Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

AdaMVP

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The Nationals offense has done so much damage as a unit lately that individual performances have been largely assimilated into the mass of gaudy numbers. Washington bombed 15 home runs in outscoring the Cubs 31-9 over a four-game sweep and the Nats are averaging 8.8 runs per game through the first eight games of their current homestand. But one player in particular is posting even more absurd stats, laying legitimate claim to the nickname we gave him early this year: AdaMVP.

We began using the moniker back in early May, as Adam LaRoche carried a depleted Nationals offense through the early part of the season. His numbers eased back to earth as the rest of the lineup returned, piece by piece, to pick up the slack. But as the calendar has flipped to September, with a full complement of support around him, LaRoche has caught fire once again.

Adam LaRoche has slugged his way into the NL MVP discussion.

The veteran slugger has been impossibly hot through his first six games of the month, posting a line of .524/.583/1.381 (yes, a 1.381 slugging percentage) with six home runs, seven runs scored and 11 RBI. He homered in all four games against the Cubs, against whom he went deep a total of seven times in the seven games the two teams played against one another this season.

If that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, consider this: LaRoche is just the sixth player in Major League history to homer in all four games of a series, including at least one multi-homer performance. The other five guys? Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth and Mike Schmidt. For those readers less well-versed in the annals of baseball history, yes, all five of those player are Hall-of-Famers.

The first baseman figures to be a lock for National League Comeback Player of the Year, but the quality of his season seems deserving of more than just that honor. He leads all National League first basemen in hits (130), home runs (29), RBI (92) and slugging percentage (.511) and needs just four more longballs and nine more RBI to set new career marks.

It is no surprise that LaRoche continues to thrive late in the year, as he has traditionally posted his best numbers after the All-Star break. He has gone deep 14 times in 53 games since the break, after hitting 15 longballs in 73 first-half contests. If he (and the Nationals) continues at this pace, the strongest offensive force for the team with the best record in baseball, he will warrant legitimate consideration as the Most Valuable Player in the National League.

What to Watch For: 9/7

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Miami Marlins (61-77) vs. Washington Nationals (85-52)

RHP Jacob Turner (1-3, 7.33) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 2.94)

Washington’s offensive barrage continued, as the Nationals completed a four-game sweep of the Cubs with a 9-2 victory, their fifth win in a row and their eight in the last nine games. Stephen Strasburg makes his final scheduled home start of the season as Washington opens a three-game set with the Marlins to conclude an 11-game homestand.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

ADAM BOMBS

While homering in a career-best four consecutive games, Adam LaRoche became just the sixth player in MLB history to homer in every game of a four-game series, including at least one multi-homer effort, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. LaRoche joins the following Hall-of-Famers in accomplishing the feat: Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt.

STRAS

Stephen Strasburg faces his most frequent opponent tonight, the Miami Marlins. He is 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA in eight career starts against the Fish. By game’s end, he will have faced Miami nine times in 45 career starts (20%). In addition, he has worked 6.0 scoreless innings in five of eight career starts against the Marlins and has more wins (four) over Miami than any opponent.

FISH FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ryan Zimmerman’s 16 career homers against the Marlins are tied with Atlanta for the most he’s hit against another club. The Nationals won their final two series at Sun Life Stadium, but went 0-2-1 in first three visits to Marlins Park. Via a 10-8 mark in ‘07, the Nationals/Expos franchise has won only one season series from the Marlins since ‘98. With a 3-1 win on September 28, 2011, Stephen Strasburg (win) and the Nationals helped end Florida’s tenure at Sun Life Stadium. Roger Bernadina recorded the final hit and RBI in the venue’s 19-year MLB history.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL

September 7, 1907 – Walter Johnson pitches the first of 110 career shutouts, blanking the host Boston Americans, 1-0, at Huntington Ave. Baseball Grounds.

September 7, 2007 – Less than three months after being selected sixth overall in the First-Year Player Draft, out of Missouri State, Ross Detwiler makes his MLB debut at ATL and becomes the first member of the 2007 draft class to appear in a big league contest. Detwiler struck out one (Willie Harris) in 1.0 scoreless inning, but Atlanta won the game, 7-1.

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What to Watch For: 9/6

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Chicago Cubs (51-85) vs. Washington Nationals (84-52)

RHP Justin Germano (2-5, 5.52) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.01)

Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and for the second straight night the Nationals rode six home runs to a victory over the Cubs, their third straight to open the series and fourth in a row overall. Jordan Zimmerman looks to rebound from his toughest start of the season tonight as Washington aims for the four-game sweep.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

YARD WORK

Washington launched six home runs, including a pair from Bryce Harper, during its 9-1 win over the Cubs. The Nationals, who homered six times the night prior, became the first team in MLB history to hit six or more homers in two straight home games. Between the homers Wednesday night and Thursday night, the Nationals became only the third team in MLB history to hit six or more home runs in each of two consecutive games. The Dodgers did so 6/29-30, 1996 at Colorado and the Angels turned the trick 6/3-4, 2003 at Montreal.

BRYCE’S BOMBS

With two home runs last night, Harper became the third teenager since 1918 to hit two home runs in a game twice in a season, joining Mel Ott and Ken Griffey, Jr. Harper has hit 17 home runs this year, behind only Tony Conigliaro (24) and Mel Ott (19) for most home runs as a teenager.

ADAMVP

Adam LaRoche clubbed his fourth home run in three games last night, hitting a solo shot off Chris Volstad in the third inning. LaRoche ranks among NL first basemen in home runs (first, 28), extra-base hits (second, 56), RBI (first, 90) and walks (tied-second, 56). Before he struck out in the seventh, LaRoche was 7-for-7 with two walks in his previous nine plate appearances.

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Power Hour

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Did you remember that the Nationals hit three home runs in one inning Wednesday night? With everything else that happened in the game, a dramatic feat became a footnote to the larger overall story. Nevertheless, the “Nat Trick” was an impressive occurrence that signified the team’s offensive breakout, which has seen the bats score 61 runs in their last eight games (7.6 runs per game) after scoring just six times total in a five-game losing stretch before that. Even more impressive than the raw numbers, though, is the fact that everyone is contributing.

Adam LaRoche has homered four times in the first three games of the series.

On Tuesday, Davey Johnson gave Bryce Harper the night off, allowing him to miss a lefty starter and affording Tyler Moore a chance for some at-bats. Moore responded with a towering home run to left, one of the team’s six on the night. On Wednesday, Johnson sat Jayson Werth, a night after his four-hit game. That gave Roger Bernadina a chance to start, and he rewarded his skipper with a home run of his own. Oh, and Harper? He returned to the lineup to swat a pair of longballs, his second two-homer game in a week.

In the past two games – in which the Nationals have only batted a total of 16 innings, due to their cancellation of the bottom of the ninth each night – eight different players have combined to club 12 home runs. Adam LaRoche has led the way with three clouts, while Harper and Desmond have both pitched in a pair and Bernadina, Danny Espinosa, Jesus Flores, Moore and Ryan Zimmerman have one each. Collectively, they are just the third team in the last 95 years to post consecutive six-homer games, joining the ’96 Dodgers and the ’03 Angels.

Not to be outdone, Gio Gonzalez returned to the mound for the first time since his first career shutout last Friday, and was even more dominant. The lefty carried a no-hitter with no walks – the only baserunner to reach early came on an error in the third inning – all the way into the sixth. In the end, he allowed just three hits over seven scoreless frames, fanning nine Cubs without issuing a walk. He stretched his scoreless streak to 16 innings, striking out 17 and allowing just 11 runners to reach base over that span.

While Gio tries to track down 20 wins, Jordan Zimmermann looks for his 10th Thursday night, which would be the first double-digit win total of his career. Saturday, it will be Ross Detwiler’s turn to do the same, and on Sunday, Edwin Jackson will look for his fourth consecutive season of 10 or more wins. Should each accomplish the feat this weekend, or at some other time over the season’s final four weeks, it will give each of the Nats five primary starters a double-digit total for the season.

Gio Gonzalez and the Nats staff are closing in on some milestone numbers.

This is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that last year, on a team that finished a respectable 80-81, John Lannan (who was recently called up for reinforcement down the stretch) was the only pitcher to reach that mark, winning exactly 10 games. For some perspective, not even the 102-win Phillies of 2011 managed to have five starters with 10 or more wins. In fact, the only four teams that turned the trick last year were Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, Texas and St. Louis – all four playoff teams, the final two of which battled it out for the World Series.

Really, that has been the narrative of the 2012 Nationals all season long, that the club’s depth, both on offense and on the pitching staff, is so solid. The storyline was somewhat obscured by the rash of injuries suffered by position players early on. But Cubs manager Dale Sveum commented after Thursday night’s contest that Washington is “by far the best team we’ve played all year.” At this point, the Nats are the best team that they have been all year as well, playing their most dominating baseball of the season down the stretch, when it matters most.

Enjoy the full dirty dozen of homers from the past two nights in the video below before the Nationals look for their fifth straight Curly W and a sweep of the Cubs later tonight.

What to Watch For: 9/5

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Chicago Cubs (51-84) vs. Washington Nationals (83-52)

RHP Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10)

The Nationals matched a franchise record with six home runs, coming off the bats of five different hitters, as they cruised to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs Tuesday night for their fifth win in the first six games of their current 11-game homestand. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill on the heels of his first career shutout as he looks for his career-high 18th win.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Bernadina CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ABOUT THOSE HOMERS LAST NIGHT…

Ian Desmond hit a two-run, first-inning home run and Adam LaRoche went deep twice to spark a six-homer barrage. The Nationals became the first team representing the Nation’s Capital in 79 years of modern (1901-present) baseball (6,124 games) to hit more than four homers in a home game. The six homers also matched a Nationals (‘05-present) single-game mark (May 20, 2011 at Baltimore). Washington matched a season high with 11 extra-base hits, as all nine Nationals starters tallied at least one hit.

LAROCHE KEEPING ELIAS BUSY

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, with his 4-for-4, two-home run effort last night, LaRoche is the third Nationals player to go 4-for-4 or better with two homers in a game. The other to do it were Nick Johnson on April 20, 2006 (4-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 R) and Josh Willingham on August 25, 2009 (4-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 5 R). LaRoche ranks among National League first basemen in HR (first, 27), RBI (first, 87), SLG (third, .498) and OPS (third, .834).

START ME UP

Gonzalez is coming off the first shutout of his career in Friday’s 10-0 win vs. St. Louis. He struck out eight along the way en route to his second complete game in five starts. With 17, has already established a Nationals single-season record for wins, besting Livan Hernandez’s 15-win campaign in 2005. The last DC-based pitcher to win 18+: Bob Porterfield (22 in 1953).

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 5, 2011: Desmond (first-inning leadoff homer), Michael Morse (third career multi-homer game) and Jayson Werth (18th of the season) combined on three first-inning home runs, four total in the game, as Washington powered past the Dodgers, 7-2, at Nationals Park.

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What to Watch For: 9/4

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Chicago Cubs (51-83) vs. Washington Nationals (82-52)

LHP Chris Rusin (0-1, 1.80) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (8-9, 3.53)

The Nationals rode seven scoreless innings from Ross Detwiler to a 2-1, series-opening victory over the Cubs on Monday, their fourth win in the first five games of this homestand. They will look to Edwin Jackson to keep the momentum in their favor tonight, as he makes his first start since his magnificent, eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance last Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Morse RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Moore LF

8. Flores C

9. Jackson RHP

ELIAS SAYS…

Adam LaRoche clubbed his 25th home run of the season yesterday, a solo shot off Jeff Samardzija. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, LaRoche is one of four current MLB players who have had 25-homer seasons for four different MLB teams. Also hit 32 for the 2006 Braves, 25 for the ‘08 Pirates and 25 for the ‘10 Diamondbacks. The other players on that list are Adrian Beltre (Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers), Alfonso Soriano (Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Cubs) and Jim Thome (Indians, Phillies, White Sox and Twins).

THIRTYSOMETHING

By closing out Monday’s 2-1 win, Tyler Clippard became the third National to reach the 30-save plateau, joining Chad Cordero (47 in 2005, 37 in ‘07) and Drew Storen (43 in ‘11). Clippard also became just the third pitcher ever to record 30 saves and 10 holds in a single season. Clippard’s 30-save, 10-hold predecessors were Kerry Ligtenberg (30 saves/11 holds for Atlanta in ‘98) and Ugueth Urbina (32 saves/11 holds for Texas and Florida in ‘03)

MIDDLE MEN

Five games into this 11-game homestand, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa are a combined 16-for-38 (.421). Desmond (8-for-20) has hit safely in five of his last six games, all of which were multi-hit efforts. His RBI-single propelled the Nationals to the victory on Sunday afternoon. Espinosa (8-for-18) has hit safely in five straight and has notched six hits in his last nine at-bats.

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What to Watch For: 9/3

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Chicago Cubs (51-82) vs. Washington Nationals (81-52)

RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.03) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (8-6, 3.32)

After taking three of four from the Cardinals to open the homestand, the Nationals host the Chicago Cubs for a four-game set beginning this afternoon in D.C.  Washington hands the ball to Ross Detwiler in hopes for a better showing against Jeff Samardzija, who handed the club its first loss of the season back in April.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

WELCOME TO D.C.

The Nationals today selected right-handed pitcher Christian Garcia and left-handed pitcher Zach Duke from Triple-A Syracuse. Additionally, the Nationals transferred right-handed pitcher Henry Rodriguez to the 60-Day Disabled List. Garcia converted all 21 save opportunities with a 2-1 mark and 0.86 ERA in 45 relief appearances this season with Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. In 27 appearances with the Chiefs, Garcia went 1-1 with 14 saves, a 0.56 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched. The 27-year-old Garcia went 22-20 with 22 saves and a 3.22 ERA in 124 games/56 starts during seven seasons in the minor leagues, posting 10.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (414 K/369.0 IP) during that stretch.

Duke went 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 26 starts this season with Syracuse. His 15 wins lead all International League pitchers and matched the highest single-season win total by a Nationals farmhand (Brad Peacock, 15 wins for Syracuse in 2011). The 29-year-old went 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA over his final six starts with the Chiefs, posting 29 strikeouts and just five walks in 41.2 innings pitched. In seven big-league seasons, Duke is 48-74 with a 4.56 ERA in 181 games/168 starts with Pittsburgh (2005-10) and Arizona (2011). In 2009, he won a career-high 11 games and represented the Pirates at the All-Star Game in St. Louis.

GOOD WOOD

While tallying a 4-1 record the last five games, Washington has averaged 7.8 runs per contest. In the same five-game span, the Nationals are hitting .339 (62-for-183) with five doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 13 walks. Those five-game numbers include a .429 (18-for-42) mark with RISP.

SERIES NOTES

The Nationals are 23-25 in eight seasons against the Cubs. The Cubs have hit 11 more home runs (50-39) than the Nationals in the series. However, the Nationals are 11-7 in one-run games against CHI, including a 6-3 mark at in D.C. Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano’s magical 2006 season with the Nationals included a franchise-record 46 home runs. Davey Johnson hit .306 (15-for-49) for the Cubs in 24 games in 1978 and he played his last game in a big league uniform at Wrigley Field on September 28 of that year vs. the Mets.

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It’s The Little Things That Kill

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Sports are full of “firsts” and “lasts,” the types of facts and figures that allow us to place events in appropriate historical context. One of the most noted of these facts in baseball is that the Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. What’s often forgotten is that the Cubs have also not won a pennant since 1945, a stretch of 67 years.

In that spirit, let’s go ahead and get the historical facts surrounding where the Washington Nationals stand today out of the way. The club will enter play this 27th of July, 2012 with a 59-39 record, matching the New York Yankees for the best record in the game. This marks the first time the Nationals have stood 20 games above the break-even point since their return to Washington in 2005. It is also the first time a Washington-based Major League Baseball team has been in such a position since the 1945 Senators finished their campaign at 87-67, the same year as that last Cubs pennant.

Steve Lombardozzi is now 4-for-5 with a double, triple and 8 RBI with the bases loaded in his young career.

In fact, at 59 wins the Nationals have already matched their season total from both 2008 and 2009, with 64 games still left to play.

And while all that is notable, games are still won day-to-day, moment-to-moment. It is the little things that continue to have a big impact for the Nationals. Take Thursday night’s game against the Brewers, for example. There was one very loud moment, which you probably remember, and a much quieter one that you may have missed, which turned the game.

The Nationals scored their first run on an Adam LaRoche solo shot, his third home run in as many games, coming on Yovani Gallardo’s first pitch of the second inning. That feat alone was impressive enough, but the fact that it came in lock step with MASN’s highlight package made it even more incredible. F.P. Santangelo had just finished detailing LaRoche’s previous blast as he stepped to the plate, describing the opposing pitcher’s location mistake as a “fastball right down the middle for a home run…” and crack. The ball sailed over the right-center field wall, LaRoche trotted around the bases, and Santangelo continued. “You are looking live, this is not the highlight package that we just showed.”

But it was when Roger Bernadina drew a two-out walk that the Nationals sprung at the opportunity to do some real damage. With the runner at first, the Milwaukee defense played batter Jesus Flores to pull the ball, moving the shortstop into the hole, and pulling the second baseman farther up the middle, assuming coverage of the base on a possible steal. Davey Johnson put on the hit-and-run, drawing the second baseman to the bag and opening up the right side of the infield for Flores, who swatted what would normally be a routine ground ball through the vacated infield dirt, Bernadina racing around to third on the single.

Following the play, Bob Carpenter and Santangelo remarked that Flores had already done his job in the inning. No matter the result, by reaching, Flores had gotten the pitcher to the plate, meaning that at the very least, leadoff man Steve Lombardozzi would lead off the third inning. But Gallardo was flustered by the turn of events, falling behind fellow pitcher Edwin Jackson at the plate 3-0 before walking him to load the bases. Lombardozzi then yanked a clutch, two-out triple inside of first base and down into the right-field corner, and the Brewers never responded.

Edwin Jackson continued to impress, both on the mound and on the basepaths.

Meanwhile, LaRoche’s bizarre kinship with his former teammate Jackson – with whom he also played in Arizona – continued, as he hit the seventh of his team-leading 19 home runs in a game that Jackson started. And Jackson continued the trend of superb starting pitching of late. In the last turn of the rotation, Nationals starters have allowed just three runs in 34.0 innings pitched, good for a 0.79 ERA.

For their troubles, the Brewers get lefty Ross Detwiler tonight, who is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA this month. On Saturday, they will face Jordan Zimmermann, who will make his homecoming start in his native state of Wisconsin and currently sits at an otherworldly 3-0, 0.87 through his first four starts in July.

The Nationals, meanwhile, are looking at uncharted waters, a chance to not only push more than 20 games above .500 for the first time ever, but also to notch their seventh straight Curly W, which would mark the longest winning streak of the season. The Nationals have not won that many consecutive games since taking eight straight from June 10-18 of last year.

All of that talk can wait, though. For now the Nats will focus on getting one more baserunner on offense, one more out on defense, doing what they have done all year long. The best part? You can watch it all again tonight.

One for the Ages

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Baseball is a funny game. It has a way of testing its most patient and passionate of fans, yet rewarding them in the end. There is no doubt that Boston’s 2004 World Series title was that much sweeter for Red Sox fans who waited 86 years for it to finally happen, the same way Chicago Cubs fans will finally revel in glory when their curse is broken (someday…maybe).

Bryce Harper rewarded the fans Monday night with his first Major League home run.

Fans flocked to Los Angeles, then to Washington, then to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, all in hopes of watching baseball’s youngest star, Bryce Harper, launch his first home run. They all came away without such a memory. They saw him live up to expectations by crashing into walls, firing opposite field missiles for doubles, even stealing home. But they never got that ultimate payoff.

No, that honor was reserved for the hearty souls who made their way to Nationals Park Monday night in the wake of dismal weather forecasts, who remained in their seats through the light rain into the third inning, when suddenly Harper jumped on a slider that just didn’t slide enough, driving it on a line to the deepest park of the park in dead center field. The hard-hit ball landed softly with a thud on the grass below the batter’s eye, and there it was. Harper hustled around the bases, took his curtain call, as demanded by the fan base that had waited for this moment.

It may not have been the most dramatic blast anyone’s ever seen. But it came in a game the Nats would go on to win, one that would put them back in sole possession of first place in the NL East. That alone made the dinger crucial beyond its obvious historical relevance. For those who love the compelling storylines, though, do not despair. If we’ve learned anything from Harper’s first few weeks in the Major Leagues, it’s that he will provide plenty of exciting moments in the months and years to come.

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.

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