May 4, 2013, 4:08 AM EDT
Danny Espinosa looks back at umpire James Hoye after striking out in the seventh.
PITTSBURGH — The Nationals have four players who have been All-Stars in their everyday lineup. They have six guys who have at least 20 homers in a big-league season, three who have hit at least .300, six who own career on-base percentages of at least .330.
So common sense suggests this team will start hitting at least a major-league-average level at some point in 2013. That day has not yet come, though, and not even the return of the club’s cleanup hitter Friday night could inject life into a lineup that statistically ranks among the majors’ worst so far this year.
“We know we can score runs, and we know we will,” Ryan Zimmerman said following a 3-1 loss to the Pirates. “It’s just part of it. Nobody wants it to happen. Nobody wants to not score runs. But it happens. We just have to keep working and keep showing up every day and going to work and making some adjustments and just moving forward.”
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