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
x-Clinched division title
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
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. Click here for past audio clips.
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