Five is the magic number and lineups

Apparently three is a magic number for someone–I don’t know who– but the Nationals magic number in the first 13 games has been five. As in, the Nats are 7-0 when their starting pitcher goes at least five innings. They are 0-6 when the starter goes less than five innings. They were 6-23 last season when the starting pitcher lasted less than 5.0 innings. It really isn’t mindboggling–the longer the starting pitcher pitches, the higher probability the team has of winning the game. It is as conventional as wisdom gets.

The 2010 season is still young but it will rest in the arms of the starting rotation–that probably is true for every MLB team. At 7-6, the Nats are off to their best start since 2005. They didn’t win their seventh game until May 4 last year. It took them 24 games. It took them 23 games to win seven in 2008 and 22 games in 2007.

Winning cures all ails. There is a different attitude in the clubhouse this season–they are finally having fun playing baseball. They are winning games they would have lost last season and coming back from games they would have given up on. You can debate all day if team chemistry creates winning or if winning creates chemistry but there is no question the Nats have chemistry in the clubhouse.

“We have more chemistry here. It’s just a different feeling,” Harris said. “If you believe, you just don’t know what could happen. We play nine innings of baseball, and the Nats are going to come at you for nine innings. That’s all there is to it. Our Manager Jim Riggleman demands it, and that’s how we play.”

Lineups:

Rockies (6-7):

1.      Ryan Spilborghs – LF

2.      Dexter Fowler – CF

3.      Todd Helton – 1B

4.      Troy Tulowitzki – SS

5.      Brad Hawpe – RF

6.      Melvin Mora – 2B

7.      Miguel Olivo – C

8.      Ian Stewart – 3B

9.      Jorge De La Rosa – SP (1-1, 2.77 ERA)

*Troy Tulowitzki leads all National League shortstops with .986 fielding pct and his 118.2 innings are the most played at the position in the NL, and he leads all NL shortstops in double plays (12), total chances (74) and putouts (39). And by the way, he has not made an error since Opening Day, April 5.

 

Nationals (7-6):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Pudge Rodriguez – C

7.      Justin Maxwell – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Scott Olsen – SP (0-0, 6.35 ERA)

*SITUATIONAL HITTING: Right from Elias Sport Bureau…Willie Harris’ three-run homer in the second inning put the Nationals on course for a 5-2 victory over the Rockies–and if you have been paying close attention to the Nationals early this season, you should not have been surprised. Washington has been getting big hits at opportune times, producing an NL-leading .353 batting average (24-for-68) with at least two runners on base. Ivan Rodriguez is 6-for-10 in those situations, including a hit on Monday night.

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