Small sample sizes can distort the picture. The Nationals spent Saturday and Sunday in New York in futility with an 0-15 record hitting with RISP (runners in scoring position) against the Mets.
In the larger picture, the Nationals are good as a team in these situations. If we look at batting average, the Nationals are at .261 in RISP situations which ranks them 13th in the Majors and 5th in the National League. The Nationals are 18th in finding themselves in RISP situations with only 1,068 at-bats. The Nationals hit better than the Cubs (.254), but the Cubs put themselves in the most RISP situations in the Majors with 1,250 at-bats leading to 71 more runs the Cubs have scored than the Nats in RISP spots.
Part of the Nationals problem with RISP dates back to game #1 where the lead-off batters were struggling to get on-base. The other problem is moving runners up to get them into RISP spots, and the Nationals have missed out on some easy scores.
Let us take a look at the 1st inning last night: Trea Turner lead-off single followed by a Jayson Werth single. With a runner in scoring position at 2nd base and no outs. Daniel Murphy‘s primary job was to move up the runners and hit the ball to rightfield. Murphy fouled out to leftfield and Turner was stuck at 2nd base. Bryce Harper flew out to deep leftield which would have scored Turner if Trea was on 3rd base. Opportunity lost, and many opportunities were lost last night.
The Nationals must improve at moving up runners with productive outs and keep the line moving, and yes, the Nationals can improve in RISP situations.
Here are your RISP stats for your Washington Nationals. Some might surprise you like Jayson Werth’s numbers.
In fairness, let us also take a look at who hits better with RISP than in bases empty spots. Also disregard the sort error on Ross and den Dekker. Again, consider the small sample sizes, but it becomes significant with players like Ben Revere and even Danny Espinosa.