Nationals by the Numbers- June 17th

maxnymjune16

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer struck out 10 in eight innings to lead the Nationals to  7-2 victory over the New York Mets on Friday June 16th.  

This week’s Nationals by the Numbers looks at some of the major events coming out of a week of inter-divisional games, first at home in a disappointing series against Atlanta and then at Washington’s home away from home in Flushing, New York in the first two games of its four game set against the Mets.

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For the Mets and their perpetually angst ridden fan base, the site of the Washington Nationals invading Citi Field cannot be comforting.  Since 2012, Washington has won a staggering 74% (40-14) of the games played between the two teams at the home of the New Yorkers.  Washington’s win on Friday night extended its winning streak at Citi Field to five games, and gave the Nats 11 wins in their last 14 contests there.

.909

One of the main reasons for the Nats’ dominance at the Mets’ ballpark has been the performance of Gio Gonzalez while pitching there.   Gonzalez’s sterling effort in Washington’s 8-3 victory on Thursday moved his career winning percentage at Citi Field to .909 (10-1).   In 15 games at the park, Gonzalez has posted a 1.69 ERA.

1

Since 1994 when baseball switched to its current three divisions in each league format, this year’s Washington Nationals’ team is the first National League squad to hold a double digit lead (the Nats are currently 10 games ahead of Miami in the NL East) in its division at the end of play on June 16th.

Only three other teams have achieved such a lead by June 16th.  This year’s Houston Astros stand 11 games up in the AL West, the 2001 Seattle Mariners led the AL West by a staggering 20 games on June 16th of that season and the Cleveland Indians held a 10 game advantage in the AL Central as of the conclusion of play on June 16, 1999.

1.076 

When the Washington Nationals selected Brian Goodwin with the 34th pick in the 2011 Major League Draft, the franchise had big plans for the left-handed swinging, speedy outfielder.  Goodwin’s arrival at the Major League level may have taken a little longer than usual but if his recent performance is a guide, he may be in the Majors to stay.

In 42 at bats so far in June, Goodwin has put up an impressive 1.076 OPS with three doubles, a triple and four impressive home runs.

7

The Nationals allowed five home runs to the Braves in an 11-10 loss at Nationals Park on June 12th, marking the seventh time the Nats have given up five or more long balls in a game.  The only other time the Nats have given up five plus home runs in a game at Nationals Park came on September 20th of last season, when Arizona hit five balls out in a 14-4 victory.

The most round trippers surrendered by Nats’ pitchers in a game is the six given up to Cincinnati in the Reds’ 15-0 thrashing of Washington on April 5, 2013.

12.1

 

Max Scherzer’s 134 strikeouts, which includes 10 in last night’s impressive showing in New York, leads the National League, as does his 12.1 SO/9 mark.

Since 1913, there have been only nine instances where a starting pitcher who qualified for his league’s ERA leadership has posted more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in a season.

Randy Johnson did the trick nine times in his Hall of Fame career, with Pedro Martinez, Kerry Wood and the late Jose Fernandez (in 2016) joining Johnson in the exclusive club.

Like Scherzer, Boston’s Chris Sale is bidding to crash the party this year. Sale has a Major League best (for starter) 12.36 mark so far in 2017.

18

In the Nats’ 10-5 victory over Atlanta on June 13th, Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run off of the Braves’ R. A. Dickey in the first inning and followed that up with a two run homer off of the knuckle ball specialist in the sixth to put Washington on top for good in the topsy-turvey contest.  The two homer game was the 18th of Zimmerman’s career, the most for any National.  Oddly, the Nationals are only 8-10 in games where Zim has homered two or more times.

The only other National with double digit multi-homer games is Bryce Harper with 12.  A pair of Adams, LaRoche and Dunn, are next with eight each, with Jayson Werth’s six such games putting him fifth on the list.

Zimmerman (at Baltimore in May 2013), Harper (v.s. Miami at Nationals Park on May 6, 2015) and Dunn (July 7, 2010 at home against San Diego) are three of the five Nationals’ players with three home runs in a game.  The other two players on the exclusive list are Alfonso Soriano, who homered three times against Atlanta in April 2006, and Anthony Rendon, who hit three out against the Mets on April 30th of this year.

249

With a National League leading 103 home runs so far this year, including five so far in their two games in New York this week, the Nationals are on pace to hit a team record 249 in the 2017 season.  The high mark for home runs in a season by the Nationals is 203, set in last year’s National League East winning campaign.  Only the New York Yankees (with 108) and the Houston Astros (with 104) have more round trippers than Washington so far this year.

 

Nationals by the Numbers- June 11th

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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.

 

June 4th In Nationals History

during a game at Nationals Park on June 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Adam LaRoche celebrates scoring the winning run on Steve Lombardozzi’s sacrifice fly in Washington’s 3-2 comeback victory over the New York Mets on June 4, 2013 at Nationals Park.  

Coming off an amazing 2012 season in which the Nationals shocked the baseball world by winning 98 games to capture the National League East title, hopes were high in Washington as the 2013 season began. The Nationals had fortified an already strong roster by trading for lead off man and centerfielder Denard Span, had added a veteran closer in Rafael Soriano and brought in solid starter Dan Haren to add to a young starting rotation that was already one of baseball’s bests.

Things did not start out well for the Nats in Davey Johnson’s final year at the helm of the team. Washington stumbled out of the gate and stood at 28-29 entering play on June 4, 2013, seven games behind the first place Atlanta Braves.

Facing the Nats this day four years ago was a New  York Mets team that had also experienced problems in the early part of the 2013 season. The Mets came to Washington for a two game set sporting an unimpressive 22-32 record after having just been swept in a three game trip to Miami, being outscored by the Marlins 24-8 in the process.

On the mound for Washington in the game was Jordan Zimmermann, who was en route to his perhaps his finest season in a Nats’ uniform. The stoic righty finished 2013 with a 19-9 record and a 3.25 ERA, tying St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright for the most wins in the National League. Zimmermann’s effort earned him a fifth place finish in National League Cy Young Award voting that year.

Zimmermann did not disappoint on this evening,  going eight innings and giving up only four hits while striking out four Mets.  Unfortunately he left the game trailing 2-1, as errors by Zimmermann and Adam LaRoche gave the Mets two unearned runs in the top of the fifth.

With Mets closer Bobby Parnell looking to end the Mets’ three game losing skid, the heart of the Nats’ lineup ensured that the New Yorkers’ nightmare was far from over.  Ryan Zimmerman led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. LaRoche atoned for his fifth inning error with a single to drive in Zimmerman, and the score was tied at 2-2.  Ian Desmond, who had homered in the bottom of the second, continued the rally with a double to move LaRoche to third.  With their options limited, the Mets chose to walk Roger Bernadina to set up a force at any base.   Steve Lombardozzi was next up for Washington, and the scrappy infielder battled Parnell to a 2-2 count before hitting a liner to left field that was deep enough to score LaRoche with the winning run in a thrilling victory for the home team.

The 2013 Nats would never gain traction until the season’s final months in which they played .630 ball in winning 34 of their final 54 games.  Washington finished 10 games behind Atlanta in the East, in large measure due to the Nats’ losing 13 of the 19 games played between the teams.

 

Nationals by the Numbers- May 14th

Another dramatic Bryce Harper home run against the Phillies gave the Nats their second straight walk-off win in Washington’s 6-4 victory on May 13th at Nationals Park.

The latest “Nationals by the Numbers” highlights late inning heroics by members of the Nats’ powerful lineup and some positives coming out of what has been to date a much maligned Nats’ bullpen corps.

6

Bryce Harper contributed to Washington’s game winning rally on Wednesday with a double to left field off of Baltimore’s Brad Brach.  Six of Harper’s nine doubles in the 2017 have been hit to the opposite field.

7

In Washington’s comeback win over Baltimore on Wednesday May 10th, catcher Matt Wieters went 3 for 5 and drove in the winning runs against his former teammates.  The game was Wieters’ seventh multi-hit game of the 2017 season.  Only three catchers (the Giants’ Buster Posey with 11, Miami’s J. P. Realmuto with 10 and Brian McCann of Houston with 8) have more multi-hit games than Wieters.

9

Wieters’ heroics on Wednesday might not have been possible without some assistance from Nats’ centerfielder Michael A. Taylor, whose eighth inning two run home run off of Baltimore’s Alec Asher drew Washington within two runs at 6-4.   Taylor’s laser blast came on the first pitch he saw from Asher, marking the ninth time in his 23 homers that he has gone deep on the first pitch of an at bat.  20 of Taylor’s home runs have come when he’s been ahead in the count.

12.3

Nats’ reliever Shawn Kelley got the win in Saturday’s game, throwing one inning and fanning two batters in the process. Kelley now has 15 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched on the year for a 12.3 SO/9 ratio. That number almost equals his career best 12.4 mark set in 2016 when Kelley was the Nats’ primary set-up man.

31

Stephen Strasburg struck out nine Orioles’ batters on Wednesday night, giving him 31 career games at Nationals Park with nine or more strikeouts. In those 31 games, Strasburg has posted a 17-5 record with the Nats winning six of the nine contests where Strasburg did not figure in the decision.  The nine strikeout game was Strasburg’s first at home since July 21, 2016, when he lost a 6-3 decision to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

32

Reliever Matt Albers struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s win over Baltimore.  Albers’ effort marked the 32nd time in team history that a Nationals’ reliever has struck the side without allowing anyone to reach base.  Washington had only one such performance in 2016, and it came in a losing effort. On September 20th, Rafael Martin fanned all three Diamondbacks he faced in the ninth inning of Washington’s 14-4 loss at the hands of Arizona.  Drew Storen is far and away the Washington leader in this category with nine such games. Henry Rodriguez and Tyler Clippard tie for distant second with three games each.

33

Harper’s walk-off two run homer against the Phillies on Saturday night was the fifth of his career, and the 33rd in Nationals’ history.   Six of those have come against Philadelphia, the most among any opponent.  Harper and Ryan Zimmerman (with 10) are the only Nationals with multiple walk-off home runs in their careers in Washington.

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.

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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

 

Nationals by the Numbers- April 23, 2017

Gio Gonzalez won again at Citi Field against the Mets on Saturday, moving his all-time record at the Mets’ home to 8-1 as the Nationals won their sixth game in a row. (PHOTO- Anthony Grupposo, USA Today Sports).

Our first edition of Nationals by the Numbers for the 2017 season features notes on the Nats’ dominance of former tormentors within their division, long balls hit with the bases full and the consistently good efforts Washington gets from its starting pitching staff.

.717

Since 2011, Nationals’ wins at Citi Field in Queens, New York have been as common as jets flying over the stadium or Mets’ fans venting their displeasure with boos.

The Nats have won 43 of the 60 games (.716 winning percentage) played at New York since 2011.  Yesterday’s winning pitcher Gio Gonzalez is 8-1 lifetime at Citi Field, and teammate Stephen Strasburg has won five of his six decisions at the park.  Both Anthony Rendon (.889 OPS) and Bryce Harper (.880) have excelled against Mets’ pitching, and Daniel Murphy’s work against his former teammates has caused angst among his one-time supporters.

Despite their overall dominance on the road against the Mets, the Nationals have not swept a series in New York since August 12-14, 2014.  Washington will look to change that behind ace Max Scherzer this evening.

.790

Their divisional opponents in the Big Apple are not the only former bully who the Nats have turned the tables on.  Since June 21, 2014, Washington has won 49 of the 62 games it has played against the Atlanta Braves.   Washington’s 14 runs scored against Atlanta on April 19th is the most the Nationals have scored at Atlanta, beating the mark of 13 runs set in the Nats’ amazing comeback 13-12 win over the Braves on April 28, 2015.

1

Washington is 12-5 through 17 games in the 2017 campaign, one game behind the team’s best mark through 17 games in its 13 years in DC.   The 2012 and 2016 teams, which both won National League East titles and had 98 and 95 wins respectively, were 13-4 at the 17 game mark.

6

Ryan Zimmerman has started the 2017 season looking like he did in his All-Star years, and he showed that form to the fans at Sun Trust Park in Washington’s 14-4 win on Wednesday.  Zimmerman hit the sixth grand slam home run of his career in the rout, the first since he cleared the bases with a home run against San Diego on August 25, 2015 in Washington.  Bryce Harper also hit a slam in the game, a year after his last four run round tripper on April 19, 2016 at Miami.

9

Bryce Harper’s no doubt home run to right-center in the first inning of Friday night against talented Matt Harvey of the Mets was the ninth of Harper’s career at Citi Field. That total trails only the 66 the Nats’ right fielder has hit at home at the 12 he has blasted at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.  With two grand slams already, a talented and powerful lineup and 145 games left to play, the Nationals may have a shot at besting the 2009 squad’s Nats’ record of eight in a season.

12

Gio Gonzalez’s 6.1 innings pitched with only one run allowed marked the 12th time in 17 games that the Nationals’ starting pitchers have pitched at least six innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed.  The Nats’ sole lefty starter leads the way with four such efforts, followed by Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer with three each and Tanner Roark with two.

15

It only took fire-balling lefty reliever Enny Romero 15 pitches to record five straight outs in the Nats’ 3-1 win at New York on Saturday.  Included in that effort was a three pitch (all fastballs), see you later strikeout of the good-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera in which Romero’s velocity approached triple digits.

30 

Trea Turner scored his first run of the season in yesterday’s 3-1 victory at New York.  The game continued a trend where good things seem to happen to the Nats when the speedy Turner rounds the bases.  In the 44 games in which Turner has scored at least one run as a National, Washington has won 30 of them.

33

Following Sunday’s prime-time match-up with the Mets, the Nationals head west to Coors Field to take on the Colorado Rockies in a four game series.   Superstar Nolan Arenado has been excellent so far in 2017 (.328, six homers, 12 RBI, 1.087 OPS) and Mark Reyonlds has shown that Ryan Zimmerman isn’t the only former UVA player with a hot bat (.339, five homers 16 RBI) so far, but the real story of the Rockies’ hot start has been their pitching.

A major part of that effort has been the job done by the back end of the Colorado bullpen. Former Kansas City closer Greg Holland has converted all nine of his save attempts this year, and Holland, Adam Ottavino and lefty Mike Dunn have combined to struck out 33 batters in 25 innings pitched this year.

71

Stephen Strasburg’s win over the Braves on Thursday gave him 71 victories in his career, the most for any Nationals’ pitcher since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.  The recent victory game Strasburg one more curly W than former teammates Livan Hernandez and Jordan Zimmermann.