May 24, 2012, 3:15 PM EST
US Presswire photo
Danny Espinosa has struggled all season, but Ian Desmond has come up big.
Look up and down the Nationals' team stats page — ignoring their 26-18 record — and try to come away convinced this is a first-place club. It's not easy.
Yes, the starting rotation continues to excel, with a 2.71 ERA and ridiculously good 3.68-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But that pitching dominance has overshadowed some other obvious flaws on this roster.
The starting second baseman has an embarrassingly low .649 OPS, and the starting center fielder isn't much better at .673. Yet the numbers at those positions look All-Star worthy when compared to the stats Nationals left fielders have collectively put up this season: a .153 batting average, .240 on-base percentage and .245 slugging percentage that adds up to a .485 OPS.
Meanwhile, the Face of the Franchise and star third baseman has only eight extra-base hits while hitting .167 with runners in scoring position. The shortstop has a .299 on-base percentage. And the new startingRead more »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Wilson, Blevins among Nationals trade targets
- Rizzo: Nats aren't trading Clippard, Storen, Span
- 6 weeks into MLB offseason and free agents are going fast
- Williams on Harper, Strasburg and more
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo on lefty reliever market (VIDEO)
- Nationals' asking price high on Storen, Clippard
- Phillies willing to trade Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee
- Nats expect McLouth to get significant playing time
- Nats believe Ramos can catch 125 games
- Nationals in no rush to acquire left-hander