May 24, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT
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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 »
NL EAST STANDINGS
MON: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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