Is Washington Nationals' Offense Weather-Reliant?

By Nick Comando
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was the fourth time in six days that the Washington Nationals scored five or more runs in a game, and they are 3-1 in those games. In 30 games where Washington has scored at least five runs, they are 28-2.

Against the Arizona Diamonbacks, Washington jumped out to a 5-0 lead and eventually won 7-5, tacking on insurance runs when they were most needed along with a big day from Adam LaRoche, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. The top of Washington’s lineup (Denard Span to LaRoche) were a combined 8-for-16 with five RBIs. Needless to say, Washington’s offense was humming last night.

But did the weather have anything to do with it?

The game-time temperature in Washington last night was 90 degrees, and when the game ended around 10:15 pm, the temperature only went down to 84 degrees. The humidity level was around 46 percent at game time, and increased to 65 percent by the end of the game.

Now, in baseball, teams tend to score more runs when the weather heats up because the ball carries more, especially when it’s humid because the air is thicker and the ball stays in the air longer. LaRoche’s home run last night, for example, was a breaking ball that didn’t look good coming off his bat, but ended up squeaking right over the left-center field wall.

If it was cooler and less humid, could it have been a double? Perhaps even a sac fly?

Of course, to be fair, last night’s offensive onslaught could have simply been the fact that they see Trevor Cahill really well. In Cahill’s career, he is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA against Washington, and 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA at Nationals Park, so Cahill doesn’t exactly shut Washington down.

I am of the opinion that it was a combination of the two, though with Cahill being a sinkerballer, it was more Washington having good at-bats rather than Cahill pitching poorly. He got ground balls, Washington just got them past gloves and over heads.

Last night was a night of firsts. LaRoche’s first home run since May 28 and Gio Gonzalez‘s first win since May 5. Could it be the first of a turnaround for Washington? Who knows, but if they hit like that, combined with a return by Bryce Harper, their chances look good.

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