The turmoil created a series of offensive black holes in the Nationals‘ starting nine. The Nos. 2, 6, 7 and 8 spots all have on-base percentages under .300, numbers that lead to, well, managers not shaving in hopes of sparking change. Well, change other than itching.
There’s little Johnson can do other than hope the reunited starters can remain healthy and start producing at levels within hailing distance of their career averages before the season slips further away. This isn’t easy or comfortable. He has to wait.
The only obvious starting spot to upgrade was swapping hot-hitting prospect Anthony Rendon for banged-up Danny Espinosa at second base. That’s been one of the few offensive success stories, as Rendon has turned into a reliable regular while the once-dependable Espinosa, exiled to Triple-A, has slumped to a .088 average with 34 strikeouts in 20 games with Syracuse.
There isn’t another position in the field to upgrade. Players who have hit before need to hit again. The solution is that simple.
What else is Johnson supposed to do?
The manager can toy with lineups, like hitting Ian Desmond in the No. 2 hole Thursday. Patience, though, is what’s left. There’s nothing crazy about that.