Washington’s Nationals entered Saturday night’s game in Citizens Bank Park leading all major league teams in runs scored (183), run differential (+50), hits (299), doubles (65), AVG (.290), OBP (.366), and SLG (.495).
The Nationals’ 20 wins on the season were the most in the majors (tied with Houston’s Astros) and their 20-9 record was the best mark through 29 games in both Nats’ team history (2005-present) and franchise history (Washington/Montreal).
With their 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals improved to 21-9 overall on the season and maintained their 6.5-game lead in the NL East.
So, looking back on the first 30 games, the injury issues, bullpen problems and what they have accomplished so far, manager Dusty Baker was asked, how does he assess the start of the 2017 campaign?
“I look at the records and stats and everything, but we’ve just got to keep grinding,” Baker told reporters after the game.
“This is not time to sit back and see what you’ve done, you’ve got to think about — after you’ve done it, then you try to improve on it and do it. I think about the games that got away that we should have won.
“That’s the way I look at it, and when things are going good, you get greedy. So, right now we want to win every game. You know it’s not going to happen, but these guys got a great attitude, they play hard every day, that’s all I ask them and they play smart on most days.”
Phillies’ starter Vince Velasquez held the Nats off the board through three innings as the home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second of three in CBP, but a one-out double by Daniel Murphy and two-run blast by Ryan Zimmerman put the Nationals up, 2-1 after four.
Anthony Rendon’s three-run home run off Velasquez in the sixth broke the game wide open after Zimmerman drove in a run with an RBI double that sailed over right fielder Michael Saunders’ head when he lost it in the lights.
“Velasquez, he has some good stuff,” Baker said, “but we jumped him kind of early there, rather quickly, and especially in that one inning.
“That’s the kind of offense we have, and if one guy doesn’t get you there’s a chance that another guy will, or all of them, so yeah, I love my offense.”
Washington’s win was their fourth straight overall, and their seventh in the last ten.