Coming into this weekend, there was a lot of pressure on the Washington Nationals as the first-place New York Mets came to town for a four-game series. A lot was on the line, and many, including myself, felt that if the Nationals are going to make any serious run and try to climb in the standings, they would have to win or even sweep the New York Mets.
While the Nationals didn’t sweep the Mets, they did win the series over the them and got some powerful hitting from their new leadoff man: Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber was acquired by Mike Rizzo during the offseason in order to bring his bat and power to the plate. Up until this homestand, we have seen sparks of his power on and off, but it has been shaky at best. However, it was this homestand in which Schwarber really hit his stride in the leadoff spot.
To be honest with you, I don’t know what’s going on… The consistent work in the cage, I think, has been a big thing. And I think just feeling comfortable at the plate, I think that’s a big contributor.Kyle Schwarber
Over the last 15 games, Schwarber has hit nine home runs and has had 17 RBI’s and 14 hits. Additionally, over the past two days, Schwarber has hit five home runs..
According to Sarah Langs of MLB, ”Kyle Schwarber’s five homers in his last two games are tied for the most HR in a two-game span in Nats/Expos history, with Bryce Harper in 2015.”
If the Nationals are going to make some serious noise during the month of July, they are going to need Schwarber to continue his hot streak, hitting home runs in the leadoff spot and driving in runs. Hopefully the rest of the Nationals lineup catches fire in July.
This is not to mention the pitching staff, with Scherzer and Strasburg both still on the IL. The pitching rotation now has an impressive 1.81 ERA over the last 16 games, and with Patrick Corbin’s performance today (six-plus innings, only giving up two runs), the possible return of their stars can only help the team and its hunt for first place in the NL East.
Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, with the Nationals three games under .500 at 33-36, still trailing New York by five games in the division.