The Washington Nationals' 27th game of 2012 was a 7-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at home in D.C. with Gio Gonzalez on the mound. The win left the Nats' 18-9, nine game over .500 and 1.5 games up in the NL East. Last night's 27th game of the 2013 season was an 8-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on the road in Turner Field. Gio Gonzalez was on the mound again, but it was a short outing, just four innings of work compared to the seven strong he threw that day last May.
The win over the Phillies last year was also the fourth-straight win for Washington coming off one of their two five-game losing streaks last season which were the longest for the team that would eventually end up 98-64, atop the divison. After last night's game, the Nationals are 13-14, 2nd in the division behind Atlanta by 4.5 games and they have lost three-straight overall, seven of their last ten and five-straight against the Braves this season (nine overall vs their divisional rivals).
Their .234 team average is 13th overall in the NL, ahead of only the Mets (.233) and the Marlins (.224). The Nationals' .296 OBP as a team is 13th of 15 in the National League, ahead of only the Cubs (.288) and the Marlins (.286). Their .391 SLG is 6th overall, they're 13th in OPS (.687), ahead of the Cardinals (.677) and Marlins (.593). They're 12th in runs scored with 96. They have a -19 run differential (3rd in the division ahead of the NL-worst Marlins' -44 and Phillies -22; but behind the Braves +31 and Mets +1).
In terms of pitching, the Nationals' starters have the NL's 10th best ERA (3.59), the 11th FIP (3.74) and 9th xFIP (3.86). They're 10th of 15 with 2.63 BB/9, 9th in the NL in K/9 with 7.11. Their 0.90 HR/9 are the fourth lowest in the NL. The Nats' relievers have 5th highest ERA in the NL as a group at 4.25, they're 9th in FIP (3.87) and 7th in xFIP (3.88). They have the 5th highest BB/9 (3.68 BB/9), the 7th highest K/9 (8.39) and 8th highest HR/9 (1.03).
Following last night's loss, manager Davey Johnson was asked to sum up the current state of his squad. "Right now the pitching [has] not been consistent," Johnson told reporters, "A couple guys struggling. Some key guys in the offense not doing things they're capable of doing and it just kind of snowballs."
The Nationals' General Manager, Mike Rizzo, was asked to deliver his own "State of the Union" address for the team this morning when he appeared on the eponymous "Mike Rizzo Show" on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier. They've had a rough stretch, dealt with injuries, and after a month they are a game below .500. Rizzo's assessment? "Well you know, everybody has injuries," Rizzo said, dismissing that as an explanation for their issues, "Every team goes through their rash of injuries, so we're not going to use that as an excuse or an alibi. We've got to play better. We've pitched well in spurts, but we've been inconsistent. We've hit well in spurts, but we've been inconsistent. We've caught the ball well in spurts, but we've been inconsistent.
"So, we need to get better in all of those areas. This is a total team operation here. It's 25 guys, it's the coaching staff, it's the manager, it's the GM. We all have to get better and we all have to do our share. And we haven't played nearly up to our capabilities and we're waiting for the guys to do so and the guys are waiting to do it, we're waiting to do it, and when we do it there [are] going to be teams that pay because we're going to be playing good baseball and win a lot of games."