The view from mile post No. 61 is pretty significant for the Washington Nationals.
Without the jinx police knocking on my keyboard door, here is the rundown of some powerful team statistics as to where the 38-23 Nationals stand heading into Friday’s clash with the equally red-hot New York Yankees at Nationals Park. Both teams arrive with six-game winning streaks, the best in the majors.
DAYDREAM ALERT: (Of course, pennants are not won on June 14, it has happened to the Nationals once before (50-31, 5.5 game lead, July 3, 2005), only to see it fall apart. Ask myriad other teams, I know, blah, blah, blah. Now back to numbers fun.)
As I was saying, at the start of play Thursday (some stats courtesy of ESPN.com):
* The Yankees have won 11 of their last 13 games, while the Nationals step in winners of 14 of their last 20 contests, No. 1 in the NL.
* The Nationals are second only to the Dodgers in wins (40 to 38) in MLB.
* The Nationals’ power ranking is No. 2 as of June 11, behind only the Dodgers, according to ESPN.com.
* Washington has won 14 of its last 19 road games.
* The Nationals’ road record is 20-13, tops in MLB (Braves 20-14, Rangers 20-15).
* The Nationals have allowed only 198 runs, No. 1 in MLB (Pirates, 223; Dodgers 224).
* The Nationals have a five-game lead in the NL East, biggest division lead in all of baseball.
* The Nationals are fourth in one-run victories in baseball with 13 (Pirates 17, Dodgers 16, Giants 14).
* The Nationals are tied for most extra-inning wins in the NL with five (Miami, 5-1). Kudos to the Orioles with nine extra-time wins to lead baseball.
* The Nationals are 14-8 within their division and 12-7 vs. the Central, just 5-6 vs. the West (but have 19 games remaining against western division foes).
Speaking of schedules, it is pretty even the rest of the way for the Nationals (excluding a yet to be rescheduled rainout and interleague games): NL East- Home: 25, Away: 24; NL Central- Home: 12, Away: 11. NL West- Home: 9, Away: 10.
* Manager Davey Johnson is 78-66 since taking over for Jim Riggleman and John McLaren (40-43 in 2011, 38-23 so far in 2012).
* Putting this start in perspective compared to the last two seasons: the Nationals were shutout 28 times in 2010 and 2011 combined. So far through 61 games this season, just one shutout endured.
* The Nationals have trailed by just two games in the standings (April 9) in 2012. In 2011, they were back 28Â½ games on Sept. 10 and 29 games Oct. 2 in 2010.
* After 61 games in 2010 they were 27-34, and in 2011 they were a respectable 30-31. Even that record pales in comparison to this season’s start.
More significantly, the Nationals were NEVER in first place in 2010 or 2011. This season, they have spent 51 days in first place to date.
So, just some candy to enjoy for a few minutes. Now back to work. No Sports Illustrated cover jinx here, numbers and records can change in the bat of an eyelash. Just ask the Miami Marlins who were flying high 10 days ago.
Yes, there are 101 games left to be played in the regular season and Stephen Strasburg will most likely be shut down after 160 innings or so. Plenty of baseball left to be played.
But, goodness gracious, I wouldn’t mind going on this ride 101 more times, would you?