It's pretty easy to find the flaws in the Nats lineup because they are mostly gaping holes. Ian Desmond can't hit. Sorry Desmond fans/relatives it's true. His last three months of splits are as follows
.218 /. 255 /.287
.217 /.255 /.228
.232 /.283 / .304
In the past two years if you state that an OPS+ of >110 is good and <90 is bad, he's had 1 good month and 5 bad ones. I will say "give him time" but really I mean "be 100% sure he can't hit because when you bring someone else in you don't want to jerk him around to bring Desmond back".
Jayson Werth is struggling mightily. After a couple months of being sneakily useful he crashed in June and July : .170 / .301 / .281. He still walks a fair amount. He easily leads the team with 50 which is 8th in the NL. (In fact outside of Danny Espinosa he's the ONLY guy on the team that walks. As much as the fans may want a slappy leadoff hitter - how about someone else on the team that can take a pitch?) He still hits for power. He's second on the team in doubles, somehow. He just doesn't hit enough for some reason. Bad luck is a part of it, but not all.
CF is at best passable (Bernadina) and at worst laughable (Ankiel)
But there maybe another issue in the lineup. The guy manning third base, the face of the franchise (well to all but Past Needham and Eric Young). Ryan Zimmerman.
It probably isn't a problem. Ryan's been great for a couple years now and he was great for a couple weeks before getting injured. Those early stats carried Zimm for a while but his June was so hideous that Ryan had a line of .219 / .303 / .362 on July 2nd. Give him time we all said and that seemd to be all he needed. He went on a tear having a 2 week stretch of .350 / 447 / .575 offense. Just when you were ready to file that worry away, though, here comes an 0-9 with 3 Ks. Dammit.
Before we welcome Ryan back to being an offensive leader he has to do more than hit well for a couple weeks. Anyone can do that (seriously - anyone can - I just looked at Ankiel and was able to pick out a .394 / .444 / .576 period) His line in July is still not good (.233 / 343 / .383). Anyone can have a bad month but the Nats can ill afford for Ryan Zimmerman to have much more than that. Ryan needs to hit not just well, but like a star for this team to work. And I mean that not just in "so the lineup can work in 2011" way. For this whole thing to work. The push to the playoffs. The relevancy.
It's something to keep an eye on in these last two months. A bad performance doesn't necessarily spell doom for the team, but it will mean that it's one less thing that can be counted on for next season. This team doesn't have many guarantees in 2012. ZNN has won me over. I think we can pencil him in to be at least a #2/#3 type if not better. Lannan should be usable at least. But Espinosa and Ramos could regress. Morse could too. The multiple full year consistency isn't there yet. LaRoche and Strasburg will be coming back from injury. Livan, if back, is 92. This team doesn't need another question mark.