As for the weekend some quick thoughts:
- Just when you were going to ask "Where's the offense?" for like the 8th time this season they bust out with a 12 run game. Sure it was against the soft underbelly of the Astros staff (thanks, Roy!) but it's not like they're the worst relievers in the league.
- Another strong start from Lannan - A 3.13 ERA in his last 4 starts, 1.96 in his last 3. Still no K's but the walks are dropping. Look out convential statistical wisdom! Here comes Lannan!
- Riggleman has been pushing 75% of the right buttons this year but this Guzman / Kennedy / Desmond rotation is silly. Desmond should play pretty much every day. 2B should be manned by whoever has the hot hand between Guzman and Kennedy. The other guy should ride the pine.
- For all the talk of the great schedule the Nats have played so far - please note that 11 out of 16 NL teams are .500 or better. The Nats have played the 3rd hardest schedule (well sorta) with an SOS of .510. The Braves have played the 11th with .497. In baseball terms that's the difference between an 80/81 win team and an 82/83 win team. There ARE teams that have got an advantage because of the schedule but they are all NL Central teams where the Pirates, Astros, and disappointing Brewers reside. (12th, 14th-16th SOS teams are NL Central teams)
- Another thing you might hear about the Nats is that they've lost 14 games by 2 or 1 runs. That's true. They've also won 17 of these. Because the offense has been fairly incapable of stringing together big scoring games* they are going to be in a lot of close games this year. 17-14 is about right.
*The Nats are above NL average in games where they've scored 5 runs or more (*23 such times), by the time we look at 7 runs or more they've dropped below average, and at 8 runs or more they are in the Pirates/Astros world. Seven runs has been the limit of the Nats abilities for most of the season. This is what happens when all your power is tied up in 3 guys. Zimmerman (#1 in SLG), Dunn (#10), and Willingham (#11). Pudge is next and he would be #48 if he had enough at bats. Guzman does and he's #59. Both of these guys SLG% though is tied up in their high-averages. This is a team of haves and have nots when it comes to power. That's not terrible, but not ideal either.