Nationals Baseball: Turning Point?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Turning Point?

The Nats have dropped 5 straight, taking them from the heights of "Did someone say Wild Card?" to the lesser heights of "Hey, the Nats lost 5 straight and are still .500". I don't think there is any Nats fan that wouldn't take 20-20 at this point in the season but a couple more losses and there's going to be that nagging feeling in the back of the head of "Here we go again."

That's why this little homestand is so important. First, the Nats face the Mets for 2 games, where 2 losses would likely put the Nats back in last in the NL East. Sure it would be only by a game or so, but it's still last place. If they can't at least split these two games, especially when the first one looks to be R.A. Dickey vs Livan!, then imagine the funk they'll be in when the Orioles come into town. The Orioles are a completely beatable team, but they'd then be catching the Nats at the exact right time. A poor showing against the Orioles, in what is usually a fairly highlighted series, and the good feelings generated by a nice start might vanish, even if the Nats sit at a respectable 21-24.

Follow this nightmare scenario with a West Coast swing which are usually difficult and the Nats could be looking at 25-30 or worse coming home (they have to at least split with Houston, right?). Instead of Strasburg coming in to take the Nats to the next level, he enters trying to "save" the season.

That's the worst case. Now imagine the Nats take the 2 games series from the Mets. The streak is stopped and better yet the Nats could retake in second place. Sure it's just by a game or so, but it's still second place. Then they go into the Orioles series with the momentum AND the better team. They show the whole area that they are the better team, the squad truly on the rise and now they are 24-21. That West Coast trip rather than a daunting drudge on the other side of the country, now looks like a road trip with a bunch of winnable games. 5-5? 6-4? The Nats could be 30-25 going into the Strasburg series. Now Strasburg doesn't have to be a savior.

Sure the most likely scenario is the Nats end up closer to 27-28 when the Reds roll into town, but if the season is going to turn into something special or something awful, I've got a feeling this little five game jaunt is going to be critical.


Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

For what it's worth, I agree with you completely. The biggest change from last year, is that one may argue a best case senario for the next five games with both some credulity and a straght face!

bdrube said...

Reminds me of the old adage about how a baseball team is never as good as they look when they are winning nor as bad as they look whan they losing.

Truth is they are not even a .500 ballclub talent wise. Maybe if SS pitches lights out they will rise to that level.

The good news is that they are not nearly as bad as they looked last year or coming out of spring training and some of that "not as bad" is due to young players rather than aging vets who are just trying to hang on.

DCnatty said...

Clippard many games does he have to blow before Riggleman stops using him as the setup guy. All he does is set the other club up for runs. Stats dont lie...hes been awful ever since people started saying how great he was. Regardless of Clip, if they knew how to lift a flyball, or at least hit a grounder to the right side of the infield...they win by 2-3 runs last night. Frustrating to say the least.

@bdrube...i think this club is a legit .500 level team (no higher though). Tough couple of losses over this 5-game dive, 3-4 of which easily could have gone either way.

Harper...any word on when Dunn is coming back? Him not in the lineup is killing. As youve prev mentioned

DCnatty said...

Also...i hope last night was a sign of Lannan returning to form. he was on his game

Harper said...

Sec - yeah how many times did last year's team manage to win 4 of 5... (looked it up only 5 separate days before Aug 1st)

bdrube - yeah, whatever you think of the 2005 squad they weren't pushed by anything young. There was no one responsible for that fast start under the age of 26.

DCNatty - expect to see Clip until someone else shows something better consistenly... maybe Walker, probably Storen. I can't see Riggleman making a change unless Clippard is soooo bad or he has a clear alternative.

I've heard nothing on Dunn that you haven't. Because of that I wouldn't expect him in the lineup tonight, but there doesn't seem to be any big issue so if I had to guess he should be back in a game or two.