Pitching woes and a fire sale, a look back at the 2021 Nationals Season
The 2021 Nationals season was one to forget. It was the first losing season they have had in a 162 game season since 2011. We did see some things to be encouraged about heading into 2022. Let us take a look back at an up and down season.
There were a lot of expectations for the Nats heading into the season. The pitching staff had a daunting lineup of Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin, Lester, Fedde, and Ross. Sadly only two of those pitchers were still pitching for the Nats in September.
The biggest question mark to start the season was how will they score runs. Soto and Turner were the only prominent starters to start the season, and just about everyone around them was a question mark. Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber were big free agent pickups that never became a big part of the lineup until late May.
Biggest moments of the season
May 2nd. We didn’t know at the time but this was Scherzer’s last complete game as a Nat. This Sunday afternoon against the Marlins, Scherzer was in control. He allowed five hits, one run, and struck out nine batters. The only run by Miami came in the top of the 9th. After the game, Scherzer rushed to be with his wife as his third child was being born.
Max was traded to the Dodgers at the end of July. He ended his season in Washington with an 8-4 record in 19 starts. His 147 strikeouts ended up being the most strikeouts by a Nats pitcher this season.
June 12th-June 29th.
We were graced with one of the greatest home run streaks the MLB has ever seen. In that span, Kyle Schwarber hit 16 home runs. Not only was that an impressive home run streak but it led to a winning record for the Nats. On June 12th they were 26-35 and improved to 39-38 on June 29th. Unfortunately, after Schwarber went down with a hamstring injury on July 6th the Nats only won 24 more games for the rest of the season. Schwarber was traded to Boston on July 29th.
Trea Turner put on a show to end a crazy month of June for the Nats. Turner became the 5th player in MLB history with three cycles. It only took him six innings to complete the cycle. Turner was a part of the Scherzer trade to LA and will go down as one of the best hitters and fastest player in Nats history. He did all of that on his birthday.
After the trade deadline
This was the biggest fire sale in team history. On July 29th and 30th, the look of the roster changed drastically. Schwarber, Hand, Gomes, Harrison, Scherzer, Turner, Lester, and Hudson were all sent out to teams looking at the playoffs. Washington got back eight prospects throughout all of those trades.
After all of those trades, we would only see the Nats win 17 games.
We did get a fairly good look at the future of this organization. Keibert Ruiz was a big piece from the Dodgers and the catcher played well when given the opportunity. He had a .284 BA in 23 games.
The 2021 season is the first season where the Nats don’t have a starting pitcher finish the season with a winning record since 2008. I don’t count Scherzer’s 8-4 record prior to being traded.
Corbin had the most starts, 31. He went 9-16 with a team-high 5.82ERA.
Juan Soto had another league MVP caliber season so naturally, he is the team’s MVP. He led the team in hits, RBIs, home runs, and batting average. He did that while being walked 145 times. That also led to the league. He also upped his game after an impressive home run derby at the All-Star game.
Washington ended the season 65-97, the worst record since 2009 and the first time finishing in last since 2010.