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Take the 2013 Nationals. You think you know this team inside and out, right? I certainly did ... until I started doing some research and came up with these following statistical surprises that will leave you scratching your head, furrowing your brow and rethinking everything you thought you knew about these Nationals.
For example, did you know that...
— Stephen Strasburg ranks in the top 10 among all NL pitchers in ERA (2.40), hits per nine innings (6.67) and strikeouts per nine innings (8.97) and is better than teammate Jordan Zimmermann (an All-Star shoo-in) in those final two categories.
— Even more amazing: Strasburg this season has a better ERA, a lower WHIP and is allowing fewer hits per nine innings than he did either in his spectacular rookie season in 2010 or his All-Star 2012 campaign. Funny how a 4-6 record can overshadow so many other measurements of his performance.
— Steve Lombardozzi has more plate appearances so far this year (180) than Bryce Harper (178) or Jayson Werth (175). The same Steve Lombardozzi who currently sports a .540 OPS, fifth-worst among the 238 major leaguers who have at least that many plate appearances this season.
— In only 24 games, rookie Anthony Rendon has produced five more hits, four more walks, only one fewer total base and 30 fewer strikeouts than Danny Espinosa did in 44 games before his demotion to Class AAA.
— Before Wilson Ramos landed on the DL with a hamstring strain May 14, fellow catcher Kurt Suzuki was hitting .241 with a .322 on-base percentage and .405 slugging percentage. In six weeks since he was forced to take over everyday duties with Ramos out, Suzuki is hitting .186 with a .236 on-base percentage and .225 slugging percentage.
— Ross Detwiler has a higher WHIP (1.475) than Dan Haren (1.439). The same Dan Haren who has the majors' highest ERA.
— Fernando Abad and Ian Krol have appeared in 23 combined games since their promotions from the minors. They've pitched a collective 21 1/3 innings, allowing only two earned runs on 13 hits, walking only two while striking out 26. In only 17 games for the Nationals this year spanning 18 innings, Henry Rodriguez allowed eight earned runs on 14 hits, walking 16 while striking out 11.
— Ian Desmond committed seven errors in his first 18 games this season. He's committed zero in his last 56 games.
— Ryan Zimmerman, meanwhile, was charged with eight errors in his first 27 games this season, equating to an .896 fielding percentage. In 32 games since, Zimmerman has only three errors, equating to a .967 fielding percentage. That's 10 points better than his career average of .957.
— With 87 games to go, the Nationals need to go 53-34 (a .609 winning percentage) just to get to 90 wins by season's end. To get to 95 wins, they need to go 58-29 (a .667 winning percentage). For comparison's sake, the Nationals' best 87-game stretch in 2012 was 56-31 (.644).