2012: "Natitude!": Harper sparks drive to NL East title
Everything finally came together for the Nationals in 2012. In spite of injuries to several key players, they finished April in first place, and kept that position for virtually the entire season. Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann were joined by another All-Star caliber pitcher, Gio Gonzalez, who finished the season with a league-best 21-8 record. After rookie slugger Bryce Harper and Michael Morse joined the lineup, the Nationals became an offensive powerhouse as well. By August they had the best win-loss record in the majors, and that's how they finished the season, at 98-64. The first baseball postseason in Washington since 1933 had some thrilling moments, and the Nats came within one strike of winning Game 5 of the divisional series, but the defending World Champion Cardinals mounted an improbable comeback to win. "Wait till next year!"
| CF: Bryce Harper * .270
|LF: Michael Morse # .291
Steve Lombardozzi *
|RF: Jayson Werth # .300
|SS: Ian Desmond #.292
|2B: Danny Espinosa .247
|3B: Ryan Zimmerman .282||1B: Adam LaRoche .271|
| Batting average for position players, ERA for pitchers.
Manager: Davey Johnson
|C: Jesus Flores .213
|* (asterisk): new player;
# : month+ off due to injury
- Ryan Zimmerman -- 6 years, $100 million (Feb.)
New contracts of note
"+" = bonus incentives for salary, or optional extension (mutual or otherwise) for contract length. "D" = part of salary is deferred. "AE" = arbitration eligible. "FA" = free agent signing. Dollar figures are rounded.
|Batting average||Home runs||RBIs||ERA||Wins||Strikeouts|
|Ian Desmond||.292||Adam LaRoche||33||Adam LaRoche||100||Gio Gonzalez||2.89||Gio Gonzalez||21||Gio Gonzalez||207|
Only qualifying players are included in this table.
(Regular season games only.)
- May 13 -- Joey Votto walk-off grand slam, Reds win 9-6; H. Rod. blown save. @
- May 14 -- Bryce Harper's first home run, Nats beat Padres 8-5.
- May 20 -- Stephen Strasburg's first home run, Nats beat Orioles 9-3.
- May 27 -- Nats complete sweep of Braves, on ESPN-TV; Harper's 4th HR. @
- June 5 -- Bryce Harper GW RBI in 12th inning; Nats 7, Mets 6.
- June 16 -- Ump calls Tyler Moore out at home in 8th; Yanks win 5-3 in 14 inn.
- June 28 -- Rockies up 7-0 in 2nd; Nats come back but lose 11-10 in 11th inn.
- July 20 -- Nats blow 9-0 lead, lose to Braves 11-10 in 11 innings.
- July 29 -- Nats catch up in 9th inning, beat Brewers 11-10 in 11 innings. @
- Aug. 13 -- Nats score 7 runs in 3rd inning, beat Giants 14-2. @
- Aug. 20 -- Nats score 4 runs in 1st inning, beat Braves 5-4 in 13 innings. (?!)
- Aug. 31 -- Nats beat Cardinals 10-0; complete game shutout by Gio Gonzalez.
- Sept. 4,5 -- Nationals hit six home runs in two consecutive days!
- Sept. 8 -- Jayson Werth 9th inn. HR; Nats beat Marlins 7-6 in 10 inn. I was there!
- Sept. 22 -- Gio Gonzalez gets his 20th win; Nats beat Brewers 10-4. I was there!
- Oct. 11 -- Jayson Werth 9th inn. HR; Nats beat Cards 2-1 in NLDS Game 4.
- Oct. 12 -- Nats take 6-0 lead, Cards get 4 in 9th and win 9-7 in NLDS Game 5.
2012 memorable moments
"@" = away game
|Month||Wins||Losses||NL East place
|Sept. 2012 *||17||13||1st||19||523,630||27,559|
|Oct. 2012 **||2||3||(NLDS)||3||135,375||45,125|
|2012 +||100||67||-||84||2,505,669||30,557 ^|
* (Including regular season games in October.) ** (Postseason games only.)