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Washington Nationals’ lineup for today’s series opener with Philadelphia’s Phillies...

Washington dropped two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies last weekend, now they play three more in Nationals Park, starting this afternoon at 4:05 PM EDT...

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images


Dusty Baker didn’t seem too concerned with Anthony Rendon’s slow start to the 2017 campaign when he spoke to reporters following Wednesday’s loss to St. Louis.

Rendon, who missed time late in Spring Training with a left calf issue (bruise) caused by a foul ball, is 4 for 30 in his first eight games this season (.133/.188/.133) with four singles, two walks, nine Ks and, in the field, two errors at third base.

Baker talked about his third baseman after Rendon’s 1 for 4 day in Wednesday’s series finale with the Cardinals, which saw him get picked off first base in a rally-killing play the one time he did reach base against the Cardinals.

“He’s struggling some,” Baker said. “He’s feeling better daily, but let’s not forget he struggled last April too, so we’ve got more than half of April to go and he could still have a very good April. It was a tough game for him today.”

Rendon finished the month of April 22 for 91 (.242/.310/.286) in 2016, with four doubles, nine walks and 12 Ks in 100 plate appearances.

He went on to post a .275/.355/.481 line, 34 doubles and 20 HRs in 133 games and 547 PAs over the rest of the season.


On the other end of the spectrum, are Adam Eaton, the de facto leadoff man with Trea Turner out, and Ryan Zimmerman, the hot-swinging first baseman who’s looking like his old self through the first ten games this season.

Eaton, he’s a grinder,” Baker told reporters following Wednesday’s loss.

“He’s a battler at the plate. Zim is on the ball, he’s not fooled by too many pitches. He’s healthy. And Spring Training — he had a very good Spring and that doesn’t necessarily transfer into the season, but it has for him and he’s getting more and more confident and feeling more and more like Zim every day — and he’s hitting the ball hard, even when he’s making outs, he’s hitting the ball hard.”

Eaton is 11 for 42 thus far (.333/.452/.545) with four doubles, a home run, eight walks and seven Ks in nine games.

Zimmerman, who struggled throughout the 2016 campaign, is 13 for 34 so far in 2017, (.382/.417/.735), with three doubles and three home runs early this season.


On the defensive end? The Nationals have committed nine errors thus far, second-most in the National League.

Their .973 combined fld% is the third-lowest in the NL, and their -12 defensive runs saved are second-worst in the National League.

“It always concerns me when you don’t catch it or throw it,” Baker told reporters after the Nationals added to their error total on Wednesday.

“Because you’re giving away outs. When you’re giving away extra outs, the game wasn’t designed for 30 outs versus 27, you know, and so, we’ve just got to tighten our defense up. We’ve got to tighten our defense and we’ve got to tighten our entire game up.”

Are the defensive struggles something he harps on with the players?

“That’s something that I address all time,” Baker said. “I address it from the time we’re in Spring Training and we work on it, and so we’ve just got to keep working.”