Nationals by the Numbers- September 17, 2017

 

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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).

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Nats’ Notes- September 9, 2017

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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

Nationals by the Numbers- June 25th

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Trea Turner was dynamic out of the leadoff spot in Saturday’s 18-3 Nats’ win over the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park. Turner had a career high five hits and scored four runs to pace Washington’s dynamic attack.

In this week’s Nationals by the Numbers, we look at outstanding efforts by a couple of Nationals’ starters, some monumental achievements by key players in lineup and a hot stretch by a potential emerging star.

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While 2016 was season to forget for Nationals’ outfielder Michael A. Taylor, he’s making 2017 memorable.   Particularly over the past several weeks, Taylor has shown the skill level that has fascinated team management since the Florida native was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB draft.

Since June 10th, Taylor has hit .395 in 38 at bats with 12 runs scored, six doubles, four home runs (including his second career multiple home run game on June 24th against Cincinnati), nine RBI and three stolen bases. After posting a feeble 71 OPS+ in 2016, Taylor’s mark stands at a healthy 107 so far this year.

1

There’s no doubt that offensive numbers are up in 2017, and that is especially true for the National League East’s top team.  With their 13th double digit run game of the year on Saturday against the Reds, Washington is one game short of the Nats’ record of 14 10+ run games in a season.

On Saturday, the Nationals became the first National League team since 2010 to have two games with 18 or more runs scored in a season.  In 2010, the Brewers defeated the Pirates 20-0 on April 22nd and thrashed the Cubs 18-1 on August 2nd.

If the Nationals can crack the 18 run mark one more time this year, they’ll be the first National League team in 74 years to do so.  In 1943 the Brooklyn Dodgers scored 18 runs in wins over the Phillies and Cubs in May and June, and then tallied 23 in a rout of the Pirates in July.

Max Scherzer’s outing in Miami on Wednesday ultimately ended in frustration, but there’s no denying that the reigning Cy Young Award winner showed his top level form in the contest. Scherzer fanned 11 Marlins on the game, giving him nine double digit strikeout games so far in 2017.   In his time with the Nationals, Scherzer has 33 such games including 13 last season.

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Scherzer is not the only Nats’ starter doing special things so far in 2017.

With his seventh win of the year on Tuesday against the Marlins in his hometown of Miami, lefty Gio Gonzalez allowed three or fewer earned runs for the 13th time in his 15 starts on the season.  Gonzalez’s 3.0 WAR is the ninth highest total in the National League this, and the fourth highest among pitchers.  Only teammate Scherzer (3.9), Robbie Ray of Arizona (3.5) and Clayton Kershaw (3.2) lead Gonzalez in that category.

14

Trea Turner had five hits, scored four times and drove in two runs in the Nats’ rout of the Reds on Saturday. The game marked the 14th time a Nationals’ hitter has had five hits in a game.  Only Yunel Escobar (with three, all in 2015), Ian Desmond and Denard Span have had more than one five hit games in their time wearing a curly W.

25 

The Nats lost two out of three games in Miami last week, but they still have a National League high (tied with Colorado) 25 victories on the road so far in 2017.

The Nats’ road winning percentage stands at .625 on the year. If Washington can maintain that pace, the 2017 squad will shatter the 2012 team’s .593 percentage (48-33 record) in games played away from home.

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If you blinked while watching Friday night’s Nats’ win over the Reds, you may have missed Daniel Murphy’s laser shot home run in the sixth inning of that contest.

The home run was the 100th of Murphy’s career, and the 38th in 802 at bats as a National.  In his time in Washington, Murphy has hit a home run every 21 at bats. In 3,354 career at bats as a Met, the sweet swinging second baseman averaged a home run every 54 at bats.

78 

Washington’s recent trip to New York was a smashing success, as the Nats won three out of four games to reaffirm their dominance against their divisional rivals to the north.

The Mets were able to win the finale of the series, but it took a sterling effort by starting pitcher Jacob deGrom to do so. deGrom allowed three hits and one unearned run in eight strong innings to beat Washington 5-1, posting a 78 pitching game score in the process.  deGrom’s gem gave him the highest pitching game score by any Nationals’ opponent so far this season.

451

Anthony Rendon is a five tool player, and he’s having a top level season so far in 2017.  The smooth swinging infielder has hit .296 with 14 homers, 47 RBI and a .948 OPS so far.  On Friday, Rendon took his power to another level with a career long 451 foot home run blast to left center field in Washington’s 6-5 win over the Reds.  Only Ryan Zimmerman, with a 455 foot round tripper on April 29, 2017 at Nationals Park against the Mets, has hit one farther 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.