Monday, May 7, 2012

Where's The Run Support?

Let's try to put Jayson Werth and the Cole Hamels/Bryce Harper saga aside for a minute and take a look at a real problem for the Washington Nationals: they have no run support.

The Nationals are probably one of the weirdest teams in the MLB. Their in first place in their division and yet near the bottom in the MLB when it comes to offense.

Sure, the Nats can get away with a few low scoring games because of their sensational pitching rotation and quality bullpen, but, eventually that all runs out.

The Nationals rank 27th in runs scored (96), 24th in batting average (.238), and 26th in slugging percentage (.353). So how have they been so darn successful?

It's simple, really, the Nationals are getting on base. They are 16th in the MLB in on base percentage with .313. Before Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche were sidelined (LaRoche to return today), there were four players in the lineup with an OBP better than .350.

Including Werth and LaRoche, four Nationals batters have drawn more than 10 walks this season and Bryce has already drawn five in eight games.

Simply put, these guys have been playing money-ball.

But, eventually the money is going to run out...right?

The Nats have the best starting rotation in the MLB and one of the best bullpens in the majors. Together, they average an ERA, rounded up, of about 2. Thats incredible.

However, like we saw against the Dodgers, they will give up more than two runs in a game occasionally. In fact, four times this season they have given up over five runs. When that happens, the bats have to be able to pick up the slack.

However, the bats have not been there this year to support the starting pitcher when he struggles. Just seven times this season have the Nats scored more than five runs in a game. However, ten times this season the Nats have scored two runs or fewer in a game.

While they have been able to rely on the starting pitcher for much of the beginning of the season, eventually the arms will tire and five-plus runs will be given up multiple games in a row.

I know talking about playoff chances is fun, but, if the Nationals can't figure out a way to put 4-5 runs on the board on regular basis, that playoff talk might become just that...talk.


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