Nationals Baseball: Devastating

Friday, October 12, 2012

Devastating

Its the flip side to what I said yesterday. For a team to stare elimination in the face and survive, another team must have success in their grasp only to watch it slip away at the last moment. The Nats went from the survivor to the eliminated in one night.

Go ahead and wallow, swear, pointlessly kick inanimate objects, whatever gets you through the weekend. There will be plenty of time later for reflection. For realizing that the season was a surprise success, and that next season looks bright. There will be months. For now, if you want, Be pissed. Ignore the rest of the playoffs. Whatever.

You can blame a lot of thing for the loss. The dead middle innings. Gio's start. Clippard's inability to hold the game. But other than the obvious Storen flame-out, I still point to Davey's use of Edwin Jackson as the turning point. In what had to be fueled by ZNN's dominating turn yesterday, Davey turned to a starting pitcher, infamous for his bad first innings, and asked him to get 3 outs vs the Cards top of the line-up. Edwin would end up only giving up one run but went through enough batters that the heart of the Cards lineup would be ensured another time up. All other moves were standard, and in fact hard to argue with (other than maybe letting Storen pitch to Kozma). This was Davey stepping outside the usual to do something no one agreed with. It was maddening.

Of course this wasn't just a game. It was a series. And it was a series that featured far more failures than successes. At the plate only Zimm and Desmond had good series. Morse was ok, Werth and Suzuki acceptable. The rest were different levels of bad. Detwiler was great, Clippard, Garcia ok. The rest again just different levels of failure. That is the shocking part. Gio, ZNN, Storen, Burnett, Stammen, Gonzo, E Jax ALL pitching poorly? Only Detwiler pitching good? Never would have expected that, even against a lineup like the Cards.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Nationals did not play bad as you portray them. They were a worthy opponent. It was a game that made history.
And I say that - hopefully without sounding arrogant - living in the Saint Louis area.

Marc Gunther said...

I love Davey but I think he made at least four questionable decisions in this game. (1) Left Gio in too long. (2) Brought in EJacks. Why not Mattheus? (3) Chose not to pinch hit for the helpless Espinosa late in the game. (4) Failed to walk Kozma in the 9th after the steal (and why did Storen again failed to hold a runner?). This last one was worst. Cards had just a weak-hitting backup catcher on the bench. Motte would have been out of the game.

Then again, Davey was probably in shock. I know I was.

Gotta respect and admire the Cards, especially the way they take pitchers deep into counts.

Wonderful season, bitter end.

Anonymous said...

It hurts.

Froggy said...

Brutal, devastating...no more words to describe the pain.

Once Ejax came in I turned to my seat mates and said, 'this is going to go one of two ways' and I just had this sinking feeling that Davey was playing a hunch instead of with his head. Yeah, sure a lot of players didn't show up this post season, but Ejax...well...what can we say?

I know I'm gonna get pounced on for saying this, but it just proves my point about Strasburg, without him in the rotation / pen, our relievers had to eat up too many innings. Can you imagine what it would have been like to bring Him into the 8th?

Kenny B. said...

Obviously the worst part about this is the Nats elimination, but the second worst thing is that the playoffs are now nothing but the usual suspects. There are no interesting, unlikely, or exciting teams left to root for. No (interesting) history will be made this year. I'm not going to ignore the rest of the playoffs out of some kind of spite, I'm going to ignore them because they're damn boring now.

WiredHK said...

I'm with Kenny B, nothing surprising left in the playoffs. Pretty sad.

The Ejax move was really poor. That inning could have been even worse, but it had really detrimental effects anyway, as you note, Harper.

Those Molina and Freese ABs in the 9th will haunt my dreams for a long, long time....

Harper said...

Anon - The Nats had one good offensive game and one good starting pitching performance. You can try to make it look like the Cards won an epic series against a team at the top of their game, but it really wasn't that. Not putting down the Cards, they had their own issues, but they overcame them. That's how it usually works. Truly great series are rare.

Marc Gunther - Yeah, after time that "no IBB" looks worse and worse. I didn't think of it at the time (until I saw Motte come up to the plate) so like you said - maybe they just missed it in the collapse.

Anon - it will until after the series is in the rearview.

Froggy - I don't think Stras would have made that much of a difference. If he pitched it's likely Detwiler wouldn't and Detwiler had the best performance.

Kenny B / Wired HK - Yes the only way it could have been more rote is if the Rangers were playing the Yankees. Maybe toss the Phillies in there somewhere.

While of course I'll root for the Yanks, the obvious choice for John Q Baseballfanek (he's Czech) is the Tigers. No WS in 28 years, One in 43.

Harper said...

Anon - The Nats had one good offensive game and one good starting pitching performance. You can try to make it look like the Cards won an epic series against a team at the top of their game, but it really wasn't that. Not putting down the Cards, they had their own issues, but they overcame them. That's how it usually works. Truly great series are rare.

Marc Gunther - Yeah, after time that "no IBB" looks worse and worse. I didn't think of it at the time (until I saw Motte come up to the plate) so like you said - maybe they just missed it in the collapse.

Anon - it will until after the series is in the rearview.

Froggy - I don't think Stras would have made that much of a difference. If he pitched it's likely Detwiler wouldn't and Detwiler had the best performance.

Kenny B / Wired HK - Yes the only way it could have been more rote is if the Rangers were playing the Yankees. Maybe toss the Phillies in there somewhere.

While of course I'll root for the Yanks, the obvious choice for John Q Baseballfanek (he's Czech) is the Tigers. No WS in 28 years, One in 43.

Mythical Monkey said...

I will say this about all the second guessing -- getting to the ninth with a two-run lead and your presumably lights-out closer on the mound is pretty much what you're aiming for when the game starts. I mean, sure, you'd prefer a five-run lead, but you can make yourself crazy saying "what-if," especially since you can't know in this universe what would have happened if Davey had made other choices.

I'll say one other thing. I've been to probably 200 baseball games in my life, including a couple of playoff games in Baltimore back in '96 when I had no emotional dog in the hunt. And I was unprepared for how physically and emotionally exhausting three home playoff games in three days were. The only thing I could compare it to was the Auburn-Alabama game -- which if you know your SEC football, you know is pure gut-wrenching insanity (or was when I was still young enough to care). And that was just once a year. This was three times in three days. I had always sort of dismissed the notion that a team has to get a year of playoff experience under its belt before they put together a run, but jeepers, I know I was blindsided.

Still, they came within one strike of moving on. One should resist the temptation to make more of it than it was.

Chaz R said...

I have to second Mythical Monkey's comments... I still am messed up over Friday night. Gio didn't have his "A" game, but he kept us in it. The Cards pitching was solid, and their bats persistent. But we still had them into the 9th. Yea, certainly Davey's decision to use EJax is a head-scratcher. Yea, Clip gave up a home run. But in the end, it was our usual solid studly closer Storen that couldn't get a strike... OUCH that hurts!

Hellalone said...

It hurts.