Nats’ April in review
The Nats finished April with a 14–8 record, their best monthly winnng percentage since June 2005 when they went 20–6. But a closer look at the statistics reveals that this month’s performance may have been more impressive than 2005’s memorable run. That June run was partly fueled by luck—a 9–1 record in one-run games and a run differential that should have been consistent with a 15–11 record. In contrast, this April’s run was only boosted a little by Pythagorean luck, with the Nats going 6–5 in one-run games and finishing the month with a 13–9 Pythagorean record.
The 2012 season began auspiciously with a 4–2 road trip against the Cubs and the Mets. The Nats followed that up with an 8–2 home stand against Reds, Astros, and Marlins. They ended the month with a road trip to California, where they took the first two from the Padres before losing the Padres’ finale and all three games against the Dodgers.
13–9 (3.36 R/G – 2.68 RA/G)
MVP for April:
Adam LaRoche (.329/.415/.549, 22 G, 94 PA, 4 HR, 9 R, 17 RBI, 1.2 fWAR, 1.43 WPA, 10.51 RE24) has carried the Nats’ offense so far.
Most valuable starting pitcher:
Stephen Strasburg (2–0, 1.13 R/9, 5 G, 32 IP, 9.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 10.33 RE24) wins the honor, with honorable mention going to Jordan Zimmermann (1.67 R/9) and Gio Gonzalez (1.82 R/9).
Most valuable reliever:
Sean Burnett (0-0, 0.00 R/9, 5 G, 8-1/3 IP, 13.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9, 3.11 RE24, 1 of 6 inherited runners scored, 3 shutdowns, 0 meltdown)
Best start this month:
Edwin Jackson (April 14, 4–1 win over the Reds at home, 9-inning complete game, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K, game score of 87) wins, while honorable mention goes to Gonzalez’s 7-shutout inning performance in the home opener two days earlier (game score of 80).
Gio Gonzalez (April 7, 7–4 win over the Cubs in Chicago, 3-2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K, game score of 34) got off to a rocky start, but the Nats came back to win and Gio’s been superb since.
Tom Gorzelanny (April 13, 2–1 win over the Reds at home) pitched two scoreless innings in the 11th and 12th with a 1–1 tie. He gave up a double and two walks, but didn’t allow any of them to score. (Win probability added .246)
Henry Rodríguez (April 28, 4–3 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles) spoiled Bryce Harper‘s debut game by blowing the save. Entering in the top of the ninth with a 3–1 lead, Henry allowed two singles, a double, and threw three wild pitches, allowing two runs to score. He left the game with two outs, runners on first and third, and the game tied (WPA –.553). The next inning, Matt Kemp’s home run would seal the loss.
Chad Tracy (April 7, 7–4 win over the Cubs in Chicago) came in as a pinch hitter in the 8th with two outs, the bases loaded, and the Nats behind 4–3. He singled into right, scoring Ryan Zimmerman and LaRoche and giving the Nats a 5–4 lead. (WPA .456)
Danny Espinosa (April 12, 3–2 win over the Reds at home) came up in the bottom of the ninth with one out, the bases loaded, and the score tied 2–2, and grounded into a double play that sent the game into extra innings (WPA –.327). The Nats went on to win in the 10th on a wild pitch that scored Zimmerman.