Last Stretch : Goal 5-6 Actual 6-5;
Total : Goal 26-23 Actual 21-27 (and 1 rainout)
Turns out I made a counting error in the very beginning so I've been off by a game the entire time. Would have been more interesting if the Nats were pushing .500 but each win counts right? The long National(s) nightmare is over. The 49 games in 51 days stretch turned out to neither validate nor bury the 2011 Nats. Rather, in typical "new" Nats fashion, it slowly but surely pushed them out of relevance and down to the cellar of the NL East. From .500 (9-9) they find themselves once again not bad enough to force changes and not good enough to play out a dream run to .500.
Actually to be fair, if Zimmerman returns healthy and produces like he can, .500 from then on out isn't totally out of the question. There are guys that should come back to earth (Nix, Lannan), but guys that can probably do better (Werth, Gorzelanny, Werth, WERTH). With a little luck the Nats could press for that mythical 81 win barrier. Unfortunately though the Nats would be foolish not to deal Marquis (who very well might be the best pitcher on the market), Nix, and some relief arms. This should deplete the talent at the major leagues and wake Nats fans up from this dream no later than July 31st.
If you wanted to pinpoint a stretch and series when the season was "lost" it had to be the Pirates, Mets, Os, Brewers, Padres stretch in mid to late May, with the Padres series in particular crushing hopes. Even with a favorably timed "rain out" the Nats would lose each of these winnable series except for the opening 1 game Pirates matchup. (Granted the Brewers had gotten red hot right before they played the Nats but either of the last two games in that series were winnable.) The Nats could take a little solace with the Mets, Os and Brewers series coming on the road but losing 2 out of 3 at home to San Diego? If they couldn't handle a less than mediocre Padres team at home then what hope did they have against everyone else for the rest of the season?
They'll have one more tough run at years end playing 33 games in 34 days in late August and Early September, but it's likely that this teams fate will be sealed by the time that rolls around.
Did I mention Werth has been struggling? I said leave him alone a couple weeks ago but since then he's been terrible. Like .135 and 3 XBH in 2 weeks bad. They are trying him at lead-off to maximize the only thing he's doing well right now, getting on base. So how's he done so far? 1 walk, no singles in 9 at bats.
Yay Lannan! A classic 1K win. Getting ever so close to Top 25 in ERA. It kills you doesn't it? You know if I'm talking to you...
Marquis wants to sign here long term. That's fine with me as long as (1) it's not for any more than the last deal - I'd even go 3 years but at a cheaper per year rate and (2) it's not an extension but a FA deal signed after he's dealt in July. Sorry Jason. It's looking like you'll have a good deal of value on the market. (Still hoping the Cards make a mistake and want to deal Colby Rasmus)
ZNN is coming back a lot faster than I ever thought. Looks like I'll be happily wrong. I'll be even more happilier wronger if Strasburg can do the same.