Monday, September 30, 2013

The 2013 Nats

Many believe this season was disappointing for the Nats. But the Nats finished ten games over .500. Only ten teams make the playoffs, including the bizarre play-in game in each league. The problem for the Nats this season was inconsistent hitting. It wasn't until August that the Nats' bats woke up. The pitching was great all season long.

Stephen Strasburg was victimized by bad luck. His record was 8-9, but his ERA was 3.00, the best of any Nat who started ten or more games. He also led the starters in WHIP. Jordan Zimmermann went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA. Gio Gonzalez didn't have as good of a year as 2012, but with a 11-8 record and a 3.36 ERA.

After the big three, the Nats didn't have a consistent starter. Dan Haren shook off a bad start and was very effective in spurts, but his final numbers were less than stellar at 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA. Ross Detwiler, who pitched masterfully int he playoffs last season, struggled. He was 2-7 with 4.04 ERA in 13 starts. Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark, and Ross Ohlendorf were the other notable starters. Jordan's ERA was an impressive 3.66 nine starts when he was shut down. Roark showed he knows how to pitch. Vulturing a few wins when he was first called up as a reliever. He had only one bad game in posting a 7-1 record and a 1.51 record.

The bullpen was mostly strong, but was not as good as lack year. The Nats missed left-hander Sean Burnett. Washington hoped Rafael Soriano would add depth to the pen. He had 43 saves and 3.11 ERA. But he blew a couple of important games in August by allowing three-run homers. Tyler Clippard was good, but not as dominant as last season. He was 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA. Crag Stammen was effective, which was needed because Drew Storen had some trouble coming back from his heartbreaking loss in Game 5 in 2012.

Offensively, Jayson Werth led the way with .318 average and .931 OPS. Injured for much of the first half, he played in only 129 games. He nailed 25 homers and 82 RBIs. Ryan Zimmerman had his usual year, although he had fewer RBIs than normal with only 79. He went on a power surge out of the number 2 spot int he order in August and finished with 26. All Star Bryce Harper didn't put up eye popping numbers, but he cleared the 20 homer mark and his OPS was .854. Ian Desmond cooled off late, but had another 20-20 year.

New acquisition Denard Span struggled to hit early, but became more aggressive late. A 29-game hitting streak helped raise his average to .279. Wilson Ramos was given a vote of confidence when Kurt Suzuki was traded. Ramos, who is great at calling a game, in 78 games, he hit 16 homer with 59 RBIs. He hit .272, impressive for a catcher. Danny Espinosa was ineffective and sent down tot he minors where he struggled. In his place, rookie Anthony Rendon thrives for much fo the season, but he didn't hit as well later int he season. Steve Lombardozzi, who played in more games but had fewer at bats than Rendon. had the opposite season.

Adam LaRoche struggled hitting at first, but was his usual strong defensive first baseman. He likely won't win a second Gold Glove award, but Span, a centerfielder, should. He rarely took a false step and read balls off the bat excellently. he also added a few amazing catches.

While the starting hitters were inconsistent, but the bench was subpar.Chad Tracy, Tyler Moore, and Scott Hairston barely cracked the Mendoza line. Roger Bernadina didn't and he was shipped to Philadelphia.

The Nats got hot in mid August and made a valiant run at the second Wild Card. But with a seven days to go int he season, a loss to St. Louis sealed their fate. Still, the Nats had only their second winning season in team history. Outgoing manager Davey Johnson was at the helm for both of them.

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