Of all the current Nationals who have faced Clayton Kershaw in their careers, guess who has recorded the highest batting average against the Dodgers left-hander?
If you went with Craig Stammen, you are either a genius or your sarcastic sense of humor really backfired this time.
Not surprisingly, most of the Nats who have faced Kershaw have struggled against him, but Stammen has actually gone 2-for-3 with a double in his career against the 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner.
Kershaw is off to a hot start to 2012, posting a 1.61 ERA through four starts, with 22 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. Tonight, he’ll face a Nats lineup which is having issues scoring runs in bunches.
Against Kershaw, Xavier Nady is 1-for-14 (with the one hit being a home run), Mark DeRosa is 1-for-11 and Adam LaRoche is 1-for-9. Two Nats have had moderate success facing the Dodgers ace: Ian Desmond has two hits, including a triple, in six at-bats off the lefty, while Jayson Werth is 4-for-16 with two walks.
Nady and DeRosa haven’t just had issues hitting off Kershaw in their careers; they’ve also had problems hitting off just about anyone so far this season.
The two men are a combined 10-for-80 this year, with one total home run and three RBIs. Roger Bernadina (.171/.277/.224) hasn’t been much better.
In general, whoever has been manning left field for the Nationals this season has barely provided any offense. Nats left fielders are hitting a paltry .097 with a .207 on-base percentage and .125 slugging percentage.
Still not wowed by how low that stat line is? Compare it to the hitting numbers put up by the Nationals’ pitchers.
Nats hurlers have nearly as many hits this season (six) as whoever has been in left field (seven) despite seeing less than half the number of at-bats. Washington’s pitchers are batting .171 and have an OPS of .343. That’s 11 points higher than the OPS recorded by Davey Johnson’s left fielders.
It’s been rough having Michael Morse out of the lineup, and missing out on his .303 average, 31 home runs and 95 RBIs from a year ago. But when the guys replacing Morse in left field have been so inadequate, it makes his absence hurt that much more.