Some numbers behind the Nationals’ season

The Nationals’ disappointing season dropped to another low this weekend. They were swept in a three-game series by the Los Angeles Dodgers and their record fell to two games under .500. Nearly 100 games into the season, the Nationals are a third place team. A hot two or three-week stretch could mask many of their ills, but for now the Nationals continue to tread water and even slip. It’s obvious the Nationals have struggled, but some of the numbers behind the season are even wacky and revealing.

-24: The Nationals’ run differential is nearly identical to the New York Mets (-26). Only 10 teams have a worse run differential than the Nationals and, of course, none of them have a winning record. Based on the run differential and the Pythagorean record, the Nationals’ record should actually be 46-52. (The early-season 15-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds still makes a considerable dent in the run differential.)

.682: The Nationals OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) is third-worst in the majors. Only the Houston Astros (.672) and Miami Marlins (.623) are worse.

9-11: The Nationals’ record over the past 20 games is the same as, among others, the lowly Milwaukee Brewers and Marlins. The Nationals are also 2-8 in the past 10 games, tied for the Astros for the worst in baseball during that span, and 14-16 over the past 30 games.

.237: The Nationals’ average with runners in scoring position, ranked 24th in the major leagues. They don’t just struggle to hit overall (.240 average) but slightly worse when runners are on base.

48-50: The Nationals’ record is half a game worse the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East standings and only three games better than the Mets. They trail the Atlanta Braves by seven games. Through 98 games last season, the Nationals were 59-39 and five games up on the Braves in the NL East. Even though two games under .500 matches the lowest watermark of the season, the largest division deficit of the season is still eight games. The Nationals are closer to the Mets than they are to the second wild-card spot (seven games behind the Reds.)

105: The Nationals ERA+, which adjusts for the ballparks, is only ranked 13th in the majors. (The Nationals’ traditional team ERA mark is 3.62, seventh in the majors.)

-35.1: The Nationals have struggled to hit the fastball and, according to Fangraphs.com, that’s the number of runs scored against that pitch, lower than all teams except the Marlins (-70.9). The Boston Red Sox, on the other hand, hammer the fastball (a major league-best 67.3).

12.5 percent: The Nationals odds of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus’  postseason odds model. The Nationals have a 11.5 percent chance according to the models of ESPN and coolstandings.com.

34 percent: The Nationals’ bullpen has allowed that rate of inherited runners to score, tied with the Kansas City Royals for fifth worst in the majors. The league average is 30 percent.

.278: The Nationals’ average when ahead in the count, ranked 27th in majors ahead of the Minnesota Twins, Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re giving in too much to opposing pitchers even when they posses the advantage. The league average is .296. (When they’re behind in the count, it’s obviously worse: a .184 average, 26th in the majors.)

69: The number of errors committed by the Nationals ranks fourth in the majors behind the Los Angeles Angels (72), Astros (71) and Brewers (70).

FROM THE POST

The Nationals fall to two games under .500 behind Jordan Zimmermann’s career worst start, writes Adam Kilgore.

The Nationals haven’t earned the right to be buyers at the trade deadline, writes Boz.

Could this be the year that the Pittsburgh Pirates finally break through, asks Dave Sheinin.

FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL

Jordan Zimmermann says neck is fine; Ross Ohlendorf to start in Friday’s doubleheader

Cal Ripken on the Nationals, a potential return to baseball and what’s he’s up to now

Unpacking Davey Johnson’s decisions, etc.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Rochester 5,  Syracuse 3: Ryan Tatusko started and coughed up the runs on three walks and four hits over five innings. Cole Kimball allowed two runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings. Xavier Cedeno’s ERA is down to 1.61. Zach Walters drilled his 21st homer of the season and Eury Perez went 2 for 4.

Akron 11, Harrisburg 2: Robbie Ray started and allowed six runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. Jeff Howell homered and Steven Souza, Jr. snacked a double.

Potomac 8, Salem 7: The Nationals scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to win. Sammy Solis started and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk over four innings. Billy Burns finished 3 for 6. Cutter Dykstra went 3 for 5 with two doubles and three runs. Adrian Sanchez added three hits and two RBI. Mike Gilmartin added two hits and two RBI.

Hagerstown was postponed.

Auburn 5, Vermont 3: Austin Voth tossed a scoreless first inning and Cory Bafidis allowed two runs over three innings of relief. Isaac Ballou and Wilman Rodriguez each notched two hits.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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James Wagner · July 21, 2013

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