After Washington’s offense collected 12 hits and scored four runs in last night’s 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals led all major league teams in runs scored (183), run differential (+50), total hits (299), doubles (65), batting average (.290), on-base percentage (.366), and slugging percentage (.495), and they were second in home runs (46) and walks (120).
The Nationals’ 20-9 record after the win was the best among all MLB teams, and the best record after 29 games in franchise history (2005-present), tied for the best record in D.C. baseball history with the 1925, 1930, and 1932 Washington Senators.
Still, Dusty Baker told reporters after the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, there is room for improvement.
Though they earned their 20th victory and opened up a 6.5-game lead in the NL East with last night’s win, Baker noted that there were a number of missed opportunities, and it ended up being a little closer than he hoped.
The Nationals got just one run out of a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the first, stranded two runners in the third (though that was mostly a result of Odubel Herrera making a diving catch to rob Chris Heisey on a line drive to center that likely would’ve driven in two runs).
A single, double and intentional walk loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but Michael A. Taylor K’d swinging and Heisey flew out to right field, where Michael Saunders’ sliding catch ended the threat.
Washington went 2 for 8 overall with runners in scoring position and 11 left on base, and a couple of runs would have made Baker more comfortable in Citizens Bank.
“This place here, you never really feel comfortable here,” he said.
“Lost some tough games here, but we had a chance to add on a bunch of runs a bunch of times, so we’ve just got to get better at — we had the opportunities, I think we had bases loaded a couple times, so we’ve got to get better at picking these runners up make it easier on the bullpen and make it easier on me.”
The Nationals were 3 for 14 with 12 left on base in the series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks in D.C. on Thursday too.
“That was a little tighter game than we had hoped,” Baker said then, “because we left a lot of men on base. A lot of men on base.”
He was asked, after the win over the Phillies last night, for his thoughts on the offense overall at this point.
“So-so,” Baker told reporters. “Like I said, we left a lot of runners on base.
“We were picking them up last week and this week we haven’t picked them up. Four or five times this week we had bases loaded and nothing to show for it.”
The Nats do have seven wins in their last ten games to show for it, and a three-game winning streak after last night, and that 6.5-game lead in the NL East, but you can’t blame Baker for worrying about the details as well.