We take a look at the Nationals’ past week, at a glance:
Team slash: .287/.366/.434
Team ERA: 3.34
Runs per game: 4.57
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B: .300 AVG/ .417 OBP/ 2 HR
How big of a pickup has Cabrera been? Ever since he arrived to Washington at the trade deadline, he’s been everything the Nationals had hoped for. He provides stability at second base (a position he hadn’t played in years) and his bat is a clear upgrade over Danny Espinosa. In 23 games with the Nats, he’s failed to reach base just three times while posting a slashline of .273/.367/.481. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but the move to acquire Caberera for infielder Zach Walters is already making Mike Rizzo look pretty smart.
Bryce Harper, LF: .320 AVG/ .480 SLG/ HR
His power numbers aren’t gaudy just yet, but Harper’s starting to come around a little bit. He’s had four home runs and 11 RBI in the last three weeks, and has more consistently drove the ball to all parts of the yard. Is he the Bryce of 2012 and early 2013? Not quite, yet he’s been effective enough at the plate while steadily improving his power stroke. It remains to be seen if he’ll break out in the next five weeks and return to his old self, but he’s valuable as the player he is right now.
Jayson Werth, RF: .348 AVG/ .483 OBP/ 5 RBI
Perhaps time off did Werth some good. After missing five games with a shoulder injury a few weeks ago, the 35-year-old outfielder has looked revitalized of late. In the 10 games since his return to the lineup, he’s posted a line of .394/.488/.576 and was seemingly in the middle of nearly every late-inning rally the Nats put together in their recent win streak. If you take a step back to look at his numbers on the season, Werth’s put together a darn good year in his fourth season in DC. While his home run numbers are down from a year ago, with 70 RBI he’s on pace to exceed his total from 2013 (82). Should he eclipse that mark, he’ll have posted his highest single-season RBI total since coming to the Nats.
Jerry Blevins, RP: 3 GP/ 9.00 ERA/ 2.00 WHIP
Blevins has unfortunately found himself here a number of times this season. Whenever you have his role, which is something between a middle-innings reliever and a setup man, you have to put up zeros on the scoreboard in tight spots (or…any spot, really). However, Blevins has had trouble doing that on a consistent basis this year and it showed again this week. He may not have allowed the go-ahead runs in losses to the Giants and Phillies, though he did give up runs that put those games out of reach. The Nats have shown the ability to engineer late-inning comebacks, but it’s hard to keep doing that if the bullpen doesn’t limit the deficit.
Tyler Clippard, RP: 0-1/ BS/ 7.71 ERA
Clippard, on the other hand, has rarely seen his stock fall this year. But he’s had a very un-Clippard like week and a half. He was charged with back-to-back blown saves against the Diamondbacks (one while pitching in the eighth, the other in the ninth), then suffered a tough-luck loss
against the Phillies Tuesday night. With Nats fans already expressing concerns about closer Rafael Soriano, the last thing they’d want is to see the setup man slumping too.