Nationals’ start the best since return to D.C.

The Nationals are off to their best start since their arrival in D.C. in 2005. To put the start in perspective, look back at the first 27 games of each season.

After 27 games in 2012, the Nationals are 18-9. And before that?

* In 2011, they were 13-14.
* In 2010, they were 14-13.
* In 2009, they were 9-18.
* In 2008, they were 10-17.
* In 2007, they were 9-18.
* In 2006, they were 9-18.
* In 2005, they were 14-13.

So in the eight seasons the Nationals have been in D.C., they have been above the .500 mark after 27 games only three times: 2005, 2010 and 2012.

In four of those eight seasons, through 27 games, the Nationals were effectively already out of the race: 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

A closer look at the National League standings show there are only five teams above .500 after 27 games, with the Nationals holding the best record alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers, the only teams with fewer than 10 losses.

The Nationals are one of only three teams in the senior circuit to post a .600 or better record. The Nationals are 11-3 at home, best record in the NL (the Dodgers are 10-2).

The Nationals have allowed only 73 runs, far and away the top defense in the major leagues (next closest are the Cardinals, allowing 89 runs). Opponents are averaging 2.7 runs per game against the Nationals.

The Nationals have won eight series this season, with only one series loss (the sweep by the Dodgers). Dating to the end of 2011, the Nationals have won 11 of their last 12 series.

Since the end of last season, the Nationals’ record is 34-14.

More amazingly, the Nationals’ offense has scored seven runs only three times: against the Cubs, Padres and Phillies.

The Nationals have scored three or fewer runs 16 of their 27 games. Their record is stunning in those games, going 9-7 when scoring three runs or less.

They are also an impressive 4-2 in extra innings.

They have 18 wins with an offense that, up until Saturday’s three-homer outburst, had produced 15 home runs. The 18 homers ranks 25th out of 30 major league teams. The National League average is 23 homers so far this season.

That’s 18 wins without Michael Morse, Drew Storen and, more recently, without Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Brad Lidge.

It is something to certainly note, a good start and a nice beginning to 2012. Let’s see if they can sustain it. With pitching like this (major league best 2.36 ERA and a .208 batting average against), odds are in their favor they will.

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