Five Astounding Facts

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The Nationals began their 2012 campaign exactly two weeks ago, at the hallowed grounds of Wrigley Field. Since then, they have packed as much gut-wrenching, will-testing excitement into the beginning of their season as any fan could hope for. If you still have fingernails left, scroll down and take a look at five of the most astounding facts of the young season so far, then vote for your favorite in the poll at the end of the post.

The display put on by Jordan Zimmermann and company is no mirage.

Make Your Best Pitch: The Nationals Staff

The pitching staff has a collective 1.92 ERA through the first 13 games, more than a half-run better than the next closest team in the league. Nats pitchers have allowed just two home runs while striking out 121 batters in 122 innings, both best in the game. Edwin Jackson – the author of the most impressive individual outing of the year to date – has the HIGHEST ERA in the rotation at 2.57, which also includes Stephen Strasburg (1.42), Jordan Zimmermann (1.29) and Ross Detwiler (0.90). Fellow newcomer Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, has been downright unhittable at home in D.C. His modest line through two starts at Nationals Park: 14.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 15 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP.

Crazy 8’s: Runs in 8th inning or later

Washington has scored 17 of its 49 runs this season (35% of the offense) in the eighth inning or later. The Nationals used the eighth inning to power themselves to victory once again on Wednesday, scoring the decisive pair of runs to flip a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 victory.

One-Run Fun: Plenty of one-run games

The Nationals have played 13 games so far in 2012. Eight of those contests have been decided by a single run, with Washington owning a 5-3 record in such

affairs. Washington did not play its eighth one-run game in 2011 until May 12, the 37th game of the season. The experience gained from these pressure-packed battles should serve the club well as the season unfolds.

The first two weeks of the season have been nothing, if not exciting.

Comeback To Me: Come-from-behind wins

The Nationals have trailed early and come from behind in half of their 10 wins thus far. That’s right, five of the team’s 10 wins have been of the come-from-behind variety. In fact, the team has led at some point in all but two games so far – the near-comeback on the third day of the season against the Cubs, after trimming a four-run deficit to one, and the near-sweep of Cincinnati, when Washington climbed out of a five-run hole to force extra innings, only to fall in 11 frames.

First!: Quickest team to 10 wins

As Henry Rodriguez took just seven pitches to close out the Astros in the ninth inning on Wednesday, the Nationals finished off their 10th win before the Texas Rangers could put away the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. That meant that Washington was the first team in Major League Baseball to hit the double-digit win mark. As the Dodgers lost Wednesday night in Milwaukee, the Nationals own the best record in the National League.


I think the most impressive thing is that the pitchers have been seemingly unaffected by the lack of run support.

During the first week, somebody commented on the high number of runs scored with two outs. Hasn’t that continued? Anyone know how many of the 49 runs were knocked in (or walked in, or wild-pitched in . . .) with two outs? Accounts for many of my blood pressure issues!

Great question- 24 of the 45 RBI for the team (49 total runs) have been scored with two out, including seven by Adam LaRoche!

The pitching is the most impressive because it’s the one that we need to keep. Come from behind wins and late innings pushes are good but we need to generate more offense to keep from needing to depend on them. We don’t want to trash our equally impressive bullpen, either. A few more complete games would be nice! But seeing our starters go deeper into games than ever before it awesome! #Natitude

You also could have mentioned fastest pitching speed of any team since they started recording it a few years back.

I vote for ‘other’ and that would be RBI’s scored in two out rallies! Although all are impressive!

Pitching has been unreal… And when morse and harper get into the line up, I could see this season being very exciting… Also the nl east as a whole seems to be tops in baseball

Pitchers most impressive due to the fact that all those one run wins would’ve been losses if our pitching wasn’t doing so great! We owe all 10 wins to our pitchers! Time for the rest of the team to step up.

Although two weeks of outstanding pitching is not predictive of 5 1/2 more months of sub-2 ERA nirvana, I have to say this stretch has been a real pleasure to take in. And while the staff can’t possibly continue quite at this clip, there is no doubt the Nationals have on hand the arms to make the playoffs. Let’s hope Morse comes back healthy and the rest of the Nats can start stringing together some hits and scoring runs in support of a tremendous rotation and bullpen.

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