WASHINGTON -- For the first time in months, after being hammered by injuries, the Nationals got a glimpse of their starting lineup back at full strength in Friday night's 6-1 victory over the Pirates.With the exception of Adam Eaton, who was lost for the season in April, this was the
WASHINGTON -- For the first time in months, after being hammered by injuries, the Nationals got a glimpse of their starting lineup back at full strength in Friday night's 6-1 victory over the Pirates.
With the exception of Adam Eaton, who was lost for the season in April, this was the first time since the beginning of June -- when Jayson Werth broke his foot -- that the Nationals were at full strength. Since then, Trea Turner, Michael A. Taylor and Bryce Harper spent time on the disabled list. They had not been part of the same lineup for nearly four months.
"That's unbelievable," manager Dusty Baker said prior to the game. "Feels pretty good. I guess sometimes you get used to not having them, so you don't want to think about what it would be like to have them when you get used to not having them, because you're trying to figure out things every day."
The depth of the Nationals' lineup will be perhaps their biggest strength in the postseason.
At the top, Turner set the table by reaching base in three of his four plate appearances, stealing a base and scoring a run. Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4 and has reached base in five consecutive games, heating up as the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile approaches. Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two home runs, increasing his total to 36 during his career-renaissance season. Werth even went back-to-back with Zimmerman in the eighth.
"Every team goes through injuries throughout the year," Zimmerman said. "But to see that lineup and everyone out there, it was fun."
For a night, the Nationals' offense looked like its old self as some of its most crucial bats started to heat up. There are still a few pieces that need to get going -- especially Harper, as he tries to find his timing before the start of the postseason, and Werth, who has struggled since coming back from the DL but has taken some encouraging swings lately.
"The good news is everybody's back," Werth said. "Seems like last year, guys went down at the wrong time and we didn't get them back. So, important thing is everybody's back.
"We got a couple games here to get it clicking, then we can start playing some real baseball."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.