Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Variation on the Offense theme; Records by runs scored


We know the offense is bad.  Even given Dan Haren‘s continued struggles, he’s not the problem.

Here’s a telling statistic; from Baseball-Reference here’ links to 2013’s Team Scoring Summary report and a comparison to 2012’s version.  I did a version of this analysis mid-last year to show the amazing record the 2012 team had in games in which they scored 4 or more runs.   Lets see what’s changed this year:

Some telling breakdowns:

In 2012:

# runs scored Wins Losses W/L %
3 or less 19 48 0.283582
4 or more 79 16 0.831579
5 or more 62 10 0.861111

If they scored 4 runs, they won 83% of their games last year.  There were a couple weird games (they lost three games in which they scored 9 or 10 runs; that’s hard to do) but overall these stats are pretty constant for most teams; when you score 3 or fewer runs it is awful hard to win.  4 runs is the benchmark to shoot for.

More specifically though, the 2012 Nats were an astounding 17-6 when they scored exactly four runs.  You would expect something closer to a .500 record in games like that, given the RS/RA averages and league ERAs in baseball.  That’s indicative of just how good our starters were last year collectively.

In 2013, through Monday 6/17/13 game:

# runs scored Wins Losses W/L %
3 or less 9 31 0.225
4 or more 25 4 0.862069
5 or more 25 1 0.961538

The percentages are roughly the same.  They’re losing a few more of the low-scoring games thus far, but are winning a few more of the higher scoring games.   But look at the number of times they’ve already scored 3 or fewer runs (40) versus all of last year (67).  And their record when scoring the magic 4 runs exactly?  0-3.

On the bright side, they’re closing out wins much better when scoring 5 or more than they did last year (when they had some amazing blown leads).

Conclusion?  Hope for 4 runs every night (though it didn’t work last night).  And then hope again for that 5th run.

Written by Todd Boss

June 18th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Nats in General

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2 Responses to 'Variation on the Offense theme; Records by runs scored'

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  1. Interesting. That regression in 3 or less games is no doubt due to the starting pitching being a bit worse than last year.

    Otherwise, it all comes back to the offense. Basically, they have scored 3 or less in 4/7ths of their games to date. Extrapolate that out over the who season and that’s a total of 93 games with a .225 winning percentage, or 70 losses right there. So if they lose just 11 in the other games, they are a .500 team, and they’ve already lost 8.

    “Hoping” for those 4th and 5th runs to score is about all we can do, since most nights it just isn’t going to happen unless something changes dramatically.


    18 Jun 13 at 1:23 pm

  2. Here’s some more fun stats.
    – Zimmermann: 2.44 ERA, 4.68 average run support. 9-3 w/l record.
    – Strasburg: 2.50 ERA, 2.72 average run support. And he’s 3-6.
    – Detwiler: 3.02 ERA, 3.58 average run support. Only 2-4 on the year.
    – Gonzalez 3.40 ERA, 3.45 average run support. 3-3 (how does he only have 6 decisions in 14 starts?)
    – Haren: 5.72 ERA, 2.93 avearage run support. No surprise he’s 4-8

    Team average runs: 69 games, 241 total runs: average.

    Todd Boss

    18 Jun 13 at 2:02 pm

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