Gio Gonzalez was sharp on Saturday allowing only one run and fanning nine in six innings pitched, but saw his bid for his sixth win of the year fall away as the Nats blew a two run ninth inning lead and fell to Texas 6-3 in 11 innings.
This week’s edition of Nationals by the Numbers highlights efforts by the two of the team’s star powered starting rotation, the team’s fleet footed leadoff man, the strong group in the middle of the Nats’ lineup and some ups and downs for the team’s much maligned bullpen.
There are two outs and the team needs a big at bat. Who do you want to see at the plate for the Nats? So far this year, you rarely can go wrong if either Bryce Harper or Ryan Zimmerman are up for Washington.
Harper has put up a Major League seventh best 1.236 OPS in his plate appearances with two outs to date this year. The Nats’ rightfielder has nine homers, 24 RBI and .473 on base percentage in such appearances.
Zimmerman is not far behind, with his 1.208 mark checking in at the 11th best in the Majors. Zim has six homers and 22 RBI with a .391 batting average in two out opportunities.
Other Nats with solid two out OPS figures so far this year include Daniel Murphy (.928), Adam Lind (.875) and the injured Adam Eaton (.871).
Gio Gonzalez did his part to put a curly W in the books yesterday, throwing six innings of one run ball with a season high nine strikeouts against a talented Texas lineup. Unfortunately a Nats’ bullpen collapse prevented Gio and the Nats from picking up the win, but the game was another example of the lefty’s dominance at home in 2017.
In his 43 innings pitched at Nationals Park this year, Gonzalez sports a very impressive 1.66 ERA with a 9.3 SO/9 mark. All of that great pitching has given Gonzalez only one win at home so far this year. Gio is 4-1 on the road, but his ERA away from Nationals Park stands at 4.38 and he has a 7.1 SO/9 figure.
Among position players, take a guess as to which National sports the best Wins Above Replacement number so far this. It isn’t the team’s super talented rightfielder, its rock solid triple crown candidate at first base or its hit machine playing second. No, it is third baseman Anthony Rendon whose 2.8 figure trails only Max Scherzer’s 2.9 WAR among Nats players.
Rendon’s gold glove level defense, his ability to draw walks (he has 35 free bases against only 34 strikeouts this year) and his improved power bat (he has 13 doubles, one triple and 11 homers for a .522 slugging mark) have made him one of the National League’s best performers in 2017.
Nats’ reliever Shawn Kelley has allowed eight home runs in 15.2 innings pitched for an alarming 4.5 home runs per nine innings pitched figure so far this year. Since 1903, only Kirby Yates of the 2015 Tampa Bay Rays has a HR/9 mark in excess of 4.0 in a year when he threw 20 or more innings (Yates 2105 S0/9 was 4.43 as he allowed 10 long balls in 20 1/3 innings pitched).
Kelley and his bullpen mates have allowed a total of five home runs this year that have brought in three or four runs, including the grand slam Kelley surrendered to Matt Joyce of Oakland last Sunday. In the entire 2016 season, the Nats’ pen allowed only six such home runs.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the Nats’ pen in recent weeks. Over his last six appearances, veteran Oliver Perez has given up no hits and one walk while fanning seven in 3 1/3 innings pitched. Perez picked up a big save in Monday’s 4-2 win at Los Angeles against the Dodgers, earning his first save as a National and his first overall since 2013.
Speedy shortstop Trea Turner stole a career high three bases in Thursday’s Nats’ win over Baltimore, giving him 11 games with multiple steals in his career. Only Nyjer Morgan with 12 multiple stolen base games has more as a National. Turner’s 56 career steals has him tied for the sixth highest mark for the Nats since their inception in 2005. Ian Desmond, with 122 bases swiped, is the all-time leader for Washington.
Few players have been more consistent at the plate over the past two seasons than Nats’ second baseman Daniel Murphy, and the sweet swinging lefty has been showing his a-game of late.
In his 48 at bats since May 29th, Murphy has 21 hits for a .438 batting average. On the year, Murphy has 24 multi-hit games after putting up 56 in the 2016 season.
Those of us attending this afternoon’s Texas-Washington matchup with Max Scherzer on the hill may be watching a lot of Rangers’ batters take the long slow walk back to the dugout following frustrating at bats.
In his last three starts, Scherzer has 38 strikeouts including a season high 14 against the Dodgers in a June 6th victory. The game was Scherzer’s seventh 14 plus strikeout game of his career, including four as a National. Since 2015 when Scherzer donned a Nationals’ uniform, only Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw (with five each) have more such games.