After last night's 7-5 win over the San Diego Padres, the Washington Nationals, as a team, had a .282/.344/.480 line since June 1st, good for 1st/1st/1st across the line in the National League over that stretch.
So, a reporter asked Nats' skipper Dusty Baker after the Nationals improved to 43-25 on the year with their third straight win, is this how he imagined the offense producing once they heated up?
"This is what I had hoped," Baker said. "What you expect and what you get are two different things, but this is what I had hoped. We knew we could hit the ball out of the ballpark, but we need to piece some runs [together]. We know we're a big-inning team, but we had some solo runs, insurance runs that we really, really needed, you never know when the final couple runs that you're going to score or need to score are going to be the ones that are the winners."
Anthony Rendon brought in the first of the Nationals' seven runs last night with a sac fly in the second, Daniel Murphy hit a two-out, two-run double in the third, and Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run blast in the next at bat, as the Nationals' quick-strike offense jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
Murphy followed with a solo home run in the sixth that made it 6-2 and Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single to center in the seventh to put the Nationals up 7-2 before the Padres threatened late.
Murphy finished the day 2 for 4 with a double (No. 19), home run (No. 12) and two runs scored with a .361/.404/.606 line on the year.
He talked to reporters in Petco Park about what makes the Nationals' lineup so difficult to face.
"It's deep. It's deep and nobody is giving away at bats right now," Murphy said.
"Today in that inning that we got the four [runs], there were two outs -- I'm pretty sure -- when the inning started and [Jayson Werth] has a great at bat, Bryce is swinging it well, fortunately I found the gap and then Zim kind of goes for the killshot right there with the home run. Just up and down the lineup, the at bats are quality and we continue to put traffic on the basepaths and put pressure on the pitcher."
With everyone healthy at the moment [knock on wood] and starting to produce, it makes getting through the Nationals' lineup a difficult task.
"The longer the lineup gets, the tougher it is for the pitcher to kind of come up for air," Murphy said.
So it's like you get done with a batter and he puts a quality at bat on you and whether they're successful or a failure, and then the next guy does the same exact thing. You just do it over and over again and then you can put yourself in some more advantageous situations again with traffic on the basepaths.
"That's what we're trying to get the pitchers in, high-leverage situations. More mistakes happen in high-leverage situations."
Here's the lineup that will try to put pressure on Padres' righty Colin Rea tonight in San Diego: