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
NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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- Werth officially set to return from DL vs. Miami
- Nats' NL East rival trades for former fan favorite Clippard
- State of the Nats: Thinking big before the trade deadline?
- Strasburg to take big step in rehab on Wednesday
- Report: Padres wanted ex-prospect back from Nats in Kimbrel trade
- The Baseball Show: A rough start to the second half
- Brutal stretch for Nats has end in sight; Taylor's heating up
- Cole pitches Pirates past Nationals 3-1
- Rendon sits, as Nats aim for series split with Pirates
- Does weeklong tear mean Desmond is back?