go after the ball, but clearly felt bad he had turned a routine play into a difficult one.

Time to board my flight, and as such, we’ll go lo-fi during the game today. I’ll set up a post where you can comment on the game, and airplane wi-fi willing, I’ll chime in with responses to your comments. In the meantime, let me know what you’d do about the Nats’ outfield. Enjoy your holiday.