Nats Numbers. Digging Into the Stats
The team-leading number of pitching appearances from Matt Albers. When the season began, Albers wasn’t even on the major league roster. Now he is almost a lock to end up leading the team in games pitched. Injuries to Enny Romero, Koda Glover and Joe Blanton made Albers’ season possible. So have the down campaigns of Shawn Kelley and the fact that Blake Treinen was traded for bullpen upgarades in July. But the journeyman right-hander has been fantastic. He’s posted a 1.66 ERA and a .169 batting average against.
Howie Kendrick’s batting average since being added in a trade with the Phillies at the deadline. Kendrick has played in 37 games, knocking in 23 runs while managing a gaudy .925 OPS since arriving in DC. Kendrick’s full-season average is even higher (.332) because he was hitting .340 in Philadelphia before the trade. Some of Kendrick’s Nats highlights include a walk-off swing and a five-hit game. He’s fit in beautifully.
The number of Nationals pitchers currently sporting ERA’s under 3.00. In-season acquisition Ryan Madson has only pitched in 13 games, but he’s posted a 1.38 ERA. Albers’ 1.66 is the best among the team’s holdover relievers from the spring. Closer Sean Doolittle (2.25) overcame a rocky first week with Washington to settle in as a dominant ninth-inning option. Fellow reliever Brandon Kintzler (2.45) has been lights out in his 19 chances. Starters Max Scherzer (2.32), Gio Gonzalez (2.50) and Stephen Strasburg (2.64) are all putting the finishing touches on masterful campaigns.
The number of starts Tanner Roark has made since the all-star break, the majority of which have been very good. He’s rebounded from a disappointing first half, posting a 3.19 ERA and a .206 average against since the hiatus. His post-break WHIP is a tad better than Max Scherzer’s and his fanned more than a batter per inning over his 10 outings since the festivities in Miami. His improvement is significant because he will likely be asked to pitch the fourth game of a postseason series.
Wilmer Difo’s batting average since the beginning of July. His breakout came out of nowhere. He was hitting well under .200 in the season’s first three months. Difo’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time, with shortstop Trea Turner nursing an injury and Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Michael Taylor all missing time in the outfield. Difo has a narrow team-lead over Anthony Rendon in hits since the all-star break, impressive considering he’s cooled off in the last couple weeks.
Ryan Zimmerman’s team-leading home run total. Zim, who last hit 30 homers in 2009, is only two big-flies away from tying his career-high. His 95 RBI positions him well to eclipse the 100 plateau for the first time in eight seasons. Zimmerman’s renaissance began with an outrageous April (.420 average, 11 homers, 29 RBI) and continued with a sparkling May (.319 and 15 RBI). After a cool July and August the longest tenured National is 10-for-31 to start September.
The number of left-handed hitters faced by Brandon Kintzler, a righty who has reverse-splits. Kintzler’s brilliance against lefties includes 21 innings, a 1.71 ERA, a .197 average against and a WHIP of 1.00 on the dot. Kintzler has been good against righties as well, but he has proven valuable against lefties. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baker use him against a tough lefty at some point in the postseason.
The number of days since Bryce Harper went down with what initially appeared to be a season-ending knee injury. The Nationals are still hopeful that Harper is going to return in time for the playoffs.
How many more wins the Nationals need to tie their franchise record for victories in a season. The club won 98 games in 2012 and 96 games in 2014, winning the NL East in both campaigns. If Washington can continue it’s current pace it would win 99 games. Finishing that close to the century mark would be an amazing accomplishment considering the bevy of injuries the team has had to overcome.
The number of division championships Dusty Baker has managed his teams to. The 2017 Nationals joined last year’s DC iteration, the 1997 and 2000 San Francisco Giants, the 2003 Chicago Cubs and the 2010 and 2012 Cincinnati Reds as Baker-skippered teams that won their divisions. Baker has now been to the playoffs nine times, something only six other managers can claim.