So the "fun part" is over. The Nats played through interleauge, through NL East rivals, and through weather that nearly killed Steven Strasburg, and in the end the went 22-17 (Anonymous commenter had them at 22-18, so he wins the Marvel No-Prize. Excelsior, Anonymous!). My own personal prediction was 19-21, and while I had the Nats just a game better to start and just a game worse to finish, the sweeps of Boston and Toronto basically killed the AL East part of the prediction. Even though they finished up getting swept by the Yanks and beaten by Baltimore 6-9 became 9-6. There's the difference right there (I should have known the Red Sox would come back to screw me. Nothing good comes from the Red Sox)
If you are the ultimate pessimist and find yourself looking for reasons to be unhappy, maybe you want to discount sweeps as luck (kind of silly if you ask me). Well if you do that you'd have to discount the Yankees sweep as well. Even throwing out all those games that's still not enough to pull the Nats under .500 for this time frame.
What does it all mean? I would say this : "The Nats pitching is too good for them to lose. They have to be the favorites to take the NL East. The questions now should revolve mostly aroundgetting playoff ready"
Way ahead of myself? The Phillies, after getting swept by a division rival, are wisely moving to seller mode. There is just too much that has to go right for them to get back in it. The Marlins, they still have a shot but one more big losing streak and that's it for them as well. This HAS to be the start of their push and frankly I don't see it. The Braves are managed by Fredi Gonzalez who on Friday said "Well he's warmed up anyway, let's put Chad Durbin in in a 4-4 game, even though I really wanted him to pitch in a game we were down 4 runs in. What's the worst that could happen"? In other words Fredi doesn't know how to prioritize games and the Braves are likely to lose a handful more to the likes of the Mets and Reds, so Fredi can get a few more wins vs the Astros and Rockies. That could very well cost that team the playoffs. This all leaves the Mets who aren't as much smoke and mirrors now as they were in the beginning of the year, but it's a team with a bad pen that feels like a jenga puzzle - about to fall over if they get one wrong piece of luck. I can't find a team to worry about in this division.
Everybody loved Colorado and if you look at the past week only Bryce and Danny have OPS's under 1.000.
Speaking of Colorado - along with the fans major idiocy (for voting in Furcal), Desmond can thank Coors field for getting him in. He was 8-15 with 5 doubles and 2 homers right at a point where LaRussa would have been thinking "Ok who do I take to the game". You could argue Lowrie was more deserving* but Desmond shone when the right eyes were watching.
Since almost everyone killed in Coors, I'm gonna wait to say anyone is back but a few choice stats. Morse would go in hitting .215 and come out hit .265 (a 4-4 in ATL would bring it up to .296) Ryan Zimmerman had 5 XBH in the series - you'd have to go back a full month to get 5XBHs for Ryan Zimmerman. Not in a series, like in those ~30 games.
Speaking of Mike Morse his walk yesterday was his first in 20 games. Any pitcher that throws him a strike deserves to get it crushed.
Pitching had some rough spots but it was as much Davey's fault as them. He wanted Detwiler to get that last out and forced him to go a few batters too long. Normally I'd be ok with Gio getting to face Freeman, but in that heat and as gassed as he looked I think pulling him was the right move. (easy to say now of course) Really the only worry is how long until they DFA Wang because he is not suited for relief and it shows.
*I think so. Lowrie main fault was not getting as many at bats as Desmond. But it's not like picking Ian over Jed is crazy. I can see both arguments