Nationals Stock Watch: Rough road trip out West

Nationals Stock Watch: Rough road trip out West
May 15, 2014, 2:00 pm
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(Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
We take a look at the Nationals' past week:

Team slash: .205/.246/.328
Team ERA: 4.45
Runs per game: 2.6


Tyler Clippard, RP: 3 GP/2-0/0.00 ERA/0.00 WHIP
There were few bright spots during a somewhat tumultuous week for the Nationals, so it's been slim pickings recently trying to find out whose stock has been rising. However, Tyler Clippard's had a solid stretch and is quietly rebounding from a tough April. He earned two wins this week in the Diamondbacks series, pitching shutout frames in both appearances, striking out four and walking none, all of which gave the Nats a chance to stage two late rallies to secure the series victory. Clippard now has a 4-2 record with a 2.08 ERA (and falling), and hasn't allowed a run since April 21st. Not too shabby for Washington's setup man.

Kevin Fransden and Tyler Moore, 1B: 2 HR/6 RBI/.465 SLG (combined)
We can take a look at this duo's combined stats because they're both trying to serve the same purpose, which is to replace Adam LaRoche's hot bat. Obviously, it'll be hard for this platoon to match LaRoche's level of production, but so far, they've done a solid job of holding down the fort. Fransden in particular has been coming on as of late, with his highlight of the week being his go-ahead pinch-hit homerun in the ninth inning of Monday's 6-5 win in Arizona (which prompted his former to GM to wonder if it was a mistake to let him go). These two may not be hitting for average, but they've found ways to get the big knocks in limited opportunities. That's all you can ask of them while LaRoche is on the mend.


Gio Gonzalez, SP: 0-1/7 ER/2.77 WHIP 
Gio's return to Oakland could not have gone much worse. For one, the A's chased him early; his former team put up seven runs off him in just 4.1 innings of work. But to make matters worse, Gonzalez was seen arguing with teammates in the dugout between innings after botching a routine play in the field that eventually led to A's catcher Derek Norris -- who was acquired in the trade that sent Gonzalez to the Nats-- launching his second three-run homer of the afternoon. So Gio not only lost the game, he apparently lost his cool. Gonzalez has now lost his last two decisions, and his season ERA is creeping closer to 4.00. So it goes without saying that he's going to have to find his 2012 All-Star form, and find it soon.

Anthony Rendon, 3B: .167 AVG/.160 OBP/.167 SLG 
It makes sense that during a tough week offensively for the Nationals, Rendon cooled off and Adam LaRoche suffered an injury (more on that later). After last week's monster showing, the Nationals infielder took a step back, and it seemed that the rest of the lineup followed suit. Rendon drove in just one run and posted a ghastly .327 OPS for the week. With LaRoche out for the next few weeks, Washington may need the young Rendon (who still leads the team in hits and RBIs) to step up and carry the load like he has for most of the season.

Adam LaRoche, 1B: Quad Injury 
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse on the injury front, it does for the Nationals. Adam LaRoche, the lineup's most consistent hitter, was put on the 15-day DL this past week thanks to a quad strain he suffered Friday night against Oakland. He may not be out for a significant amount of time, but the setback keeps this offense is in a perpetual state of flux, as it's been for most of the season. It's just their luck that this happens right when a key contributor like catcher Wilson Ramos returns to the lineup, but it's been that kind of year so far for the Nats.