Nationals by the Numbers- September 24, 2017

murph923

The torture continues for the New York Mets and their fans.  Former Met Daniel Murphy did it to his old team again last night, hitting a solo home run in the top of the 10th inning to lead the Nats to a 4-3 victory over the Mets.

In this edition of “Nationals by the Numbers”, we look at the Nats’ dominance of the National League East over the past six seasons, achievements by the team in the current season and outstanding performances at the plate by Nats’ players against divisional foes.

.636

Last night’s win in 10 innings at New York was Washington’s seventh in 11 extra inning contests so far in 2017.  The team’s .636 winning percentage in such games has the Nats in line to post the fifth above .500 record in extra inning contests in the team’s 13 year history.

The Nats’ best mark in extra inning games was the 2015 team’s 9-2 record (.818 winning percentage).  The 2012 division winning team won 13 of its 20 extra inning games for a .650 winning percentage. In 2011 Washington went 12-8 (.600), and the 2006 squad won 7 of 13 (.538).

1.414 

While Daniel Murphy is public enemy number one in Flushing, New York these days, teammate Adam Lind is on his way to earning a special place in the hearts of the always vocal Mets’ faithful.

In 40 at bats against the Mets so far this year, Lind has put up a .394 batting average with six homers and 15 RBI.  His 1.414 OPS against New York is the highest for any Nationals’ hitter with at least 30 at bats against the Mets.  Murphy’s 1.139 OPS against New York, which includes nine homers and 35 runs driven in, is the second best total.

6

Stephen Strasburg fanned six Mets’ hitters last night, giving him 196 so far this season.  Strasburg is on the verge of posting the second 200 plus strikeout campaign of his career. The righthander fanned a National League high 242 batters in 215 innings pitched in 2014.   The all-star came close to the 200 mark in 2012 when he struck out 197 opponents.

9

Matt Wieters’ booming home run off of Matt Harvey last night gave him 10 round trippers on the year, and made him the ninth National with at least that many this season.   The Nats, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are tied among National League teams for the most batters with double digit home runs this year.

17 

Sammy Solis earned the win last night with one inning of shutout pitching. In doing so, he became the 17th Nationals’ pitcher to earn a victory so far this year.  The 17 pitchers with a victory on the year is the highest total for Washington since 22 hurlers picked up wins for the 2011 80 win Nationals’ squad (the 2015 Nats’ team also had 17 pitchers with victories).

20

Sean Doolittle earned his 20th save for the Nats’ this year last night, tying Mike Macdougal (2009 season) for the 10th highest save total in a season for Washington.

The high energy lefty has converted on all 20 of the save situations he’s been presented as a National, and he is in line to top Macdougal’s 95.2 save percentage as the best mark in Nats history for a pitcher with at least 20 saves.

Other Nats’ relievers near the top in save percentage in a season include Drew Storen (89.6 in 2011 while earning 43 saves), Chad Cordero (87.9, 29 saves in 2006) and Rafael Soriano (87.8, 43 saves in 2013).

75

It’s no secret to anyone who follows Major League Baseball that the Nationals have been the dominant team in the NL East over the past six seasons.  But how dominant have they been?

Here are the win-loss totals for NL East teams from 2012 through games played last night (Sept. 23, 2017):

WASHINGTON   551-413

ATLANTA            474-488

NEW YORK          470-494

MIAMI                  431-532

PHILADELPHIA  422-543

The Nats have posted above .500 records in all six seasons from 2012 to the present.  The other National League East teams have combined for four (two each by the Braves and the Mets).

UP NEXT

An exceptional matchup of starting pitchers will be the draw in today’s finale of the Nationals’ three game set at New York.  Washington’s Max Scherzer and New York’s Jacob de Grom square off in a battle of two of the Major League’s finest.

Scherzer is 5-2 with a 1.79 ERA in his career at Citi Field, and has struck out 80 Mets in only 55.1 innings pitched.

de Grom has won five of his eight decisions against the Nats, and has a 2.75 ERA when facing Washington.  Anthony Rendon (0-16, five strikeouts), Michael A. Taylor (0-17, 10 strikeouts) and Jayson Werth (1 for 15, five strikeouts) have struggled mightily against the lanky Mets’ hurler.

Advertisements

Nationals Notes- September 18, 2017

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman’s two home runs and four RBI helped the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 at Nationals Park on September 17th.

Here’s a four pack of Nats’ notes as the regular season enters its final two weeks and the Nationals prepare for their fourth playoff appearance in the last six seasons.

WHY STOP AT ONE?

Ryan Zimmerman’s two home run game against the Dodgers last night was the 22nd multi-home run game of his career and a team record tying sixth so far in the 2017 season.  The two home run game tied Zimmerman with Adam Dunn, who had six in 2010, for the most in a season in Nats’ history.

The Face of the Franchise’s 22 games with more than one home run is easily the high mark in Nats’ history.  Teammate Bryce Harper is next with 15, including five so far in the 2017 season, with Dunn and Adam LaRoche tied for third with eight each.

Zimmerman’s previous high for multi-homer games in a season was five, set in 2010.  This season and the 2010 campaign are the only years in which Zimmerman has had more than two such games.

WINNING WAYS

Stephen Strasburg won his 14th game on Sunday, moving him within one victory of his career season high of 15, set in 2012 and equaled last season.

Since 2015, only two pitchers have a higher winning percentage than Strasburg’s .727 (40-15 record)  among pitchers with at least 30 decisions.  Both pitchers ahead of Strasburg in this category are also headed to post-season play.   Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is first with a .763 percentage (45-14), while Arizona’s Zack Greinke is second at .754 (45-16).

Strasburg’s 2017 WAR of 5.8 shatters his previous career high of 3.5 (set in 2014), and his 1.027 WHIP is well below his solid 1.084 career mark in that category.

STARRING IN A PINCH

Since he had a big go ahead home run in the Nationals’ 2017 season opener against Miami, veteran Adam Lind has been a valuable piece of the Nats’ high powered offense.

Last night against the Dodgers, the sweet swinging lefty hit his Nats’ record fourth pinch-hit home run of the season.  Lind’s four pinch-hit blasts ties him with Colorado’s Pat Valaika for the Major League lead this season. Lind’s 1.063 OPS is the top mark in the Majors among pinch-hitters with at least 40 at bats

With 13 pinch-hit RBI so far in 2017, Lind has topped the Nats’ previous season high of 12 set by Tony Batista in 2007.

SEEING DOUBLE 

With 40 two base hits so far this year, Nats’ second baseman Daniel Murphy trails only Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (who has 42) among National Leaguers.  Murphy, who led the National League with 47 doubles in 2016, can be the first Senior Circuit player since Craig Biggio in 1998 and 1999 to lead the league in back to back seasons if he is able to wrest the lead from Arenado.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Happy 38th birthday to 2006 Nationals’ pitcher Billy Traber.  The left-handed Californian went 4–3 with a 6.44 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched for the Nationals in their second season.

Traber’s finest moment as a National came on August 11, 2016 when he allowed only four hits and one run in seven innings pitched to defeat Tom Glavine and the Mets by a 2-1 score.

Nationals by the Numbers- September 17, 2017

 

dm_170914_MLB_Nationals_Robles_Triple

Rookie Victor Robles’ triple against the Atlanta Braves on September 14, 2017 electrified the crowd at Nationals Park.

Think of some of the most exciting things a fan can witness while attending a baseball game.  A booming home run, a walk-off hit, a pitcher striking out the side and a tremendous defensive play are among them but for me, seeing a batter hit a ball into the gap and make it all the way to third for a three bagger is right at the top.  In this edition of Nationals by the Numbers, we look at some details related to triples hit by the Nationals over their 13 years in Washington (thanks to Baseball-reference.com’s Play Index for making finding this information very quick and easy).

2

If a triple is a relatively rare occurrence at a Major League baseball game, a triple hit by a pitcher is more rare than a genial debate these days between Democrats and Republicans.

In the Nats’ history, two pitchers have hit triples.  On September 24, 2005 at RFK Stadium against the New York Mets, Livan Hernandez hit a three bagger against Tom Glavine.  Almost two years later at Shea Stadium on July 28, 2007, Joel Hanrahan did the trick against Mike Pelfrey and the Mets.  The triple was one of two for Hernandez in his 17 year Major League career, and the only one for Hanrahan.

4

Four players have had a Nats’ record two triples in game.

If you blinked, you might have missed infielder Bernie Castro’s time with the Nationals in 2006.  The switch-hitter played in 42 games for the Nats that season and hit only .227, but he had two triples in Washington’s 8-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on September 16th at RFK Stadium.

With 28 triples as a National, Cristian Guzman has the most in Nats’ history.  On April 7, 2008 at Nationals Park against Florida, Guzman had two triples in Washington’s 10-7 loss to the Marlins.

Speedy Denard Span patrolled centerfield valiantly for the Nationals from 2013 to 2015, and he hit 19 triples while playing in DC.  On May 31, 2013 at Atlanta, Span had two triples in Washington’s 3-2 victory over the Braves.

On August 13, 2016, Ben Revere became the fourth Nats’ player with two triples in a game. Revere’s pair of triples came in a 7-6 victory over the Braves at Nationals Park.

5

There have been five games in Nats’ history where a team record three triples have been hit.

On April 13, 2005 at Atlanta, Jamey Carroll, Jose Vidro and Terrmel Sledge all tripled in Washington’s 11-4 victory.  Later that season, Brad Wilkerson, Preston Wilson and Brandon Watson all tripled but the trio of extra base hits did not prevent Washington from losing 8-4 to Florida.

RFK Stadium’s spacious gaps in both left-center and right-center were lush breeding ground for triples, and the Nats had three there in a September 16, 2006 8-5 win over Milwaukee. The aforementioned Bernie Castro had a pair, with then-rookie Ryan Zimmerman chipping in with the other.

In recent years the Nationals’ offense has often come alive when playing at Miami, and it certainly did on April 14, 2014 in the Nats’ 9-2 victory over the Marlins. In that contest, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon all tripled.

In addition to Ben Revere’s pair of triples on August 13, 2016, Trea Turner also had one in the Nats’  7-6 win over the Braves at Nationals Park.

11

Almost as rare as a triple by a pitcher is one by a player who toils behind the plate as a catcher. In Nats’ history, there have been 11 triples hit by catchers. Brian Schneider’s April 25, 2005 triple against Philadelphia at RFK Stadium was the first, and Jose Lobaton’s three bagger at home against Minnesota on April 22, 2016 was the most recent.

Former Nats’ backstop Jesus Flores holds the record for most triples by a catcher in his tenure in Washington with four.

12

If a garden variety triple is among the most exciting plays in baseball, a triple with the bases loaded takes the excitement level up several notches.

The Nats have had 12 bases loaded triples, with Daniel Murphy being the only player with more than one.  Murphy had one on April 7, 2016 in the Nats’ home opening loss to Miami and picked up another this April 25th in Washington’s victory at Colorado.

The 2017 Nats have a team-record three bases loaded triples in a season.  Trea Turner joined Murphy by having on on April 25th at Colorado, and Howie Kendrick drove home three runs with a triple on August 28th against Miami.

27

The 2017 Nats have 27 triples, with Trea Turner (6), Wilmer Difo (4) and Michael A. Taylor (3) leading the way. The team is only two three baggers away from the 2016 team’s total, but a far cry away from the Washington Nationals’ record of 38 set in the otherwise disappointing 103 loss 2009 season.

350

Washington has 350 triples since 2005, with 176 coming at home and 174 being hit on the road.  The Nats have hit 125 triples at Nationals Park since 2008, and hit 51 at RFK Stadium from 2005 through 2007.

On the road, the Nats’ had a team high 27 at Turner Field in Atlanta.  They’ve hit 17 at Marlins Park in Miami and 15 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.  The 12 triples hit by Nats’ players at Chase Field in Arizona is the high mark at non-NL East facilities.

As referenced earlier, Cristian Guzman’s 28 triples is the most for a Nationals’ player. Ian Desmond is next with 21, followed by Ryan Zimmerman (20), Denard Span (19), Bryce Harper (18) and Trea Turner (14).

Nats’ Notes- September 9, 2017

Taylor Grand Slam vset_1504933399234_10737938_ver1.0

Michael A. Taylor celebrates his inside the park grand slam home run in the Nationals’ 11-10 victory over the Phillies at Nationals Park on Friday September 8th.

The Nationals stand at 87-54 and 19 games up in the National League East with only 21 games left to play in the 2017 regular season. Here’s a look at a few interesting notes coming out of the Nats’ recent games.

JUST CAN’T WAIT TO GET ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Washington has won a Major League high (tied with Houston) 45 road games this year. With road series’ against the Braves, Mets and Phillies yet to be played, the team is only three wins away from its team best 48 victories in enemy ballparks.  If the Nats go at least 5-4 on the final road trip of the year, they will become only the third National League team since 2000 with at least 50 road victories in a season.  The 2005 St. Louis Cardinals and the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies had 50 road wins each.

The National League record for most road wins in a season is 53, last achieved by the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants who won 53 each in the 1993 season.

STERLING STARTS

The Nationals have a Major League high 67 games this season in which their starting pitchers have thrown at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs.   The Cleveland Indians are next in this category seven games behind the Nats at 60, and no other team is closer than 12 games away from the Nats’ mark (Arizona and the Los Angeles Dodgers have 55 such games each).

Cy Young Award candidates Gio Gonzalez (17), Max Scherzer (16) and Stephen Strasburg (13) have the most six innings plus, two or fewer runs allowed game for the National League East leaders. Tanner Roark is next with nine games, followed by Joe Ross and Edwin Jackson with five each and A.J. Cole with two.

NATS’ BATS

The Nationals have not only been superb at preventing runs from scoring in 2017, they’ve also been great at scoring.

Last night’s 11-10 victory over the Phillies gave the Nats a Major League high 21 games in 2017 where they’ve scored 10 or more runs.  Cleveland and Texas are next with 17 such games each.  Colorado, with 15, is second in the National League.

The Nationals’ 21 10 plus runs scored contests has shattered the team mark of 14 such games, set in the 2016 season.  The only other seasons in which Washington has had at least 10 games with runs scored in double figures are 2015 (11 games), 2012 (11), 2009 (10) and 2008 (10).

MILESTONES IN REACH 

Nats’ first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit his team leading 30th and 31st home runs of the season this week, putting him only two round trippers behind his personal best the  33  he hit in 2009.   Zimmerman also has 95 RBI, and he appears primed to post the third 100 plus RBI season of his career.  Zimmerman’s best RBI mark was 110 set in his rookie year of 2006. He drove in 106 runs in the 2009 season.

The notoriously streaky hitter has also shown signs that September might be a month to remember for him. In 27 at bats so far this month, Zimmerman has hit .370 with two homers and seven runs driven in.

HOME RUN HIGHLIGHTS

Trea Turner’s ninth home run of the year against the Phils on Friday puts him one blast away from joining the Nats’ 2017 ten plus home run club. Seven Nationals (Zimmerman with 31, Bryce Harper with 29, Anthony Rendon with 23, Daniel Murphy with 22, Michael A. Taylor with a career high 15, Brian Goodwin with 13 and Adam Lind with 11) have already put up double digit numbers in home runs.

Turner, Matt Wieters and Jayson Werth have all hit nine round trippers so far this year. If at least two of the three get to 10 or more home runs on the year, the Nats will set a record for the most double digit home run hitters in team history. The 2015 and 2016 squads both had eight players with 10 or more homers.

Michael A. Taylor’s inside the park grand slam home run on Friday was the fifth in Nats’ history, and the first with runners aboard.   Austin Kearns (May 12, 2007 against Florida), Willie Harris (September 24, 2010 against Atlanta), Zimmerman (May 15, 2016 against Miami) and Stephen Drew (May 31, 2016 at Philadelphia) are the other Nationals who have hit inside the park homers.

LEADING BY A LOT

If the Nationals hold or improve on their current lead in the Nationals League East, they will become the first team since the 2008 Los Angeles Angels to win its division by at least 19 games.  The 2008 Angels won their division by 21 games in that season.

11 teams have won their divisions by at least 15 games since the current divisional format was adopted.  A word of caution for those thinking a big lead a team will be playing until the week of Halloween; before the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last year, the six previous teams (including the 2014 Nats) who won their division by such a margin all lost in the Divisional Playoff round).

Here’s a look at the 11 teams who cruised to a divisional win, with a list of what  happened to them in the post-season:

1995 Atlanta Braves  Won NL East by 21 games-  Won World Series

1995 Cleveland Indians Won AL Central by 30 games- Lost World Series to Atlanta

1998 Atlanta Braves  Won NL East by 18 games-  Lost in NLCS to San Diego

1998 New York Yankees Won AL East by 22 games- Won World Series

1999 Cleveland Indians  Won AL Central by 21.5 games- Lost in the ALDS

2002 Atlanta Braves  Won NL East by 19 games-  Lost in the NLDS

2003 San Francisco Giants  Won NL West by 15.5 games- Lost in NLDS

2008 Los Angeles Angels Won AL West by 21 games- Lost in ALDS

2011 Detroit Tigers  Won AL Central by 15 games- Lost in ALDS

2014 Washington Nationals Won NL East by 17 games- Lost in NLDS

2016 Chicago Cubs  Won NL Central by 17.5 games- Won World Series

Game 107 Review- Nats 4 Cubs 2

Nationals_Cubs_Baseball_88290

Daniel Murphy’s two home runs off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks led Washington to a 4-2 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon in the first game of a three game series between probable 2017 post-season opponents.

Game 107

Nationals 4 Cubs 2

Nats’ Record 64-43, first place in the NL East, 13 games ahead of Miami 

WP- Roark (9-7)  LP- Hendricks (4-4)  SV- Doolittle (8)

HR- Murphy Was 2 (19),  Baez, Chc (15)

If the Nationals and Cubs end up meeting in the 2017 post-season and play games like the one played at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon, the series will be a great one.  On a day where temperatures in the Windy City were more suitable for October than for August, the Nats got solid pitching and clutch hitting by Cubs-killer Daniel Murphy to pull out a 4-2 victory over Chicago.  Washington is now eight games ahead of the Cubs in the loss column in the battle for the second seed (with resulting home field advantage) in the National League playoffs.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the game.

STARS OF THE GAME

Daniel Murphy went 3 for 4 with a pair of homers and three runs driven in to extend his dominance of the Cubs in games played at Wrigley Field.  Among opponents with at least 80 at bats at Wrigley since 1913, only Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (with a 1.111 mark) has a higher OPS than Murphy’s 1.098.    Murphy got the Nats off to a strong start with a booming two run home run to right center in the first inning, and expanded Washington’s lead to 3-0 with an opposite field solo shot in the sixth.

Pitching in his home state of Illinois, Tanner Roark won his ninth game of the year with 6.1 solid innings pitched.  Roark shut the Cubs out through six innings before being removed after giving up Javier Baez’s two run home run in the seventh.  In his last four starts, Roark has allowed eight earned runs in 24 innings pitched while posting a 3-1 record.

Nats’ relievers Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle showed why the revamped Nationals’ bullpen may make the team’s relief pitching a strength down the stretch. The trio recorded the last eight outs of the game, allowing only one hit and striking out three batters in the process.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Lanky Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks had a magical 2016 season, leading the National League in ERA with a 2.13 mark while winning 16 of his 24 decisions in the Cubs’ championship season.  Things have been tougher for the Ivy League product in 2017, but he showed signs of getting his mojo back yesterday as he allowed only five hits and three runs in seven innings pitched.

NATS NOTES

Murphy’s two home run game marked the 18th time a Nationals’ player has had a multiple home run game so far in 2017.  That total leads the National League.  Murphy’s two round tripper game was his second of the year.  Bryce Harper leads the Nats with five multi-homer games this year with five.   With 55 games still left to play, the Nationals’ 18 instances of multiple home run games this year is the most the team has had in a single season since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. Prior to this season,  Washington’s high mark for instances of multiple home run games in a season was 15, set in 2010.   Ryan Zimmerman’s 20 multiple home run games in his career is the Nats’ high mark, with Harper (15), Adam LaRoche (8), Adam Dunn (8) and Jayson Werth (6) rounding out the top five.

Madson struck out two Cubs in yesterday’s game, including talented Anthony Rizzo and young slugger Kyle Schwarber, to keep the Cubs at bay in the crucial eighth inning.  On the year, Madson has been equally impressive against both lefthanded and righthanded hitters.   Lefties are hitting only .188 with a .266 OPS against the veteran reliever, and righthanders have a .180 average with a .258 OPS.

Washington’s win was its 35th road victory of the year, the second most in the Major Leagues behind Houston’s 38.   The Nats have a .625 winning percentage (35-21 record) on the road so far this year, and are primed to best Washington’s team best .593 winning percentage in road games from the 2012 season.

UP NEXT

If the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field this afternoon, fans in the bleachers would be smart to bring their baseball gloves with them to the ballpark as both of today’s starting pitchers have had difficulty with the long ball so far in 2017.

Chicago’s John Lackey has surrendered 26 round trippers in 114.2 innings pitched this year.  Only Atlanta’s Julio Teheran, with 27, has given up more among National League hurlers.  Lackey has also shown a difficulty controlling the running game this year, allowing ten steals in 11 attempts.  Look for Adam Lind to be patrolling left field for the Nats today. In 43 career at bats against Lackey, Lind has a .419 average with seven RBI.  Lackey has had success against Bryce Harper, holding the Nats’ star to one hit in 11 career at bats.

Nats’ starter Edwin Jackson has allowed five home runs in his 19 innings pitched for Washington this year.   Anthony Rizzo has four hits in five career at bats against Jackson but the Nats’ righty has had success against Chicago’s Ben Zobrist, holding the versatile veteran to three hits in 15 at bats with five strikeouts.

Game 95 Review- Diamondbacks 6 Nationals 5

pollock 

Arizona’s A.J. Pollock scores from third with the winning run on Brandon Drury’s RBI single as the Diamondbacks beat the Nats 6-5 on Friday night in a battle of probable National League playoff squads.

NATIONALS 57-38, first in the NL East, 10 games ahead of Atlanta 

Arizona 6  Washington 5

WP- Rodney (4-3)  LP- Romero (2-4) 

HR-  Peralta AZ (10), Pollock AZ (4), Lamb AZ (23)

The Nationals began a three series stretch against potential playoff teams last night in Arizona, and dropped a tough one to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Washington battled back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the score in the eighth, but Arizona got the last laugh on a one out bases loaded single by Brandon Drury that was the game winner.  Here’s a look at some of the key happenings from game one of the series.

STARS OF THE GAME

A.J. Pollock went 3 for 5 with three runs scored, a home run and a triple to pace Arizona’s attack. The Diamondbacks’ centerfielder led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple off of Enny Romero to set the stage for Arizona’s walk-off win.

With seven career home runs against the Nats, the most he’s had against any non-National League West team, Jake Lamb is earning a reputation as a Nats killer.  The left-handed swinging third baseman was at it again on Friday, going 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.

The Nats eventually got to Arizona starter Zack Godley for four runs in 5.2 innings pitched, but the young hurler was impressive on the night. Godley registered a career high 10 strikeouts, and displayed a tremendous curveball that baffled the Nats’ hitters on occasion.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Southpaw Matt Grace has flown under the radar to become a solid contributor in the Nats’ bullpen. Grace was amazing on the night, allowing only a scratch single and fanning three in 1.2 scoreless innings.  In his last four outings over four innings pitched, Grace has allowed no runs, only one hit and has struck out five batters.

NATS NOTES

Daniel Murphy broke out of an 0 for 11 slump with three hits in four at bats, a pair of doubles and a RBI. The three hit game was the 13th of the season for the Nats’ hitting machine, only two fewer than the 15 three plus hit games Murphy had in his sensational 2016 campaign.

In 87 career starts for the Nats, Max Scherzer has gone five or fewer innings only nine times.  The Nats’ ace’s five innings pitched was the fewest in a start since May 20th when he went five frames in Washington’s 5-2 loss to Atlanta.  Scherzer’s shortest outing as a National came on August 14, 2015 when he went only three innings in Washington’s 8-5 loss at San Francisco.

Bryce Harper went 1 for 3 with a run scored and a double and walked twice.  Harper’s two free passes give him 63 on the year, tied with Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona for the third most in the National League.  The Reds’ Joey Votto leads the way with 69 walks, and St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter is next with 66.  Harper’s .444 on-base percentage is the second best in the Senior Circuit, trailing only Los Angeles’ Justin Turner’s .467 mark.

UP NEXT

Washington’s Tanner Roark looks for his eighth win of the year tonight at Arizona, with lefty Anthony Banda making his Major League debut for the home team.

Roark is 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA lifetime against Arizona, and is 109 with a 1.80 ERA at Chase Field.  Jake Lamb is 2 for 8 with two homers against Roark and Chris Hermann is 2 for 3 with a homer, while Jeff Mathis is 0-9 with six strikeouts.

Banda was 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA at AAA Reno so far this year, and the Corpus Christi, Texas native gave up a whopping 15 hits and seven runs in five innings pitched in his last start against Salt Lake (Angels’ affiliate).

 

 

Game 91 Review- Nationals 14 Reds 4

Nationals_Reds_Baseball_85098

Another day, another outburst by the Nationals offense against an over-matched Reds pitching staff.  This time it was National League leading hitter Daniel Murphy doing the key damage as Washington routed Cincinnati 14-4 for its third straight victory coming out of the All-Star break.

NATIONALS 14 Reds 4

Record- 55-36, 9.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the National League East

WP- Roark (7-6)  LP- Bailey (2-3)

HR- Murphy, Was 2(16), Lind, Was (7), Rendon, Was (19), Lobaton, Was (3)

There are slow-pitch softball teams who don’t put up the runs at the level the Washington Nationals have this season.  The Cincinnati Reds are the latest team to run into the Nats’ buzz saw of an attack, falling on Sunday by a 14-4 score. Here’s a look at the key players and numbers from the Nats’ third straight win this weekend and their fourth victory in a row overall.

STARS OF THE GAME

Daniel Murphy is a student of hitting who works at his craft with a dedication matched by few.  Over the past few seasons Murphy has not only been a student, he’s been a teacher of lessons that have been tough to stomach for opposing pitchers.   The Cincinnati Reds know that all too well after today, as Murphy went 3 for 4 with two home runs and five RBI to lead the Nats to an easy win.  The two homer game was the second of Murphy’s time in DC, with the first coming against, of course, the Mets in June of 2016.   Murphy’s day lifted his National League leading batting average to .348, 20 points ahead of teammate Bryce Harper’s .328 mark.  Only Houston’s Jose Altuve, at .350, has a better average than Murphy among all qualified Major Leaguers.

While Murphy, Harper, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman are typically the Nats’ hitters doing most of the damage, this year’s squad has contributors up and down the roster.  On Sunday, several of those unsung contributors stood out.  Wilmer Difo had three hits, scored three runs, stole a base and drove in a run.  Adam Lind also had three hits including a home run, scored two runs and drove in three.  Even former Reds outfielder Chris Heisey got into the act against his old team on Sunday, going 3 for 5 with two runs scored and a RBI.

NATS NOTES

Starting pitcher Tanner Roark had a strong outing, allowing only three unearned runs and four hits in six innings pitched to earn his seventh win on the year.  Roark and three relievers held the Reds without an extra-base hit.

Washington scored 14 or more runs for the seventh time this year and the 22nd time in Nats’ history.   Washington also registered its 17th five home run plus game since 2005, and its third of the 2017 season.  Three of those 17 games have come against Cincinnati.

Rendon’s long home run to left field was the 19th of season for the talented third baseman, only two shy of career high of 21 set in 2014.  Rendon’s 19 this season have come in 317 fewer at bats than it took him to hit 21 three seasons ago.

2017 has been anything but a smooth campaign for veteran Nats’ reliever Joe Blanton, but the righty has shown signs of improvement recently. Blanton pitched  a scoreless inning with three strikeouts to post his eighth straight appearance without giving up a run.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

A pair of Reds had good games at the plate. Outfielder Jesse Winker picked up a hit, scored a run and walked three times in five plate appearances.  Nats’ killer Scooter Gennett also was up to his old tricks, going 2 for 5 with three runs driven in.

UP NEXT

The Nats go for the four game sweep on Monday afternoon, with All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg taking the mound.  Strasburg, who will be looking to pick up his 10th win in the matinee game, is 1-1 with a 6.75 in four career games started at Cincinnati.   He’s fared well in the past against Zack Cozart (0-10 with two strikeouts) and Eugenio Suarez (0 for 5, two strikeouts), while struggling against Gennett (4 for 8, three home runs).

Opposing Strasburg will be veteran Scott Feldman, who is 7-6 with a 3.94 ERA on the year.  The tall righty has won five of his last seven decisions, and has a 3.00 ERA in home games in 2017.  Stephen Drew (7-16, two triples, two homers) and Lind (three homers and six RBI in 23 career at bats) have done well against Feldman, while Rendon (1 for 6 with two strikeouts) has had difficulty.