A look into some depressing numbers

Into torturing yourself? Not already feeling enough pain on a Monday morning and want some more?

I've got some numbers that should do the trick.

The Nationals sent their best three starters to the mound in their weekend series with the Dodgers. They got swept anyway.

Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez combined to allow two runs over 13 innings with 17 strikeouts. It didn't matter.

Jordan Zimmermann had a fluky outing, one that was actually the worst of his career. He's certainly allowed an off performance every now and then, but this one didn't really come at a great time.

The Nats have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games and now have a minus-24 run differential this season. The numbers show that they're a mediocre club to this point in the season, and the sample size (98 games) is no longer small enough that players can claim that the performance is an aberration.

"We'll be fine. We're a good team," Jayson Werth said yesterday.

Not so far in 2013, they're not.

The Nationals continue to post a ridiculous winning percentage when they score three or more runs. They're 43-11 (.796) when they get to that three-run mark or above, but are 5-39 (.114) when they score two or fewer runs.

In their last 12 losses, the Nats have scored 18 runs. That just won't cut it.

The Nats had just 47 games where they scored two runs or fewer all of last season. They're already at 44 such games this year, with 64 contests remaining.

Forty-four times the Nats have been unable to score more than twice in a game. That's just a remarkable statement given the potential of this roster.

The Nats now welcome the Pirates into town for four games, four games against a team with the second-best record in the National League.

Dan Haren starts tonight against right-hander Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.19 ERA). Taylor Jordan goes against promising rookie Gerrit Cole (4-3, 3.89 ERA) on Tuesday. Then we get two interesting match-ups, with Strasburg squaring off against Francisco Liriano (9-4, 2.44 ERA) and Gonzalez opposing A.J. Burnett (4-7, 3.07 ERA).

Is this the series where things start to turn, or does the deficit get even deeper over the next four days? We're about to find out.

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