Jul 14, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT
After a surprising, often exciting and certainly eventful first half, the Nationals return to the field Friday night in Atlanta boasting a 46-46 record and reason to believe they can sustain that pace over the season’s final 2 1/2 months.
Whether they can keep themselves over the .500 mark or not, the Nationals have plenty to sort out before this season comes to an end. There are players (young and old) that need to get themselves on track, others who could find themselves on the trading block, rookies fighting for league-wide honors, key injured players trying to get back in the big leagues and a new manager who must decide whether he wants to keep the job long-term or not.
Here are the five biggest storylines for the Nationals over the second half of the season…
1. CAN JAYSON WERTH GET HIS SEASON BACK ON TRACK?
There’s no sugarcoating this: Werth was terrible during the first half of his first season with the Nationals. His .215 batting average is second-worst among all NL qualifying hitters, his .681 OPS is 167 points worse than his career number and he’s on pace to finish with a paltry 55 RBI.
Simply put, Werth is too good a ballplayer to put up such wretched numbers. Either he’s injured — he’s had a few nagging ailments but
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Gio Gonzalez pulled from Nats' win with left shoulder tightness
- LaRoche's walk-off hit saves Nationals from sweep vs. Angels
- Former Senators pitcher Connie Marrero passes away
- Injury updates on Zimmerman and Hairston
- Baseball in the District: Thom Loverro of ESPN 980 talks Nats
- Gio, Nationals try to avoid getting swept by Angels
- Nationals Stock Watch: Harper has rough week
- How secure is struggling Jordan's rotation spot?
- Pujols gets 500th, Nats fall to Angels
- Pujols launches 500th homer at Nationals' expense