Eckstein says slumping offense must do 'little things'

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson isn't the only one who is frustrated by the team's scuffling offense. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein is not happy that the club ranks near the bottom in almost every offensive category. What's the problem?

"We are not putting it together. We are very inconsistent. We are doing little things that don't put the advantage in our favor," Eckstein said after Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Pirates. "We just need to do little things. We are running into outs on the bases. It hurts our offense. We need to do a better job at doing the little things and being more consistent at the plate and not missing our pitches."

It's going to take more than early hitting practice to solve the problems at the plate, according to Eckstein.

"Sometimes, the solution is just mentally making sure that you are doing the little things when game time comes. You put yourself in the position to be successful," Eckstein said. "A lot of good things have happened, but it is overshadowed by little things. We need to take care of those little things and continue to work like we are working. Just put it together and get us on that rhythm. We know what we are capable of. Nobody is doubting that. It's just a matter of putting it together and taking that next step."

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