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Nats stats at the All-Star break

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Nats stats at the All-Star break

At 49-34, the Washington Nationals are on pace for 96 wins and an N.L. East division title. A lot can change in the months after the All-Star break, but for now the Nats look poised to qualify for the postseason for the first time since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005. They have found a way to win games, but how much have they improved statistically? Here is a look at where the Nats rank stat-by-stat in the majors and in the National League.

OffenseR 348 (MLB: 20, NL: 9)HR 90 (MLB: 12, NL: 5)RBI 332 (MLB: 19, NL: 9)
BB 253 (MLB: 22, NL: 12)BA - .251 (MLB: 18, NL: 8)OBP - .314 (MLB: 21, NL: 11)SLG - .414 (MLB: 13, NL: 6)OPS - .728 (MLB: 15, NL: 7)SO 686 (MLB: 24, NL: 12)SB 59 (MLB: 12, NL: 6)

The Nationals rank in the middle of the league in most offensive categories, but nearly every statistic is markedly improved from 2011. Batting average for instance is up from .242 to .251, good for a nine-place leap from the end of last season. Even strikeouts have been cut down as the Nationals finished last season with the most strikeouts in the majors with 1,323.

Washington can still use improvement in almost every offensive category, but a healthier lineup should pay dividends in the second half. The Nats were without Ryan Zimmerman for 14 games, Michael Morse for 50, and Bryce Harper wasnt called up until the end of April. They should get Jayson Werth back at some point as well, he had the teams best on-base percentage at .372 when he went down with a broken wrist.

PitchingERA 3.20 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)HR 62 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)SO 693 (MLB: 5, NL: 3)BB 259 (MLB: 15, NL: 9)BAA - .231 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)WHIP 1.20 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)SV 28 (MLB: T4, NL: 4)CG 1 (MLB T20, NL: T10)

The additions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, added with the presence of Stephen Strasburg for the entire first half, have given the Nationals the best young rotation in the majors. Career years from some of their bullpen guys including Craig Stammen (1.74 ERA) and Sean Burnett (1.99 ERA) have helped combine for the best overall earned run average in the game.

Nats pitchers throw hard and they get opponents out at an impressive rate. The team gives up the least amount home runs and holds the best WHIP and batting average against in all of baseball. With all these stellar numbers, it would be hard for the team to improve in the second half. This will be especially hard with the likely shut-down of Strasburg in the seasons final months.

FieldingSB 50 (MLB: 9, NL: 6)SB - .806 (MLB: 2, NL: 2)E 49 (MLB: 10, NL: 4)FPCT - .984 (MLB: 11, NL: 5)

The Nationals are above average in errors and fielding percentage and both categories are improvements of several league ranks from last season. They have struggled, however, in keeping opponents from stealing bases. Last year the team allowed the third-fewest stolen bases with 76 in all of 2011. This is probably due to the Wilson Ramos being injured as the defensive catcher allowed just 48 in 108 games played last season.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win