93 games have been played. 69 remain.
You can call the All-Star break the end of the first half of the season if you’d like, but frankly, we’re nearly 60 percent of the way through the 2014 campaign. And given all that’s happened prior to the break, the Nationals are in pretty good shape as we enter this four-day breather.
The Nats are the owners of a 51-42 record. They hold a share of first place in the National League East, percentage points above the Braves, who have played two more games than their division rivals and have a 52-43 record.
We know about all the injuries this Nationals team has dealt with to this point, but it’s worth repeating as we recap the first “half”. Take a look at how much time has been missed by the guys crucial to the Nats’ success:
Bryce Harper: 57 games missed
Wilson Ramos: 46 games missed (32 for a broken hamate bone, 14 for a hamstring strain)
Ryan Zimmerman: 44 games missed
Doug Fister: 34 games missed
Gio Gonzalez: 27 games missed
Scott Hairston: 26 games missed
Adam LaRoche: 14 games missed
Denard Span: 7 games missed
Forty percent of the expected opening day rotation has been on the disabled list. Of the eight opening day position players, five have missed time while on the DL.
Yeah, it’s worth repeating because it speaks to what the Nationals were able to accomplish in the first half while dealing with all those bumps and bruises.
“Considering everything that’s gone on, we’re okay,” manager Matt Williams said after yesterday’s 10-3 win over the Phillies. “We’re right in the thick of our division and we’ve got a chance. That’s all we can ask for considering all that’s gone on. (The break) comes at a good time for us. We’ve got some guys that’ll play a lot of innings. They’ll use those few days off to rest up a little bit. It comes at a good time. Overall, we’re happy with where we’re at.”
Williams’ ballclub has scored 387 runs to this point and allowed 326. That plus-61 run differential ranks third in all of Major League Baseball behind just the A’s and Angels.
The Braves, for what it’s worth, have a plus-12 run differential.
“I think if you had told us before the season this is where we’d be at the break, I think everybody would’ve felt good about it,” Jayson Werth said. “It’s good. Four days to rest up and then the rest of the way. The second half is the best time to play, so looking forward to that.”
The Nats rank fourth in the National League with 4.16 runs scored per game. They’ve allowed 3.51 runs per game, second-fewest in the NL.
Their team OPS of 6.99 ranks sixth in the NL. Their 3.08 team ERA is tops in the league.
The offense has started to come around lately, scoring 5.25 runs per game since Harper returned and the lineup was totally in place. The starting rotation has the second-best ERA in the league. The bullpen ERA also ranks second in the NL.
The Nats are in a good spot and they’re playing pretty solid ball. Now they’ll rest up and hope to make a strong push over the final two-and-a-half months.
“It’s like the cliché goes - it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Tyler Clippard said. “I feel like we’re ending on a really good note. I think the last three, three-and-a-half weeks of baseball that we’ve played has really been who we are as a team. We’ve played the type of baseball that we’re capable of, and maybe probably should’ve even won a few more of these games.
“But we’re playing well and we’re excited to move into the second half with the way we’re playing.”