Surprising Nationals in 2nd Place in NL East
The surprising Nationals are only a game and a half out of first place in the NL East behind the Phillies.
On this date in 2009 the Nationals were 12-21 and in the NL East cellar and six games out of first place. Their .364 winning percentage was the worst in the majors.
This season 19 teams have a worse record than the Nationals. The most amazing stat for the Nationals this season is that only the Pirates and Astros have scored fewer runs in the NL than the 144 runs scored by the Nationals.
The Nationals are in the middle of the pack in most of the offensive stats but they have the second best hitter in the majors among batters with at least 90 at bats with Ivan Rodriguez hitting .383.
Adam Dunn has seven home runs which leads the Nationals and is only four behind the league leader Andre Ethier with 11.
Second year rookie shortstop Ian Desmond is hitting .250 but is fourth on the team in runs batted in with 15. Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman at third base and second base are both hitting over .300.
Josh Willingham and Nyjer Morgan are holding down left field and center field. Roger Bernadina who had been struggling may have a chance to win the right field job if he hits like he did yesterday hitting the game winning home run off of Francisco Rodriguez in the Nationals 6-4 win over the Mets.
Reliever Tyler Clippard 7-1 and starter Livan Hernandez 4-1 lead the Nationals pitching staff capturing 11 of the 19 wins by the Nationals.
The Nationals have Jason Marquis and John Lannan on the disabled list making it even more amazing they are contending for the NL East title.
Matt Capps is a huge part of their success converting 14 of 14 saves this season.
The Nationals pitching staff is 28th in the majors in strikeouts with 204.
However there is a pitcher named Stephen Strasburg who is showing he is ready to be called up pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs.
He was recently promoted to the Chiefs and after two starts he has not allowed a run in 12 innings and has given up only one hit while striking out 13 and walking two. He has an amazing WHIP of 0.25.
It will be surprising if he is with the Chiefs much longer especially with Jason Marquis facing surgery.
His combined record in the minors this season is 5-1 with a 1.06 ERA with 27 strikeouts and six walks allowed in 22 innings. Opposing batters have hit .121 against him and has struck out 40 in 34 innings.
Strasburg may be the missing ingredient for the Nationals run at the NL East title so the Nationals front office can’t wait too long before calling him up since he has pitched even better at the AAA level than the AA level.
He may have made their decision a little easier after pitching six no-hit innings yesterday for the Chiefs.
This could be a very interesting team to watch if Strasburg is called up and should improve attendance whenever he pitches whether at home or on the road.