Nationals Baseball: SEASON CHANGING WIN!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Says the simpleton. Of course some were convinced that the debacle loss to the Braves in mid-July last year, when the team was up 9-0 going into the final innings and ended up losing 11-10 in extras, was going to spiral the team down out of the playoffs. (they went 45-26 after that) There are no season changing wins (well... you know what I mean). There are only wins that take place at the beginning of a series of many wins that in retrospect people feel ok about assigning importance to. In other words a season changing win can only exist with multiple other wins happening. They are all collectively season changing.

And you know what - here's the chance for a season changing set of wins. 14 of the next 17 at home. the three away against the Mets. What do they need to do here? The first 7 I'll say 4-3 at home. That's a nice ramp up to winning 2 out of 3 at the Mets and taking 5 out of 7 vs the Brewers and surging Padres (that's right - check them out).  That's a 11-6 set and a 46-42 record heading into the last set of games before the All-Star break.

This isn't pennant winning baseball.They don't get a winning June here (they'd finish 13-13 through their supposedly easiest month). Given that it would likely take 3 great months to take the NL East crown.  But it is playoff baseball.  Keep this kind of modest winning going and they'll be in the mix.

They didn't turn the corner with the Mets and Twins at home (partially because of weather). They didn't do it on the road trip through teams that were bad last year so some were saying they must be bad this year. If they don't do it over the next 17, if they go something like 8-9 or worse, then pack it up. See you in 2014.


Chaz R said...

I was just happy to see Gio do well... again. The pitching, both starters and pen, looks like it is where it needs to be. The additions of the new young lefties has worked well. The bats need just a little lift to be adequate enough, I think. Harper will most certainly help here.

Do you think Rizzo will make any deals before the deadline to strengthen the offense or Haren's position in the rotation?

Erich said...

@ Chaz R:

I suspect there will be trade options out there. I hope that the Nationals at least consider something, but the next stretch really determines how aggressive they should be. Unless Haren changes his performance, I think the Nationals need to kick the tires on a guy in the system as a satisfactory 5th starter or make a trade.

Due to the 2nd wild card, I think it's going to be close to the deadline before teams are cemented as buyers/sellers. We'll have to see what is out there then.

Clip&Store said...

I agree that this is pretty close to the last hurrah, or however its spelled. Of course, it wouldn't shock me at all if they finish somewhere in the middle of what you said, to be "just close enough but not there" and be stuck at a fork in the road. As far as i see it, do well or suck these few weeks so we can move some pieces and work for the future (look for suitors for Soriano or a bullpen arm..possibly in a package.. for a very good prospect, move LaRoche for a prospect/few pieces.

Sirc said...

It was a fun win last night. 10 of those innings were as expected, then there was some fun.

Care to comment on Davey's characterization of the Nats' struggles as normal for a "young team?" It irked me. I mean, Harper and Rendon are young. A couple of the pitchers, I suppose. And some bench players. But overall I would not label the Nats young, particularly in their lineup.

Werth and LaRoche are old. Span, Zim, Desmond, and Suzuki are all veterans in their late 20s, most likely with fewer seasons ahead than behind. There isn't upside in the everyday players outside of Rendon and Bryce. Those other guys are who they are, and most are going to be less productive from now on.

They aren't a "young team."

Erich said...


Well, they are the 5th youngest team in baseball averaging 27.8 years. For perspective, Toronto is the oldest at 30.7 and Atlanta is the youngest at 27.0. But I see your point as there aren't a ton of rookies playing everyday positions. I think Davey's characterization of the team struggling because they are young is trying to create your own narrative. They are young, but so are the Braves. Toronto is old, why aren't they playing better. (Now I'm drawing inappropriate narratives from team age.)

Sirc said...


I agree.

Though that "5th youngest team in baseball" stat is what specifically irks me, since there are few players on the roster below the median who are expected to produce.

But that's true of most teams.

Froggy said...

Bottom line is we need to win 6 to 7 out of every 10 going forward to have a shot at the postseason. Admittedly a tall order but possible. That means no more Haren. Time to give that. Babe Ruth windup guy, Ohlendorf his shot. I mean if he pitches marginally better than Haren its win / win, no?

Chaz R said...

Did you guys see the comment from Rizzo about having fired hitting coaches in the past, but he wasn't considering firing Eckstein... yet?

Davey backed Eckstein and said if Eckstein goes, he might as well be fired too.

Kenny B. said...

To what extent is that average age pulled down by Bryce Harper's only being 20 years old? If he were, say, 24, how many spots do we move in the average age department? I don't really care that much, just vaguely curious.

Also, among young players with potential, there is Ramos, who is 25. Although I suspect he will never play a full season without injury.

Danny Espinosa is 26, and we've discussed his status ad nauseum. Desmond is 27, and seems to have had a breakout in 2012 that he is more or less sustaining (and I like the way he seems to be coming out as a clubhouse leader this year; plus he hit a freaking 11th inning grand slam last night, so he's on my good list).

For my money, the guys I want to see when I go to the park, I mean the TRUE Nats to me (non-pitchers), are Zimmerman, Harper, and Desmond (with an honorable mention to Bernadina, who I believe is the longest tenured National). Espinosa sort of, though he has lost some appeal this season. Haven't had time to fall in love with Rendon yet, but so far I'm pleased.

As to pitchers, I love them all except Haren, the failed expensive rent-a-pitcher. I really wish we had kept Lannan, just because he was such a core guy for so long. Other than that, I feel pretty good about the mostly homegrown rotation. Leave them alone except for that last spot.

So I'm willing so see anyone not on my list dealt if it makes sense.

Kenny B. said...

Here's a thought: What if we tried to convert Ramos to 1B? That might increase his longevity and give him more opportunities to shine offensively.

Just thinking outside the box here.

Froggy said...

Kenny B, were you thinking after La Roche's contract is up or sooner? I think Zimmy is next in line for conversion to first and Rendon to 3b. Personally I don't think Ramos is a good enough hitter to take up that spot in the order but it might extend his career by reducing the beating he takes behind the plate.

Harper,curious if there is any historical prference for a lefty verses righthander at first?

DezoPenguin said...

Best-case IF scenario: Espi gets surgery, rehabs, returns to 2011 level of performance while Rendon continues to hit, we move Zim to 1B, Rendon to 3rd, and flip LaRoche to someone needing a 1B bat. Worst-case scenario, Espi never fully recovers, Rendon settles into "nothing special" terrain, and LaRoche tails off (or we simply need him too much next year to trade him).

Unfortunately for the rotation, Amaro keeps insisting that Philly won't trade Lee, and even if he reversed course on that he wouldn't be likely to send him to a division rival and we don't have the prospects to offer for such an exorbitant buy. The other SP options available, unfortunately, are a lot of "just a guy" sorts such as Garza, Feldman, Nolasco--an improvement on Haren but probably the marginal improvement would probably not be worth what we'd give up. Call me pessimistic there.