Washington Nationals: 2017 NLDS Tale of the Tape

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Trea Turner #7 and Daniel Murphy #20 after a 6-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Trea Turner #7 and Daniel Murphy #20 after a 6-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals
(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

First Base: Ryan Zimmerman vs. Anthony Rizzo

If we did this matchup back in March, no one would expect this battle to be close. However, give credit to Zimmerman as he had an All-Star season and is one of the favorites for the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Zimmerman hit .303 this season with 36 home runs, drove in 108 runs, and his .358 on-base percentage was the highest it has been since 2010. If the Nats are going to get past the Cubs, Zimmerman will have to have a great series to make Joe Maddon pitch to Harper or Murphy.

Of course, Adam Lind won’t get to start in this series, but he has the chance to make a big impact as a pinch-hitter. In those situations this year, he hit .356 with four home runs and 13 RBI’s. In addition to those great pinch-hitting number, he hit eight of his 14 home runs in the seventh inning or later.

When you look at Rizzo, his production went under the radar in 2017. He did not make the All-Star team, but he has hit 32 home runs, drove in 109 runs, and had 99 runs scored.

The second half numbers have been important for Rizzo as he has 12 home runs and an on-base percentage of .400. However, if you look at his home/road splits, he was a .319 hitter at Wrigley Field and a .228 hitter away from home.

In terms of defense, Rizzo has the clear edge in that category. According to Fangraphs, Rizzo had nine runs saved this year while Zimmerman was at -8. Now, that is not the lone stat to judge defense, but Zimmerman’s throwing arm at first isn’t as good as Rizzo, to say the least.

Advantage: This one is close, but I am going to give the slight edge to Rizzo and the Cubs. He has at least two home runs in each of the last two postseasons and had five doubles in 17 games last postseason. Meanwhile, Zimmerman does not have good numbers against the Cubs. In the last two seasons, he is 8-for-56 with six RBI’s. If that trend holds, the Washington Nationals might not win this series.

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