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Where Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals are crushing the rest of the majors

Where Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals are crushing the rest of the majors

If you somehow haven’t heard, the Washington Nationals’ bats are on fire, and their stellar offensive performances have pushed them to the top with the best record in the majors after the first month of baseball at 17-8. And Ryan Zimmerman is playing like the best batter in the game.

Since Opening Day on April 3, the team has won all six of their games with double digit runs — most recently Sunday’s 23-5 shredding of the New York Mets when they set a franchise scoring record — and they are 2-1 when their opponents are in two digits.

Even in the last week — despite going 4-3 in series against the Colorado Rockies on the road and the Mets at home — the Nats outscored their opponents by 31 runs. Sure, giving up 46 runs isn’t exactly a small number, but scoring 77 in seven games is pretty amazing.

So after a great opening month of the season, here’s a look at how individual players are comparing with the rest of the National League and the majors overall. It’s basically the Ryan Zimmerman Show.

1. RBI

Multiple Nats have a shockingly high number of runs batted in this season, and that’s setting aside Anthony Rendon’s 10 in Sunday’s blowout against the Mets.

Zimmerman leads both leagues with 29 going into Monday night's games, while Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper are tied for second with 26. That’s tied for second in the majors because Twins’ Miguel Sano leads the American League with 25 RBI. That’s pretty great for the heart of the lineup.

2. Batting average

Not surprising given his RBI numbers, but Zimmerman, again, leads both leagues with his .420 batting average, and actually, as a whole the NL is doing quite a bit better than the AL.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner is batting .404, while Harper is at .391. Yet again, the NL’s top three leaders in this category are hitting better than those at the top of the AL — this time, the White Sox’s Avisail Gargia — who’s hitting .368 — and the Angels’ Mike Trout at .364. Not too shabby for the Nats.

3. Home runs

Yet again, Zimmerman leads the majors in this stat too, only here he’s tied with the Brewers’ Eric Thames with 11 on the season. Harper and the Braces’ Freddie Freeman are also tied for third with 9.

Although the point of all this is to showcase how exceptionally well many of the Nats are playing, it’s worth noting that Zimmerman also leads the majors in hits (37), slugging (.886) and with an outrageously high OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging: 1.345).

So it’s not that Zimmerman and the Nats are frequently hitting grand slams to pad their stats — although those are happening every once in a while too — but they’re coming together early in the season to dominate fairly consistently. 

Their next game is Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch, kicking off a three-game, home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

MORE NATS: Why Adam Eaton is out for the rest of the season

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Patrick Corbin keeps throwing quality starts

Washington Nationals Roundup: Patrick Corbin keeps throwing quality starts

The Washington Nationals dropped their first game in Colorado, but pulled out a 6-3 win Tuesday night behind Patrick Corbin and Victor Robles.

Here's the latest Nats and Rockies news. 

Player Notes: 

NATIONALS:

Anthony Rendon (elbow) remained out of the Nats lineup Tuesday after getting hit by a pitch over the weekend in Miami. While it was the third-straight game he's missed, he could be available to pinch-hit soon. 

Shortstop Trea Turner has not yet been cleared to throw or hit. Turner has been taking grounders and participating in other baseball activities after fracturing his finger April 2. He is two and a half weeks into his projected 4-6 week rehabilitation. 

Max Scherzer is on track to make his scheduled start Friday against the Padres. The starting pitcher tweaked his left intercostal after dodging a foul ball in Sunday's game. 

Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin tossed another quality start, going six innings and allowing two earned runs. He struck out six and walked just one.

Outfielder Victor Robles had a nice day in his third straight game hitting out of the second spot in the order, going 2-for-5 and driving in three runs early. 

ROCKIES:

Infielder Ryan McMahon was the only Rockie to muster multiple hits Tuesday night, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. 

Outfielder Raimel Tapia hit a home run in his second straight at-bat, driving in two runs in the second inning to give the Rockies and early lead.

Jeff Hoffman scuffled through five innings, allowing four runs. He gave up six hits, though he also struck out six while walking none.

Injuries:

3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow hit by pitch, sidelined

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-day IL

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-day IL

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-day IL

Coming Up:

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Friday, 4/26: Padres @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park 

Saturday, 4/27: Padres @ Nationals, 4:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park 

Source: Rotoworld

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Nationals bullpen -- yes, them -- comes through for a night

Nationals bullpen -- yes, them -- comes through for a night

The Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies, 6-3, Tuesday night to move up to 11-11. Here are five observations from the game…

1. Tuesday’s win was a painful process, but not for the normal reasons.

Juan Soto fouled a 3-2 pitch off his right ankle in the top of the ninth. Eventually, he rose after writing in pain to walk with the bases loaded. Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch. That drove in another run. Washington led, 6-3. Sean Doolittle was forced to the plate after entering the game in the eighth inning. He struck out in his third career at-bat.

The padding was enough for Doolittle, who made his 11th appearance of the season 22 games into it. The evening provided his third outing of an inning-plus already. At the start of his career, Doolittle was often used for more than an inning per outing. After shoulder trouble, that tendency declined greatly until this season.

He finished a quality day for the bullpen: three scoreless innings and limited trouble. Patrick Corbin was solid over six innings, if not the spectacular level of his previous two outings.

The Nationals, you guessed it, are back to even with one road game remaining on this stretch.

2. Victor Robles the wrecking ball is here for your viewing pleasure.

Atop the left-center field wall and falling back to Earth with no support. Crashing into the wall in another instance. Tuesday, roaring into the third base bag so hard the front leg is jammed, sending Robles flipping over the bag and desperate to dive back in when stealing it. He stole second base with a more traditional approach two innings later.

What Robles is: explosive, and a bit reckless. What he’s not: boring.

His three-run, third-inning double vaulted Washington back in front. The steal of third came after Juan Soto failed to move Robles over, so he just made it there himself with one out.

Robles’ gangbusters approach reminds of a young Bryce Harper. Often making contact with immovable objects to his possible detriment is fun to watch. Though it might not be the best thing for him or the Nationals.

3. Coors Field has never been Corbin’s friend. Coming into Tuesday, the Rockies had a .938 OPS against Corbin at their home park in a strong sample size of 247 plate appearances. It’s a bad place for any pitcher. Corbin sees his stuff flatten in the thin air.

Tuesday, Corbin survived more than he controlled the game. A potent start gave way to a two-run homer in the second inning, another run in the fifth, and an exit after the sixth. The run in the fifth was unearned, though it also came when Corbin was trying to wriggle out of trouble he created.

Corbin threw 103 pitches. None more important than the ones in the sixth, which he turned into a 1-2-3 inning, allowing Davey Martinez to set up his bullpen distribution how he would prefer.

4. Martinez told reporters earlier in the day he expected to use Joe Ross in a more high-leverage relief situation going forward. He did that Tuesday, though Ross threw just three pitches.

Ross started the seventh inning. He recorded an out, then was removed for left-handed specialist Tony Sipp after a left-handed pinch-hitter -- David Dahl -- was announced. Left-handed Charlie Blackmon was next. Sipp took care of both, doing his matchup job.

Wander Suero was next. He worked around a leadoff double by getting Nolan Arenado to ground out and Mark Reynolds to strike out.

Martinez turned to Doolittle after that.

The quibble here is Ross for one out. Suero -- or even Kyle Barraclough -- could have appeared for one batter a night after they both threw an inning. That puts Ross, appearing to be an effective reliever thus far, in a spot to throw more than three pitches.

Everything Martinez did Tuesday worked. He matched up multiple times. The choices held a one-run lead going into the ninth, which is what they have been desperate to do all season. But Ross’ usage since he went to the bullpen has been odd, whether it’s not appearing for a long time or being used for a three-pitch outing.

5. Raimel Tapia is a part-time outfielder with speed. Until he plays the Nationals.

Tapia hit a pinch-hit homer Monday night. He hit a two-run homer Tuesday night in his first at-bat against Corbin.

How big of outliers were those? Tapia had four career homers in 271 at-bats coming into the game. He rarely faces left-handed pitchers because, as a left-handed hitter, he has a .641 career OPS against them. Strange doings from Tapia the last two nights.

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