The 2011 Washington Nationals 40 Games In...Will It Get Better Or Worse?

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: General view of Nationals Park during the seventh inning between the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals on May 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

An NL-worst .225 team AVG, an NL-worst .298 OBP, an NL-worst .346 SLG...the second-worst BABIP (.272) in the National League, the lowest wRC (135.3)...(ed. note - "wRC? - Doghouse explains.")...the second-highest K-total in the NL, an NL-worst +1.4 team WAR, 11th out of 15 in team UZR/150 at (-5.5), 9th of 15 in E's in the National League...and still the Washington Nationals are in fourth place in the NL East, just two games below .500 40 games into the 2011 season. The Nationals were 20-20 after forty last season, having lost five-straight, three to the Colorado Rockies and two to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nats would win five of the next ten to finish the month of May 25-25. By the end of June they were 11 games under .500 at 40-51...

Jayson Werth can't struggle like this all season, right? Danny Espinosa's going to figure it out at the plate, right? Even if he doesn't, that kid's solid defensively. Adam LaRoche is just getting into the groove, right? The Nats' new first baseman hasn't hit, but he can pick it at first...Roger Bernadina's the best fit for a leadoff man on the roster, and he's embraced role, getting on where no one else has been able to so far this season, can he keep it going? Jason Marquis...tied for the league-lead in wins? For reals?

Drew Storen 8 for 8 in save oppportunities with a 0.40 ERA? Ian Desmond's a new dad and the early-season yips have slowed lately. Wilson Ramos has cooled with the bat, but Ramos and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez are holding it down behind the plate, throwing out 11 of 25 base stealers. Livan Hernandez? Mr. National's still working his magic. Jordan Zimmermann's shown signs of dominance. Tom Gorzelanny? Sorry you doubted Rizzo on that one? And the Nats have done what they've done so far without their best pitcher (Strasburg?) or their best position player (that other Zimmerman guy?) 40 games in what are your impressions of the 2011 Nats? Express your opinion in the comments or graphically in the poll below? Has Riggleman shown enough for you to extend him? Which of the veterans are going to get dealt? Grades for the pitchers? Offense? The bullpen? Pirates tonight at 7:05 pm EDT. Til then...

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