Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - the "kept it out" weekend

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Quickie - the "kept it out" weekend

Well that sucked.  Not only did the Nats get swept but the Braves stopped the freight train that was the San Francisco Giants and picked up a game and a half on the Nats. As I noted on Thursday the Braves have a bit of a scheduling advantage from here onto the next series.  Not much, but enough to keep you scoreboard watching.

Why did the Nats get swept?  Because their offense isn't great. Sorry those that believe otherwise but it isn't. It is better than I thought it would be because the lack of anyone underperforming for the year has led to a lineup where there isn't a particular hole outside of catcher. But it also doesn't have great bats that can carry a team (well maybe Zimmerman, he kind of skirts that). The success it sees is because of its mild relentlessness.  From 1 to 7 they might not kill you but you can't take a batter off.  What happens though when two of the bats go out and you don't catch a lucky break with everyone else being hot? The offense stops dead in its tracks. Six runs in 4 games. The Nats need a healthy Morse and Desmond back ASAP.

To help with the freaking out that might happen if the Nats lose another one tonight let's put this season in some perspective.

Nats Record & Standings on August 26th 

2006 : 55-74, 24.5 games out of NL East lead, 11.5 games out of the playoffs
2007 : 58-73, 16, 13
2008 : 47-85, 26, 30
2009 : 45-82, 29.5, 27
2010 : 54-74, 19.5, 17
2011 : 62-68, 21.5, 15.5

2012 : 77-50, 4.5 games UP in the NL East, 8.5 games away from being out of the playoffs.

I'm not saying you can't complain about the lousy play, or the hot-headedness of Rizzo, or the Nats injury luck, etc. etc. But at the same time you should be enjoying the hell out of this. 


Bote Man said...

I am enjoying the hell outta this, but I would prefer heads-up base running and better plate discipline, especially by The Rook.

Oh, and I'll bet you ANY amount of money that the Nats do not lose tonight. Any amount.

DezoPenguin said...

I'd like to lay some cash on that "the Nats do not lose tonight" bet, myself. I'm 100% certain that they will not lose!

(As for the current losing streak...yeah, basically we just got outpitched. I'm a little worried about Znn having another ordinary game, but otherwise, hitting is required now and again. Unless the starters decide to pitch like they did in April again.)

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Yes, this late summer, early fall is far better than any season including '05 (it was apparent by this time the NATS were done). Let us hope for a Marlins sweep and some regained momentum.

blovy8 said...

What worries me is that every starting pitcher and best hitters in the series "blinked" first. You expect to do worse against better pitching, but the team is going to be facing great pitchers in the postseason too. It didn't seem like a letdown to me after the Braves series, just not being good enough at making adjustments and focusing, and that's not encouraging this far into the season. Gio and Jordan are still young enough to learn from every outing, so I guess I should calm down since there's time, but I think the idea that this is a 100 win team should be gone after this rollover.

ags said...

I want to see us go after Josh Hamilton this off season. We've got the money, a spot in left field, and a need for, as Harper said, a bat that can carry the team. Plus, it would be really cool to go after the so-called top FA.

Josh. Hamilton.

cass said...

It's never good to get swept by the Phillies, but this is a good reminder that the Nats need Strasburg to keep pitching right now to help the team win the division. The Nats can't risk shutting him down and bringing him back for the playoffs because he is needed now. The Braves aren't out of it yet.

Harper said...

Bote - Bryce is Bryce. I wouldn't expect real improvement until he has an offseason to reflect.

Sucker bet - you see who's on the mound for the other guy? No way Nats lose.

Dezo - I wouldn't be surprised if this year ends up being ZNNs best. Not that he's going to be bad - but the Cy Young talk ones are few and far between.

blovy8 - pitching "blinked" but you can't really blame them for not pitching shutout or 1 run games. There's asking for good games and asking for too much. As for the hitting, they need all their bats. Simple as that. If they go into October hurt I don't think they'll last long.

ags - might have a spot in left - depends what they do about LaRoche (they should let him walk). If they do, age and likely contract probably means no Josh. I just don't see it. Think they'd rather try to move Bryce over and fill the hole in center.

cass - You do know the shutdown isn't for bringing him back in October, right? It's for bringing him back next spring.

I wouldn't be surprised if Strasburg doesn't "look ready to sit" until after the next Braves series.

Donald said...

They're just pulling your chain with that bet because the Nats don't play tonight. Next game is tomorrow in Miami.

DezoPenguin said...

Personally, I'd prefer to see them go after Michael Bourn in the offseason. Plus defense in CF, plus a high OBP basestealing threat to plug that leadoff hole we've had for ages. Of course, that means either picking LaRoche or Morse while Bryce moves to LF, or keeping LaRoche and Morse while Bryce gets more seasoning in the minors (unfortunately, I think that particular horse has left the stable). Probably I'd keep LaRoche and try to move Morse to try to add depth or as part of a package to upgrade the 4th-5th starter roles (we'll have to replace EJax in any case).

eatthelump said...

Zimmerman in a Boswell article:

“Things have changed a little bit,” he said, chuckling. “Sometimes you have to have some rough times to get to the best times. Some people avoid the bad times or never get to the good ones at all. But it’s sweeter, even better, for those of us who went through it.

“If we take care of business [in the regular season], we have a chance to do something special. Once you get there, anything can happen, as we saw last year. Get hot at the right time and roll with it. All our injuries have kind of helped us, actually. Half of us haven’t even played three-quarters of a season. ”

Note that Zimmerman avoided all of the locker room jinx words, including “playoffs,” “division title,” and “possible home-field advantage through the World Series.”

eatthelump said...

DEZO - Bourn's price just went way up with that Boston trade... either Boston will have legitimate interest along with the Phillies, or Boras will make sure the Nats BELIEVE the SAWX are players... I'm not sure I want Bourn on a monster contract, and that is exactly what Boras is gonna ask for. I hope if we don't get him, he winds up in BOS, not in PHI.

Froggy said...

An almost I told you so comment last Thursday re the Phillies.

Bottom line, without a Big bat like a Fielder or Josh Hamilton, our hitting isn't good enough to withstand not having Morse, Desmond, etc AND carry our pitching into and through the playoffs. Jackson, and Detwiler just aren't consistent enough.

Finally, (although I'm certain it won't be the last time I say this) it is pure fantasy to think we can go it with Strasburg on the bench.

Fantasy or Fizzled's ego.

Froggy said...

Rizzo's ego. (Damn android!)

cass said...

Harper -

I was referring not to Rizzo's planned shutdown of Strasburg once he's hit his limit, but rather to some of the ideas people have proposed for shutting Strasburg down now and then bringing him back in late September or October. Not only are there arm stress issues with these proposed plans, but also the fact that Strasburg is needed now.

Of course, if the Nats had swept the Phillies instead, we might be looking at less meaningful games right now.

Kenny B. said...

Still pretty impressive that we've lost 4 in a row and still own the best record in the Majors. I'll take it. Right the ship in Miami (hard though it may be to get an offense going there) and we can get back to cruising.

DezoPenguin said...


I don't mind paying high for Bourn if it's on a 4-5-year deal (especially since he's a speed guy whose performance is more likely to taper off with age, so those silly 7+ year deals should be right out). Rizzo's already proven that he's not dumb enough to outbid the willfully stupid (see: Fielder, Prince).

I don't see the Sox as serious contenders for Bourn, though. They didn't just eject $260 million in salary and bad contracts just to take on new bad contracts to replace them. (I'm also not quite sure why everybody in the baseball media assumes that once his contract is done, Ellsbury will toss Boston the double middle finger and hit the road, speaking of Beantown CFs...) What I really don't want to see is him end up back in ATL or, as you say, in Philly, where every dollar we didn't spend on him will end up hurting us for years to come.

NoVA said...

Rizzo should dump Werth like Boston dumped Crawford. Horrible series. How many K's did he have? And the baserunning mess yesterday was because he doesn't run hard. Clear his contract so that we can sign Bourne and Hamilton.

Froggy said...

I like Werth but he did have a bad series. That said the Lerners would have to eat a lot of salary in a trade, so that probably won't happen. Besides he is a better CF than Harper.

Angels12 said...

I don't have a positive vibe this slump is done. Sure, Strasburg is 2-0 against the Marlins this year and hasn't given up a run in 18 innings's praying for a few timely hits Tuesday night

blovy8 said...

Win the next two and this all goes away. Until the next loss, I guess. Werth is hitting 300 and still getting his walks, one baserunning brain fart, and tough games against a few great pitchers doesn't mean much to me. He actually is a pretty good leadoff hitter, albeit a very expensive one. But the same thing will probably apply with Bourn, he's a very good player, but he's going to get paid like a GREAT player for a couple of years too many. There are few bargains for healthy, very good players who still have something left. Every year, someone will go that extra amount, and I doubt you will see the Nats do it again soon, unless they're extending one of the starting pitchers. T

blovy8 said...

I know they're not perfect, but yes, you can blame Gio for serving up a meatball pitch for a homer, and Zimmermann for melting down after Flores dropped one. Halladay and Lee didn't do that. Or when we started getting to Lee a bit, we ran our way out of it, which is the kind of thing the OPPOSING team had been doing most of the year.