You wouldn’t have known it was the most highly anticipated home debut since Stephen Strasburg in 2010, but tonight was Bryce Harper’s home debut. It was probably partially because he had already debuted in the league, but a 22,000+ attendance saw the Nats lose their fifth straight game.
Lack of offense continued to be a problem for the Nats, who lost 5-1 to the Diamondbacks. This recent string of losses is bringing the Nats crashing back down to earth after and impressive start to the season that saw them hold the best record in baseball for a big chunk of April.
The Nats still hold first place in the division with the Braves slumping as well, but what is concerning isn’t the losses or even how they are coming about, but it is the change in play with the change in competition.
Excluding losing the last game to the Padres, the Nats last 4 losses have come against better opponents than they started the season against. Looking at the schedule before the season began, the Nats were expected to be successful.
Now, however, the Nats kicked off a tougher portion of the schedule with the series against the Dodgers. That raise in quality of opponents has led to losses, even when the pitching has been excellent.
The Nats bubble has been burst a bit. There is no reason to panic–just as there was no reason to think the Nats would never go on a losing streak this season. However, with more tough opponents coming up, the Nats need to adjust before they begin reeling too much.