The Washington Times - May 27, 2011, 10:46AM

Things are bad for the Nationals right now, yes. Things are worse for the San Diego Padres, the Nationals opponent as they begin a six-game homestand tonight at Nationals Park.

The Padres are not only 20-30, last in the National League West, but they’re also owners of the worst batting average in the major leagues (edging the Nationals by one point at .228) and the worst OPS in the NL.


They’re also 1-6 vs. the NL East this season.

The Nationals haven’t been able to assert themselves over too many teams recently — even the Baltimore Orioles (who, by the way, wake up .500 this morning) took two of three from them. And the difference between the Padres’ numbers and the Nationals’ is miniscule.

Still, if the Nationals aren’t able to take advantage of the Padres and break out of their recent tailspin, especially with the Phillies coming to town on Monday — and even though it’s not yet June — it may not be an exaggeration to say that they’ll have buried themselves too deep to recover any semblance of a successful season.

Rumors are already starting to swirl that the Nationals could be close to breaking up some of the team they’ve put together. When Buster Posey went down Wednesday night in San Francisco, the Nationals and Ivan Rodriguez were two of the first names uttered as a possible trade partner and trading piece, respectively.

And Jayson Werth did his part to fan the flames, intentionally or not, when he cryptically hinted that “things need to change” after the team’s fifth straight loss on Wednesday. 

The Nationals have had a day off to relax, reevaluate and refocus. They’re going to need it. How they play the next few games — and how they respond from their first extended skid — could decide a lot with regard to the rest of their season.