Nationals Baseball: Sweep! Now stop playing like that!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweep! Now stop playing like that!

The Nats lazily beat up on the poor Astros like a Top 5 NCAA basketball team winning a couple back to back 10 pt games vs small in-state colleges.  They gave Houston a thrill just by letting them play the Nats!  Now their coaches can go to free agents and say "You get to play good teams - like the Nationals!  People pay attention to those games.  You could catch someone's eye and maybe get to play professionally!"  It was unimpressive, ugly, and immediately forgotten about if the Nats play well tonight against a Diamondbacks team that isn't an elaborate practical joke being played out by Jim Crane. All you'll see is four wins, nothing telling.

The Nats didn't quite score as many runs as I would have liked (17 when I was looking for 20+) but in the end it didn't matter because, let's say it together, the pitching is that good.  9 runs in 5 games. Pretty damn impressive

Other things of note
  • Best record!
  • One game off biggest division lead in baseball! 
  • maybe Beast Mode is back? As much as people wanted to convince themselves otherwise, before mid-July there was no Beast Mode.  Morse was rocking a isoSLG of .120  which is like slap-hitting middle infielder level.  If you believed that was Beast Mode you must have said "Ooooh that ball went really far for a single!" a lot.   But since mid July he's rocking a .250 isoSLG which is Top 20 in baseball.  Sure that counts last night but pull that away and he was still at .191 which is like Top 50.  Still good.  He's rounding into form.
As for the playoffs let's go through this again - we should do this every Friday because it's so fun. The Nats are currently 69-43.  If they go .500 the rest of the way (and why would they - they are 69-43) they would finish 94-68.   In order to miss the playoffs the Braves would have to go 31-20, the Pirates would have to go 32-18 AND then Cardinals would have to go 34-16 in their final games. One is a maybe. Three? Think of it this way, the Nats have the best record in baseball and their best 50 game stretch has been 31-19.  The best 50 game stretch in baseball this year (by the Yankees, by the way) was 36-14.  Again - one might happen, if it does you hope it's not the Braves.  And again again - this is if the Nats go .500!

I hope you printed them out when I told you to.


byrd04003 said...

Did a quick calc on streaks this year:

Nats worst 50 game stretch: 26-24

Pirates Best 50 Game stretch: 34-16

Cardinals: 34-16

Braves: 35-15

If those teams don't make up some ground on the Nats they will have to play better than their best while the Nats do worse than their worst.

Donald said...

At this point, it's clear that the Nats aren't going to miss the playoffs because other teams passed them by. The only way the Nats miss out is if they collapse, which doesn't seem particularly likely because...the pitching is that good.

Given how average they looked against the Astros, I'm mildly nervous about the next 6 games. But Arizona is all but eliminated and the series in SF has Gio, Zimm and Strasburg. Can't see getting swept there. 4-2 would be fine with me.

KingCranium said...

When did previous Nationals teams win their 69th game? the 2011 season, they won their 69th game on September 13. the 2010 season, they won their 69th game on Oct. 3rd.

...the 2009 and 2008 Nationals did not win 69 games. the 2007 season, they won their 69th game on September 23. the 2006 season, they won their 69th game on September 25. the 2005 season, they won their 69th game on August 31.

WiredHK said...

Unfortunately, the Braves are every bit as hot as the Nats right now. Odd to think this with 50 games left, but the division race really will come down to those six remaining games against one another. Split 'em or better and I see the Nats as a lock to win the division. Just about that simple.

And now a side note about ZNN - the guy is an Ace. He's now 2nd in the NL in WAR and ERA, and 5th in WHIP. He isn't a big K guy but who cares? Looking at his no decisions this year, he had at least 7 that he pitched really, really well in and 1 where he deserved a loss and didn't get one. If he just picks up 3-4 of those 7 deserving W's, my guess is he'd be in the top 3 discussion for Cy Young. Instead, I almost never see him even mentioned. I love the guy...soapbox session done. :)

Jeff Hayes said...

Baseball Prospectus predicts that the Braves will make up 2.5 games of the 4.5 game gap betwen us by the end of the season. So send me the link and I'll purchase the playoff tickets today.

Okechukwu Oboh said...

Sorry, I made a calculation error. They would finish 9 games behind the BEST RECORD EVER. Sorry for the panic, everybody.

blovy8 said...

Zimmermann is the secret weapon. The innings limit for Strasburg, has hidden the careful usage DJ has employed with him.

blovy8 said...

What's more, it will continue, because Dickey has been the story most of the year, and if the Reds win their division, it's a pretty sure thing Cueto will win Cy Young. But the Nats have the pitching, regardless.

Ben said...

Pretty surreal that 100 wins is attainable, makes me wonder what the all-time fastest turnaround (100 losses to 100 wins) teams are to put that potential achievement in perspective.

My exhaustive 5 minutes of research reveals it took the braves 5 years and the A's and Rays just missed accomplishing it in 4 and 2 years respectively (I can't think of any other likely candidates in the last few decades).

Anonymous said...

5 and 2 the rest of the road trip brings us to 30 games over .500! Sure was nice seeing that 70 in the win column this morning and a fine Sweetspot article to boot. Wonder how "good" our pitching would be with 2 years ago's defense?


Froggy said...

Last night was a spanking. Straus was ridiculous. With Werth back and the Beast in full mode, our 2-7 have to be one of the scariest lineups in baseball. And with Bernadina, Moore, and Tracy off the's almost not fair.

I think the Nats playoff destiny are in the hands of Ejax and Det (and yes, ZNN once Straus gets shut down) for the rest of the year. Tonight and tomorrows games could be the hinge for the rest of the season.

To your points about the Braves, Pirates, the Cardinals ALL having to win more going down the stretch, I like our odds.