The Nats offense hasn’t exactly been great this year. Better words to describe it might be frustrating, inconsistent, terrible… They are ranked among the worst in the NL in most major categories – OBP (14th), SLG (11th), and OPS (13th) – but none are more important than Runs per game (14th).
This problem was supposed to end with the return of a healthy lineup. In the last 5 weeks, they’ve replaced 4 players, hitting well below replacement level, with guys all hitting much better than league average (OPS+ over 100) in Werth (127), Harper (143), Rendon (123) and Ramos (145). Remember, any OPS+ above 120 or 125 is very good.
And yet, they got stifled by John Lannan, who has a 4.23 ERA this year, except its 5.40 when he’s NOT facing the Nats. They couldn’t do much against fake tough Cole Hamels, either, despite his 4.19 ERA. The game vs. Cliff Lee, a legit ace this season, looked to be understandably more of the same, until they managed the improbable 4 HRs in 2 innings.
So this is the offense, right? Frustrating, inconsistent… bad. It never really got better, did it? Oh you better believe it did.
Because, as Paul said:
I’ve got to admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit it’s getting better
It’s getting better
Despite a couple of frustrating games, this team is hitting significantly better in the last month than they have all year. Immediately after Rendon and Werth returned to the lineup, they played one game followed by 2 consecutive rainouts. June 8th, the team came back different. Since that date, they’ve average 4.65 runs per game.
That isn’t enough to move the needle on their whole season, because the season was so bad before that. But 4.65 runs per game over a whole season would rank them 2nd in the NL. And we’re no longer talking about a tiny sample, it’s now 31 out of the 91 games played.
Sure, there are still come consistency issues, but it aint as bad as you might think. Before June 8th, they were shutout in 7 games, 12% of the 59 games. Since then, it’s happen twice in 32 games, or 6% of the time. Before June 8th, they only scored 1 run in 17% of games, since it’s only been 13%. And before June 8th, they’ve score 2 runs in 19% of games, since then it’s been 16%.
Summing that all up, prior to the June 8th demarcation line, they scored less than 3 runs in 47.5% of games. Since then they’ve only done it in 34.4% of games.
In other words, with the lineup back in place, they actually can score runs. Will there still be games where they look bad and don’t score, even against middling starting pitching? Of course, every team deals with that.
But they are scoring runs, scoring them in bunches in times, and since over a month ago, they’ve actually been great offensively. You can be dejected about not living up to potential, and get sick of this offense… but I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better.
It’s getting better all the time.