Nationals Baseball: 100 games

Monday, June 10, 2013

100 games

What do the Nats need to do to make the playoffs?

To win the Division : let's say, for the moment, 96 games (the Braves are on 100 win pace right now but to beat that the Nats would have to play like the best team ever here on out. Let's give the Nats a reachable goal here) To get to 96 the Nats would have to win 65 more games in the next 100, or a 105 win pace.  That's a tall order.  It can be done sure, but there basically can't be a bad two-week period. One single more .500 level month would likely do this dream in.

To win a WC based on last year / history : 89 would have done it last year and history tells us that that number is a virtual lock in all but the rarest years. That's another 58 wins, or a 94 win pace. Basically the Nats would have to play as well as they did last year (without the smidge of luck they had in close games) for the rest of the season. We know it's possible. They did it over 162 just last year. But you see that it's a high hurdle here as well.

To win a WC based on current projections : Uh oh. Here's where the big problem lies. To win the WC right now based on current projections the Nats would need... 96 wins. That's how much we said they needed to maybe win the division and then we said that was pretty close to over with. Here are the current paces of the playoff teams ahead of the Nats so far.

Cards : 105 wins
Braves : 100 wins
D-backs : 90 wins

Cincy : 95 wins
Pirates : 95 wins
Giants : 86 wins
Rockies : 86 wins

Can these teams keep it up? Well with Ryan Braun likely about to be suspended for a huge chunk of the season the bottom of the NL Central is terrible. I'm not sure that I'd expect 3 teams to win 95 games in the same division but they don't have to necessarily cool down. Really what this means is that hosting a WC looks like as daunting a task as winning the division. The Cards are so far ahead you can't see them finishing outside of the 90s in wins, and if one of the Pirates and Reds falter to give the Nats an easier path to the WC well then the other one is likely the beneficiary of that and is continuing to win a bunch of games.

On the plus side the NL West does not look to be a big impediment to the Nats, or at least it shouldn't be if the Nats are serious about making the playoffs. Here's the fun thing then. The Nats play the Rockies 7 times in the next 13 games. The best thing the Nats could do is crush those Rockies, knocking them as far from contention as possible while helping their own cause. They don't get the same chance with anyone else in front of them before the trade deadline (they play ARI 3 times and the Pirates 4 times, but catch PIT at the very end of July when they may have already made some moves)  In the next two+ weeks they have an opportunity to knock a team out of the game, right before they may start thinking about adding players to get better. They need to do that.

Other quick thoughts :

On Rendon for Espy : Espinosa needed to go. He needs to have surgery. I hope he realizes that a healthy Espy is not the loser in a situation with Rendon called up and hitting well. No the loser is either an asking for way too much Desmond, or more likely 2015 LaRoche. This is a defensive minded team. If Espy get healthy and hits like he can they'll be a place for him and his "not a FA until 2017" butt on this squad

On Marrero for Moore : About damn time. Marrero also gives the Nats very little. He's not a plus defender. He's got no speed and little patience. But he can hit for some pop and he makes better contact.  Moore needed to go. He hadn't hit well in months, including last year. Chris was the obvious choice to fill that bench spot.

On Cristian Garcia being injured : TOLD YOU. Please. If this guy completes more than one season as a major league starter before he's done I'll be shocked.

On Bryce Harper's knee stuff : They need Bryce. They do not win enough games to make the playoffs without him. That's it.


Ben said...

You can actually physically feel that something is missing from the Nats when you watch them without Bryce Harper. Quite unfortunate

Clip&Store said...

Well in regards to your last piece, we should find out a good measurement of his fate any hour/minute now.

As far as the playoffs, to be honest, the reality of the situation made it sound much worse than i thought. I know teams like SF, DET, PHI years ago, etc, would hover around .500 for quite some time before finally hitting their stride. Obviously those were different teams than ours, but hopefully the same principle can apply. You just gotta hope everyone gets healthy and reverts to the mean/their talent potential (for those who haven't established a mean, which is quite a few actually, such as Strasburg, Harper, etc). Because quite honestly outside of JZ and maybe Det when he was healthy, nobody is outperforming themselves.

Sirc said...

Do the Nats utterly ignore statistics on certain players? The team's talk about Tyler Moore last season, all offseason, and this season seems to ignore the statistical facts:

He had a stupendous 3 weeks in June 2012. The entire rest of his production supports that he can't play at the big league level and that his 2013 numbers accurately represent the player that he is rather than a regression.

Also he is lousy in the outfield, so I wish they'd stop referring to him as a valuable substitute at multiple positions. He isn't.

Lombo stink in LF too btw. WTF is up with them collecting infielders for the bench? Where is Eury Perez? Corey Brown? They can at least field their positions.

No more infielders playing the outfield plz k thx.

Clip&Store said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miles Treacy said...

I also am curious about bringing up Marrero over a true outfield backup. Brown is hitting decent in AAA, although last year that didn't quite translate into MLB production, but it is pretty rough trying to watch Lombo play left. He doesn't have a good arm and his range is shaky. Hopefully Berni takes the Twins series and mimicks his second half of last year and we won't need to worry about Lombo filling in (assuming Harper isn't coming back for a while).

Anonymous said...

Well at the Pirates have a history the last couple of years of being good the first half of the season and then going in the tank the 2nd half.

If Harper doesn't come back (shutter), maybe put Rendon in left and Lombo at 2nd. Not easy or fair to Rendon, but there aren't many good options if the Shark doesn't pick it up.

Harper said...

Ben - there's certainly an electricity missing.

C&S - It's possible. That's all I'll give you. Don't think that's enough to brush aside the fact that it usually doesn't happen though. Just because their have been great comebacks doesn't make great comebacks likely. The human body is remarkable. Man has survived many a great fall. Don't go throwing yourself off of buildings though.

Sirc - Well those 3 weeks did happen so you have to take them into account. You can't ignore them either. But that's missing your point. They were selectively looking at his stats rather than putting the proper view on the more recent stats at the ending of last year sending up huge warning flags that should have made them pull the plug 6 weeks ago.

Lombo in LF everyday was crazy, but he has a spot on the team - contact bat, versatile glove. As for why no Eury or brown? Not sure. Blood debt to Chad tracy?

C&S - I don't see anything? You are going cRazzyY!

Miles - Age may be part of it (Brown isn't so much a prospect) Since the swap was Moore for Marrero, I think the likely scenario was replacing one power RHB with another.

Harper said...

Anon - if Bryce doesn't come back and the team is still in it come All-Star break you deal for a quick fix. Someone about to become a FA. What about that Mark Morce guy in Seattle?

Sirc said...

I'm actually off of my previous "Lombo = bad" stance. That was mostly about manning second base full time. His value is real as a backup, short term replacement and pinch hitter. He's been the best pinch hitter on the team this season.

Rendon is a project at second, but he's already an impact presence in the lineup. His patience is refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I dont get the Garcia injured comment, Harper. You sent me off to the googles for a fruitless 5 minutes in the middle of the workday. Did something happen since pitching well against Pawtucket on Sat night?

Harper said...

Sirc - Lombo could be the worst starter on a team with no holes. A mascot if you will. The Nats aren't a team with no holes.

Rendon is a good hitter, but he's likely just that. Right now a good bat, not a great one.

Anon - Kind of a comment on him coming back after being on the DL for so long. He can pitch. He can't stay healthy. Don't want people to jump on this guys starter bandwagon ever.

Clip&Store said...

I must be seeing things, i could have sworn i saw a completely unrelated post there!

Clip&Store said...

It said something about checking your website that it wasn't running right, then said something about RSS then it said "here's my website, check it out" (or thereabouts) with a link

Anonymous said...

Oooh - a new Boswell article. What paragraph of your takedown are you on, Harper? How many words do you devote to cherrypicking the 78 Yankees, only a top 2 or 3 alltime comeback?