Nationals by the Numbers- June 11th

giotx610

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.

1.236

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).

1.66

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.

2.8

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.

4.6

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.

11

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.

21

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.

38

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.

 

Nationals by the Numbers- Sunday April 30th

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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.

.615

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.

3

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.

5

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.

6.12

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.

7

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.

11

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.

12

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.

15

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.

Nationals’ Tuesday Tidbits- April 25th

Jose Lobaton, Charlie Blackmon

Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon, right, follows the flight of his two-run home run with Washington Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton in the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, April 24, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

This week’s Tuesday Tidbits focuses on potential bullpen woes, hot starts by two Nationals’ stalwarts and other items of note as we move closer to the end of the 2017 season’s first month.

CRAZY 8’s

The Nats dropped the first game of their four game set with Colorado last evening by an 8-4 score.  Of all non-NL East opponents, the Rockies have the most games against Washington with eight or more runs scored with 18 in the Nats’ 12 plus years in the Major Leagues.    The St. Louis Cardinals are next with 13 such games, followed by the Cincinnati Reds (11), Los Angeles Dodgers (10), Milwaukee Brewers (10) and San Francisco Giants (10).

THE MAX FACTOR

Sunday’s victory by Max Scherzer made the Nats’ ace 3-0 on the year and gave him his 37th win in Nationals’ uniform. His win total trails only the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (with 43) among Major League pitchers in wins since the start of the 2015 season.   Scherzer has allowed only 15 hits in 27.2 innings pitched on the year, has struck out 33 batters and has posted an impressive 1.95 ERA.

THE SLAM STORY

Daniel Murphy’s grand slam on Sunday against the Mets not only continued his torment of his former team, it gave the Nationals 10 grand slams since the start of the 2016 season.  That mark is the highest in the Major Leagues.  Colorado and Los Angeles are next with eight each, with the New York Mets checking in with seven.

The Nationals are not only good at hitting grand slams, they’re good at preventing them as well.  Washington and the New York Yankees lead the Majors with only one grand slam allowed since the start of the 2016 campaign.  St. Louis’ Stephen Piscotty did the honors against Scherzer and the Nats in Washington on May 27, 2016 as the Cardinals won 6-2.

RED HOT RYAN

Nats’ first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is known as a somewhat streaky hitter, and it is clear that he’s at the top of his game so far in 2017. Zimmerman’s home run in last night’s loss at Colorado was his seventh of the month, equaling the seven round trippers he hit in May 2016.  Zimmerman’s best month ever for home runs was September of 2013 when he clubbed 11.

PEN PROBLEMS

While many of us probably think that the national media’s obsession with the Nationals’ bullpen’s purported issues is somewhat overblown, there’s no denying that the 2017 bullpen group is off to a less than solid start.  Almost across the board, the group’s admittedly early results in key categories is mostly below that of their counterparts in previous Nationals’ seasons since 2012:

YEAR                      ERA            WHIP                 SO/9               OPP OPS

2017                         5.54            1.442                   8.5                   .830

2016                         3.37            1.187                    8.8                  .673

2015                         3.46            1.223                    8.1                  .674

2014                          3.00            1.202                    8.2                 .640

2013                         3.56              1.232                   8.2                 .674

 

LIGHT THE CANDLES

Happy birthday to former Nationals Garret Mock and Danny Espinosa.

Mock, who turns 34 today, was 4-13 in three seasons with Washington after coming to the Nats from Arizona in a 2006 trade that sent Livan Hernandez to the Diamondbacks.

Espinosa, who turns 30 today,  hit 92 homers, drove in 285 runs and played top level defense at both second base and shortstop during his tenure in Washington.  The hard swinging switch-hitter has 29 strikeouts in 77 at bats so far in Los Angeles, but he has shown a flair for the dramatic while playing in his home state. All three of Espinosa’s home runs this year have come in the ninth inning, including a clutch three run shot on April 4th that gave Los Angeles a 7-6 comeback win at Oakland