Washington Nationals: Offense cruising at record levels

Apr 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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On pace for over 900 runs, the Washington Nationals offense is on full display. How are they able to score nearly six runs every game?

The 2017 Washington Nationals offense is historically good.

With a third of the season in the books this weekend, they are on pace to score 909 runs. An offense so lethal, it would obliterate the franchise record set last year of 763. So dominant, it screeches past the vaunted 1994 Montreal Expos projected 831 runs over 162 games.

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Consider this, Friday night’s 13-3 pasting of the Oakland Athletics marked the fifth time this year they scored over 13. This ties the franchise record set two years ago. Did we mention they did this in 53 games this time? Or, the Nats pummeled the A’s without Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper?

Yeah, the Nats did with ease.

Over 54 games, the Nats have yet to be shut out. The nights where they cannot do anything right, they still score.

Trea Turner, who has slumped most of the year, hits .257. The lowest of the core starting eight. A figure seven points higher than the total National League batting average. When your worst regular beats over half the league, you are doing something right.

In part, the Nats are not striking out as much. Their 420 is the fourth-lowest in the NL. With 196 walks that is fourth-best. Combined with a team batting average of .278, 11 points higher than Colorado, and an on-base percentage of 347, 10 over Los Angeles, Washington is lethal.

Hitting 83 homers helps but only to a degree. All season, the approach is to take pitches and work counts.

As a team, the Nats average 3.97 pitches a plate appearance. The NL takes 3.87. You know how patient Jayson Werth is batting second. His 4.39 pitches-per-appearance is why he is productive.

Anthony Rendon’s 4.50 every plate appearance is incredible. He has looked at 972 pitches this year or 11.45 percent of Washington’s total number of 8482. When you tire pitchers out, good things happen.

You knew Harper would not slump again like last year or Daniel Murphy’s 2016 was a fluke. However, not even Ryan Zimmerman could figure on his career year. He leads the team with a .368 batting average, .695 slugging percentage and 1.111 OPS.

It would be impossible for the Nats to keep up this pace. Scoring 5.61 runs a game puts you with the 1927 New York Yankees for production.

What you can say is this is the best team in franchise history. Not just the Washington years, but better than any team in Montreal. Barring major catastrophe, they will win the division by double-digits. If the Nats sort out their bullpen problems, this is a championship team.

Next: Dusty's best May quotes.

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