Bill Ladson

Schu expects Nats' offense to find comfort zone

Schu expects Nats' offense to find comfort zone

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals are having problems on offense in the first week of the season. Entering Sunday's action against the Phillies, the Nationals were 5-for-30 (.167) with runners in scoring position and 10-for-51 (.196) with runners on base.

Hitting coach Rick Schu believes it's a matter of time before the offense starts perking up. In order for it to improve, the hitters have to stop putting so much pressure on themselves, he said.

"They should stick to their game plan and do what they do well," Schu said. "When guys get out of their comfort zone, they start pressing a little bit, they try to do too much. When you relax, going easy and not trying to do as much, you have success."

The Nationals are playing without Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Anthony Rendon, who are currently on the disabled list. Schu doesn't think the active roster is trying to overcompensate for the missing pieces.

"It's [five] games into the season. We played in some cold weather," Schu said. "Not a whole lot of offense going on either side. It's just a matter of doing the little things. We have opportunities to get runs, we have to capitalize on it, deal with our situational stuff. You start doing that, and all of a sudden you get on the board. Guys could start relaxing a little bit better, and it starts snowballing."

Harper's opposite-field homer

Bryce Harper got into the swing of things early on Sunday, connecting on a solo home run in the first inning against Phillies right-hander Sean O'Sullivan.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.