Johnson needs to head off to Bora Bora early and let Randy Knorr have a crack at a strong finish. Knorr earned major points a couple of weeks ago when he took over after Johnson got tossed, then pulled closer Rafael Soriano. A small thing but a big thing, too. Let’s see if he’s ready to run this club.
The team and Ryan Zimmerman also need to stop the masquerade of pretending all is well with his shoulder. It clearly is not. Watching him throw hurts. He still has range and a great glove. He’s also missing some of his power — Zimmerman should have more than 12 home runs. Get him right and, if he’s as right as he’s ever going to be, think about a move to the other side of the infield. He can afford a first baseman’s mitt.
Maybe go back to Jayson Werth-Bryce Harper at the top of the lineup? It’s non-traditional, but it worked quite well last season when Werth returned from a wrist injury. For all the team’s woes, Werth has had a strong season and is a versatile enough bat that he can hit anywhere.
Werth was the NL player of the month for July and the Nats still had a losing record. They’ve been miserable since the All-Star break. There’s no reason to believe they have a Dodgers-like run in them. Los Angeles has gone from 30-42 and 9 1/2 back to 63-50 and five up in the NL West.
Even if the Nats do go 33-8 in their next 41, it might not be enough. Atlanta would have to go 17-24 in the same stretch, and that isn’t going to happen. It probably won’t be enough to make up the nine-game deficit in the wild card chase.
It’s over, it’s done. The World Series or Bust season is a bust and only one question remains — can the bust actually get worse?