There are so many numbers to put out there right now, so many records matched or broken the Nationals had to include an entire section of them in their postgame notes following today’s 23-5 demolition of the Mets.
Here, though, is perhaps the most important number to take away from an awe-inspiring afternoon on South Capitol Street: 77.
That’s the number of runs the Nationals have scored in the last seven days. Yes, four of those games were played in the thin air of Coors Field. But the first of those games came after a brutal turnaround from an 8 p.m. Sunday night game in New York, and then the fifth game came after another late-night flight back home from Denver, with no off-days built into the schedule to allow for some much-needed rest.
Seventy-seven runs in seven days. And that’s a stretch that saw the Nats lose leadoff man Adam Eaton to a season-ending knee injury.
All of which begs the question: Is there any ceiling to what this lineup can accomplish right now?
“Not when: 1) We don’t miss pitches, which we haven’t, and 2) We don’t give away at-bats,” shortstop Trea Turner said. “I think everybody from the first inning to the last inning didn’t really give away an at-bat. Everybody battled. ... That’s what the lineup has been doing for the last week. And it shows.”
The Nationals already led the majors with 147 runs scored in 24 games when the day began. They’re now blowing away the field with 170 runs in 25 games, 31 more than their next-closest competition (the Diamondbacks) and a staggering 107 more than the majors’ least-productive team (the Royals).
Today’s barrage was merely the culmination of a month the likes of which the Nationals have never before experienced. This is a lineup that typically gets off to slow starts and then heats up once the temperature rises in the summer. This time, nobody’s waiting for the heat and humidity to settle in over the mid-Atlantic.
The Nationals have scored at least 14 runs five times already. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they’re the first team in history to do that in April.
“It’s impressive,” said pitcher Joe Ross, who helped the cause today with an RBI single. “It’s like every inning you expect us to throw up one or two on the board.”
In Ross’ case, the expectations grow even larger. He has started three games now after opening the season at Triple-A Syracuse. The offensive support he has received in each of those three starts: 14 runs, 15 runs, 23 runs.
Speaking of those 23 runs today, that’s a new franchise record, the new single-game high in the 49-year history of the Expos/Nationals franchise. The seven home runs hit today established a new club record (2005-present, since the team moved to Washington). The Nationals’ 23 hits matched the club record for one game.
Now let’s proceed to the individual records set this afternoon, because there were no shortage of those.
It starts, of course, with Anthony Rendon, who enjoyed a game for the ages. He singled in two runs in the bottom of the first. He clubbed a solo homer in the bottom of the third, then a three-run homer the next inning. He came within a couple feet of a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth, settling instead for a three-run double. He singled in the bottom of the seventh. And he homered again in the bottom of the eighth (albeit this time off backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who found himself in the awkward position of recording the final six outs for the Mets sandwiched around three homers and a bunch of drives to the warning track).
Put it all together, and what do you get for Rendon? How about 6-for-6 with three homers and 10 RBIs. He’s only the 13th player in major league history to drive in 10 runs in a game (the first since Garret Anderson in 2007). He’s only the fifth player in Nationals history to homer three times in a game (joining Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Alfonso Soriano).
And Rendon is only the second player in major league history with a six-hit, three-homer, 10-RBI game, joining otherwise-forgotten Reds catcher Walker Cooper, who on July 6, 1949 went 6-for-7 with three homers and 10 RBIs against the Cubs.
“That’s why he’s my favorite player,” Turner said. “He’s special. Not many people can say they hit three homers in a game. Not many people can say they got six hits in a game. Or 10 RBIs. Or all the stats they had. That’s really awesome.”
Rendon had the best numbers of the day, but he wasn’t the only one doing extraordinary things.
Matt Wieters homered twice and drove in four runs. Zimmerman had three hits and drove in two runs, giving him 29 RBIs to set a new club record for a single month. Harper homered, reached base four times and scored four times, giving him 32 runs for the month to shatter Larry Walker’s previous major league record of 29 in April.
“That’s probably more important than mine,” Rendon said, referencing Harper’s mark. “Obviously, you want to help the guys because it’s a team game in the end. It’s not like tennis. It’s not golf. There’s nine guys out there on the field. For all of us to come together, that’s what it’s going to take for us to win. That’s more important.”
Individually, the Nationals are pulling off some remarkable feats right now. String those together, and you get offensive production the likes of which have never been seen in these parts.