If there’s a low point to the Washington Nationals’ season, falling behind 9-0 to the Marlins while on a five-game losing streak during a miserable stretch might have been it. And yet, what followed very well might go down as the season’s peak.
It took the Nationals a while to really look like they were digging back. First, Trea Turner hit a solo homer in the fourth inning. Then Turner and Juan Soto drove a four-run rally in the fifth to make it 9-5. Daniel Murphy’s sacrifice fly added another run in the sixth, then the team continued its rally until Turner (again) came up with the bases loaded.
Turner hit his first career grand slam and enthusiastically rounded the bases, celebrating the team’s most improbable lead of the season. The Nationals eventually won the game 14-12, and can exhale, for now.
The numbers behind the Nationals’ comeback
Let’s list off some of the more incredible stats of the Nationals’ comeback:
At one point, the Nationals had a 1.2 percent win expectancy according to Fangraphs.
Eight of the Nats’ 14 earned runs were knocked in by Turner, who was slugging .406 entering Thursday. He also joined rare company thanks to his spot in the batting order.
Before Turner’s grand slam, the Nationals’ last nine homers had been solo shots, going all the way back to June 29.
Soto, the Nats’ No. 2 hitter, finished second on the team in RBIs with three despite being 19 years old.
Teams that were down by more than nine runs had gone 0-103 entering Thursday, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Nationals offense had scored just 12 runs total in its last five games.
Most improbable of all, the game lasted a tidy 3 hours and 15 minutes despite both teams combining for 26 runs.
Of course, this all comes with the significant caveat that the Nationals were playing the Marlins, a team that ranks fifth-worst in MLB in bullpen ERA and seems fairly uninterested in winning this year.
Nationals entered comeback win under dire circumstances
It’s safe to say the Nationals’ season has not been going according to plan so far. The preseason favorites to three-peat in the NL East entered Thursday a game below .500 and seven games back in the standings. They were one of the worst teams in baseball during the month of June and had begun July with four straight losses.
It got to the point that the team held a players-only meeting after getting swept by the Red Sox at home on Wednesday, in which ace Max Scherzer was reportedly vocal in what the team needs to do. One game is an entirely too small sample to judge, but Thursday was at least an encouraging sign.
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