HERE'S SOMETHING to chew on: The Phillies currently rank 14th in baseball in average attendance, one slot ahead of the Nationals, who are in town this weekend to play a three-game series. The Phillies are drawing 28,987 per game, the Nationals, 28,906 per game. Trailing both teams are the first-place Braves, who are averaging just 28,425 per game.
Last year, the Phillies averaged 37,190 fans per game, eighth most in the majors, three slots ahead of Washington, five ahead of Atlanta.
I don't know if any of that means anything, but it's something to keep in mind whenever you hear/read me refer to the half-empty ballpark in South Philly.
All of that is a long-winded way of informing you of the fact that I am curious about the turnout for this weekend's series against the Nationals, who enter with Bryce Harper on the shelf but a pitching staff that is to die for. I don't have many other words for this series other than that it is a big one for the Phillies, so let's skip the formalities and instead pore over 15 random facts about the Phillies and Nationals:
1) Since joining the Nationals, Jayson Werth is hitting .278/.368/.451 (.819 OPS) with 54 home runs in 1,645 plate appearances, and 40 steals in 46 attempts.
2) During that same stretch, Phillies rightfielders have hit .254/.325/.422 (.747 OPS) with 72 home runs in 2,142 plate appearances and 17 steals in 27 attempts.
3) During his 4 years in Philadelphia, Werth hit .282/.380/.506 with 95 home runs and 60 steals in 68 attempts.
4) Werth has 3 years and $63 million remaining on his contract (not including 2014). Not including this season, Ryan Howard has 3 years and $73 million remaining on his contract if the Phillies don't buy him out for $10 million in 2017.
5) Howard, since Werth signed with the Nationals for the 2011 season: .249/.328/.467 (.795 OPS), 63 home runs in 1364 plate appearances.
6) In the last three games, Phillies relievers have logged 8 1/3 scoreless innings while stranding all three runners that they've inherited.
7) Centerfielder Denard Span is hitting .273/.323/.372 (.695 OPS) with four home runs in 758 plate appearances and 23 steals in 29 attempts since the Nationals acquired him from the Twins prior to 2013.
8) Centerfielder Ben Revere is hitting 303/.333/.345 (.677 OPS) with no home runs in 436 plate appearances and 32 steals in 41 attempts since the Phillies acquired him from the Twins prior to 2013.
9) Span is making $6.5 million this season and made $4.75 million last season. Revere is making $1.95 million this season and made $515,000 last season.
10) In his first six starts of the season, Stephen Strasburg is averaging a career-high 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings, but also a career-high 3.2 walks per nine innings.
11) In six career starts against the Phillies, Strasburg has a 2.65 ERA with 42 strikeouts and five walks in 37 1/3 innings.
12) Last season, the Phillies managed just one earned run in 23 innings against Strasburg, who struck them out 29 times while walking them just three times.
13) Since joining the Nationals this season, former Phillie Kevin Frandsen is 11-for-38 with three walks, eight strikeouts, two extra-base hits, and no home runs (.714 OPS).
14) Third baseman Anthony Rendon, 23, is hitting .316/.352/.544 (.896 OPS) with four home runs in 122 plate appearances for the Nationals.
15) Phillies third basemen are hitting .160/.233/.245 (.478 OPS) with two home runs and 32 strikeouts in 103 plate appearances this season.
Anyway, hope you learned something.