Ryan Zimmerman’s massive 455 blast wasn’t enough to keep the Nationals from falling 5-3 on Saturday to the rival New York Mets. The homer was Zimmerman’s 11th of the season and third in the two games in the series so far.
With April 2017 almost in the books, here’s this week’s version of Nationals by the Numbers. We’re heavy on the offensive heroics this week following Washington’s bashing of the Colorado Rockies in their four game series in Denver.
Nats’ veteran lefthander Gio Gonzalez will finish the month of April with a 3-0 mark. Gonzalez’s career winning percentage in April is .615, the third highest percentage in a month in his career. The good news for fans hoping for continued success for the popular pitcher is that the upcoming month of May has historically been Gonzalez’s best month from a winning percentage perspective. The Florida native has won 17 of his 25 starts in May to post a .680 mark.
The Nationals put up double digit runs in three consecutive games in the Colorado series, scoring 15, 11 and 16 in the final games of the set. This was only the third time in Nationals’ history where they’ve scored double digit runs in three consecutive games. The 2016 Nats did the trick by scoring 10 to beat Cincinnati on June 5th, and then going to Chicago to beat the White Sox by 10-5 and 11-4 scores on June 6th-7th. Back in late June of 2012, the Nationals beat the Rockies at Colorado by 12-5 and 11-5 scores before losing 11-10 in the final game of the series.
Trea Turner and Bryce Harper each had a four hit game in the series in Colorado, Turner’s coming on April 25th when he hit for the cycle and Harper’s coming one day later in Washington’s 11-4 rout of the Rockies. Washington has had five four hit performances on the year, the most by a team in the Majors. Harper leads the way with three (giving him five in his career), with Turner and Daniel Murphy also part of the 2017 four hits in a game club.
Anyone following the Nationals so far this year has noticed the team’s very proficient and explosive lineup. Through 24 games, Washington’s 6.12 runs scored per game is far and away the top mark in the Major League’s (the New York Yankees with 5.64 runs per contest are next).
The Nationals also lead the Major Leagues in on base percentage at .359, batting average at .284, and OPS at .840. They are third in walks with 96 and their 36 home runs trails only the 43 put up by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Nats’ all-star righthander Stephen Strasburg had his 55th career game with at least seven innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed on Saturday. Unfortunately Strasburg’s solid effort was not rewarded with a win, as the Nats fell to Michael Conforto and the Mets by a 5-3 score. The loss was only Strasburg’s seventh time in 41 decisions in the 55 contests.
The only thing hotter than the unseasonably warm weather in Washington this weekend has been the bat of Ryan Zimmerman. The Z man homered twice on Friday and hit a mammoth blast on Saturday against the Mets to give him 11 homers in April. With one day to go in the month, Zimmerman has tied his career high for most homers in a month (he hit 11 in September 2013). He stands two short of the Nationals’ record of 13, set by Bryce Harper in May 2015.
One interesting aspect of the Nats’ first baseman’s start to the year has been his ability to produce even when he is behind in the count. On 1-2 counts so far this season, Zimmerman has a Major League leading four home runs and has put up an All-Star level 1.125 OPS.
Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy combined for 12 runs driven in during Washington’s 15-12 win at Colorado on April 25th, giving the middle infield combo the highest total of combined RBI by two players in Nationals’ history. The dozen RBI topped the 10 runs driven in by Josh Willingham (with 8) and either Cristian Guzman or Adam Dunn (each had two RBI) in the Nats’ 14-6 win at Milwaukee on July 27, 2009.
The news is not all good in the Nation’s Capital when discussing our boys in red and white. Friday’s game saw Nats’ spark plug Adam Eaton lost for the season with a knee injury and Saturday’s second straight loss to the Mets featured two more home runs allowed by the Nationals’ bullpen. Washington’s 15 home runs allowed by relievers so far this year is the second highest total in the National League, trailing only Philadelphia (19) and San Diego (16). The Nats’ pen’s .855 OPS allowed is the second worst figure in the Major Leagues.