In the 14 games without LaRoche/Zimmerman/Bryce the Nats averaged 3.42 runs a game. Extrapolated to the season as a whole that would put the Nats 15th out of 16 NL teams.
In the 13 games since LaRoche has come back (still without Zimmerman for 6 games/Bryce) the Nats have averaged 5.69 runs a game. Extrapolated to the season as a whole that would put the Nats 1st out of 16 NL teams.
In the 7 games since Zimmerman has come back (still without Bryce) the Nats have averaged 6.14 runs a game. Extrapolated to the season as a whole... you should be able to figure that out.
The Nats are red-hot. Is part of it small sample size? Definitely. The Nats aren't going to score about 6 runs a game. They aren't the 1931 Yankees (who averaged 6.88 R/G for a season - in a higher offensive scoring time of course, but the average was still 5.14 R/G. They scored 1.7 more runs per game than averge. Amazing. Even more amazing they don't get talked about in "best all-time" team discussion because the pitching was only slightly better than average. But I digress).
Offensive runs like the one the Nats are having are usually built on unsustainable hot streaks. Those times of year when everyone gets hot at the same time. Is that what we are seeing here? Well, here has been going on in the past two weeks.
Rendon .371/ .405 / .714
Desmond .250 / .372 / .694
LaRoche .282 / .420 / .513
Span .365 / .389 / .538
Ramos .344 / .400 / .500
Roughly - the Nats have 5 regulars hitting like Top 20 offensive players. I'd argue that alone would suffice but wait! There's more!
Werth .349 / .364 / .442
Espinosa .306 / .375 / .417
Not quite "team-carrying" level like the other 5, but it can't be argued that they aren't hitting well.
So what you have is 7 out of 8 regular hitters hitting somewhere between very good and OMFG XOXO GOSSIP GIRL. (McLouth is also FINALLY hitting ok). I think we're safe calling this unsustainable. (And I haven't even talked about the pitching side of this run)
But the good news is - it doesn't have to be sustainable. 62-18 in RS and RA in the past 10 games - that works out to be a .922 expected winning percentage or roughly 149-13 record for the season. Let's cool the offense way down, take 30 runs from the offense so it's averaging 3.2 runs a game. That's terrible. If the pitching still pitched this well (32-18 in RS and RA) the Nats would still be expected to win 3/4 of their games. Or let's let the pitching come back up. 48 runs or 4.8 runs a game. Not good at all. If the offense is this hot though (62-48 in RS and RA) - that's still a team you'd expect to bash their way to 100 wins.
The Nats, when healthy, could have an offense that might be the best in
the NL. The Nats when healthy have a pitching staff that
might be best in the NL. Healthy, a team like that can weather a slump by either side of the game and still be a winning team, and if one side is hot when the other is cold they could still be a force.
The only question for me is how much of this offense is a mirage and how much is a reality. We know they aren't "best ever". Are guys like Rendon/Ramos very good or just good on crazy hot streaks (which happen)? How long can Span/Espinosa, who aren't this good, keep something like this up? When LaRoche cools down (and he will) how far will that cool down go? The more questions answered in the positive, the more the Nats are a team that can only be stopped by the combination of injuries, slumps and bad luck.