Rick Eckstein becomes the Nationals’ fall guy
The Washington Nationals season has not gone as planned. Deemed a World Series favorite by several sports writers, instead, the Nats are struggling to just stay at .500 and play mediocre baseball. With four starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.40, it isn’t hard to figure out where the Nationals struggles are coming from, from the plate. The Nationals offense has been less than stellar, despite. A lineup that should be packed with offensive support.
Yet, it hasn’t been.
Hence, Nats GM Mike Rizzo fired Nats hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Eckstein has tremendous respect throughout the baseball world, yet, Rizzo chose to make him the scapegoat for the Nats offensive struggles. Truly hard to see how this move is the panacea. Fact is, it is the Nationals players themselves, trusted veterans, who struggle at the plate. Take for instance, Adam LaRoche. LaRoche smacked 33 home runs last season. This season he lingers at 13 homers with a .249 average. Bryce Harper has just 13 home runs and a .263 batting average. Danny Espinosa, who provided 21 home runs in 2011 and 17 in 2012, is in the minors after hitting .158 with 3 home runs. They are struggling offensively.
But, is Rick Eckstein really to blame? Very doubtful. It’s a surprising move that does very little to change the mediocrity of this season. It is nothing more than a panic move that will make very little difference in player production. The move was not endorsed by Nats manager Davey Johnson, who thought he himself should be dismissed before Eckstein. We agree.
Eckstein was replaced by Rick Schu.