So it was with great delight that I sat with my 6-year-old last night and happened to watch the one half-inning in which the Nats homered thrice — Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and then Anthony Rendon. They ended up winning 10-1, thanks in part to Joe Ross going eight innings and minimizing the bullpen’s chance of blowing a nine-run lead.
All told, through 44 games, or just over one quarter of the season, the Nats are scoring 5.80 runs per game, down from 6.8 in April. That’s still a lot. Here’s how it compares to each season since they came to D.C.:
Up and to the right! (I don’t know why I included Nick Johnson and Michael Morse. Probably because I love them, and because there’s a place in my heart for the bad Nats of 2005-11, though I should’ve included Dmitri Young and Adam Dunn, too.)
The team’s scoring is up 23% over last year and 33% over the past five years, a period of time in which the Nats were very good. That’s a significant amount, you see, because there isn’t all that much scoring in baseball.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “No shit, runs are up across the league.” To which I’d say, that’s right, but the Nats are No. 1, and they’ve never finished higher than eighth before.
A lot could happen the rest of the way. I don’t think they keep scoring almost six runs per game. Harper and Ryan Zimmerman can’t hit like Babe Ruth all summer. Well, maybe Bryce can.
But they’re doing this with Trea Turner hitting far below expectations and no one else really blowing it out of the water. Daniel Murphy, Werth, Rendon and Matt Wieters are each better than you’d expect so far, but it’s nothing crazy compared to previous performance.
Even without leadoff-hitting sparkplug Adam Eaton, if this year’s Bryce is 2015 MVP Bryce and Turner takes off … well, you could see them staying lifted.
Bonus: I podded about this, too. Listen.