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Nationals look to make a push in season’s second half

The Washington Nationals have hung on to second place for most of the first half of this season. They are currently a half a dozen games behind the first place Atlanta Braves, but cannot seem to play above mediocrity.

Injuries have played their part in this with Bryce Harper being slowed by knee bursitis and a bad wrist sidelining Danny Espinosa.

However, in the clubhouse the feeling is there is more than enough talent to win more games than they have.

Now is seems four to five players have started to put things together and could help to bring along the rest of the team to make a strong run following the All-Star break.

Ryan Zimmerman

The Nats have lacked timely hitting this season and it seems that Zimmerman has been the only hitter for Washington doing that of late and most of that is due to him finally being healthy.

He has played well over the last two Nationals’ series first against Colorado and then Cleveland, with both being on the road.

He is now the third hitter in the lineup, which was left open when Harper went down with his bursitis.

Zimmerman and his teammates know he has to hit well for them to compete in the NL. In June, he has two home runs, 7 doubles, 5 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

Ian Desmond

Desmond has played spectacular in June. He has raised his average following a dismal start to the season and is once again an integral part of the Nats lineup.

On Wednesday, Desmond smashed a grand slam in extra innings to help the Nats come from behind to defeat the Phillies.

In June, Desmond is hitting .344, has 4 home runs, 18 RBIs and 8 runs scored.

Anthony Rendon

Rendon is a recent call up from Triple A but the prospect has more than filled in for the injured Espinosa.

This is Rendon’s second stint in the big leagues this season and the way he is playing, he looks to stay up, even when Espinosa is completely healthy again.

Since he was recalled for a second time, Rendon has hit .410 including a ninth-inning home run versus Cleveland.

Overall, his batting average is .354 in just 20 games in the majors. He might not be as good a second baseman as the injured Espinosa, but he is making strides and his bat is doing the talking.

Gio Gonzalez

The Nationals have been known for their pitching and one pitching standing out amongst the crowd is Gonzalez. Over his last four starts in June, Gonzalez has been able to get into a nice groove. The lefty has only given up six earned runs in his past 27 innings. The rest of the rotation, with the exception of the phenomenal pitching of Jordan Zimmerman, is doing mediocre at best including Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren, while ace Stephen Strasburg is battling injury.

If he can continue to pitch well, he will help the team a great deal once Strasburg gets healthy. The two of them can team with Zimmermann giving them three very strong starters.

In June, Gonzalez has an ERA of just 2.00, with 33 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched.

If the Nats can hold on until Harper, Espinosa and Strasburg are healthy, they could give Atlanta a run in the second half of the season.


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