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The Nationals didn't cross the plate nearly enough times this season.
One way to determine this is to figure out where the Nats ranked in a number of statistical categories: At the plate, on the mound, in the field and on the bases.
Here, then, is how the Nationals stacked up to the rest of the sport in the following areas...
Runs scored: 624 (3.88/game), 24th in MLB
Home runs: 154 (.96/game), tied-15th in MLB
Stolen bases: 106 (.66/game), 16th in MLB
Walks: 470 (2.92/game), 22nd in MLB
Strikeouts: 1,323 (8.22/game), 30th in MLB
Batting average: .242, tied-27th in MLB
On-base percentage: .309, tied-24th in MLB
Slugging percentage: .383, 22nd in MLB
Batting average w/RISP: .231, 27th in MLB
Runs allowed: 643 (3.99/game), 9th in MLB
Earned runs allowed: 577 (3.58/game), tied-6th in MLB
Home runs allowed: 129 (0.80/game), 5th in MLB
Stolen bases allowed: 76, 3rd in MLB
Walks: 477 (2.96/game), 10th in MLB
Strikeouts: 1,049 (6.52/game), 26th in MLB
Opponents batting average: .256, tied-14th in MLB
Opponents on-base percentage: .319, tied-15th in MLB
Opponents slugging percentage: .382, 7th in MLB
Opponents batting average w/RISP: .242, 15th in MB
Errors: 104 (0.65/game), tied-16th in MLB
Fielding percentage: .983, tied-14th in MLB
Double plays turned: 145, tied-12th in MLB
UZR: -14.3, 22nd in MLB
So, what have we learned? This probably confirms what you thought all season: The Nationals had a pretty good pitching staff, an average team in the field and were really bad at the plate.
But let's dig a bit deeper. Offensively, they did OK hitting for power, right in the middle of the pack. And, despite the claims of Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson, they didn't perform appreciably worse in clutch situations than they did in any other situation (they ranked 27th in the majors in overall batting average and in batting average with runners in scoring position).
No, really what the Nats need to do is simply hit better. Record more base hits. Draw more walks. Put more men on base. And cut down on the strikeouts. They ranked last in baseball with 1,323 K's, a number that is way too high. Convert some of those strikeouts into hits, walks or even productive outs, and you'd see the overall numbers look a lot better.
There's a little bit of room for improvement on the pitching side, especially when it comes to striking out more batters (Stephen Strasburg's presence for most of the season should help in that department).
And the Nationals can always stand to improve some in the field. Though they were a much better defensive team this year than in previous ones, they still gave up 66 unearned runs in 2011 (ninth-most in the majors).
Really, though, the No. 1 reason the Nationals didn't surpass the .500 mark this season was their lack of offense. Pitching and defense may win games, but you still have to score at least a couple of runs each night.