Welcome back to Capitol Baseball after a sustained Post-Memorial Day nap/food coma. And in the most shocking of shocking revelations, the Nats were able to take 2 of 3 against the MLB-best Phillies, and their trio of All-Star pitchers Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt. Most amazing of all is the 10 run outburst on Tuesday night.
Beating the Phillies is a relatively new thing for the DC Curly W's (especially John Lannan) but you have to look a little bit closer to see how they were able to get it done at home.
This season the Nats have been dogged by a bevy of strikeouts, due to a combination of young free-swingers (Desmond), combined with swing-for-the-fences veterans (Nix and Ankiel). Their 23.9 K% ranks 28th in baseball, just barely ahead of the Pirates and Fathers - as does their 432 strikeouts in just 55 games (putting the Nats on pace for roughly 1275 strikeouts by seasons end).
But a quick look at the last three games of the homestand and you see a different Nationals club. Less Strikeouts = more success.
Monday vs. Halladay - 7 K in 35 PAs - 20% K-rate
Tuesday vs. Lee - 7 K in 39 PAs - 17.9% K-rate
Wednesday vs. Oswalt - 6 K in 32 PAs - 18.75% K-rate
Total for the 3-game series - 20 K in 106 PA for an 18.86% K-rate which would place the Nats 7th best in all of baseball. Once again thats just 20 strikeouts in 106 Plate Appearances against 3 of the best pitchers in the National League - if not all of baseball.
If the Nats can keep this up, they just might be able to mount am attack on .500.