OFFENSE GOES SOUTH
If Washington is to advance, they must get runners on base and bring them home. Although it seems obvious, the difference between the Nats when they win and lose is stark.
In their 97 wins, the Nats slash a healthy .297/.365/.516. That gives you an OPS of .880 and a stunning 6.59 runs a game. If they pop seven a night, aside from cheap chicken nuggets and pizza, this series will be over in a hurry.
But, in those 65 losses, the bats fell silent. That slash line of .218/.280/.345 gets you an OPS of .645. When you average 2.77 runs a night, you are not winning many or any in the Nats case.
If you look at teams who fall short in best-of-five series, the common denominator is not moving runners along in scoring position. When the bats are tight, you might get only a couple chances to score with runners in the right spots. If Washington cannot make the Cubs pay for mistakes, they will be in trouble.
The Nats were excellent in the regular season in RISP situations, slashing .290/.371/.484. Of their 819 runs scored, 580 crossed home plate with runners in scoring position. If the Cubs control Washington’s offense, the Nats will lose.