The Nats won 2 out of 3 like they should have but it wasn't that simple because the Nats long ride around .500 has driven all their fans insane. Let me show you what I saw this weekend
Friday - After being absolutely shut down by Matt Harvey for seven innings, the Nats come back against the Mets pen and take the game 6-4. Davey hailed it as the Nats "biggest win of the year". "They watched Drew Storen pitch a spotless ninth and felt, at least for a moment, that the dominance they experienced on so many occasions in 2012 had made an appearance." "...they had just captured their biggest win yet." "Indeed, this was the kind of victory that was commonplace in 2012"
Saturday - Dillon Gee stymies the Nats, while Taylor Jordan fails to impress and Stammen blows up. Nats lose 5-1. It was "one of their shabbiest losses. A stirring comeback Friday night became a diversion on the way back to the familiar territory of a .500 record.". "The season is about to hit the halfway point, and the World Series contender remains stuck in neutral." "With half a year’s body of work, they are what they are: .500."
Sunday - The Nats bats bust loose while Gio cruises. They crush the Mets 13-2. "The preseason favorites have taken a bumpy path, but they have won seven of 11 games...Sunday provided plenty of evidence that the Nationals can make the second half far more enjoyable than the first" "Tomorrow they'll get their most-important player back after a lengthy absence.When Bryce Harper has been in the Nationals' lineup, they've gone 25-18, a .581 winning percentage that over a full season equates to 94 wins."
And that's just the beat reporters!
Who has it right in all this? A player? Yep, a player.
“It just kind of shows you that each game is completely individual and it doesn’t really matter,” Zimmerman said. “I think last night’s win was great, but that doesn’t really get us anything today.”Damn straight Ryan.
Ok, it's not so much that Kilgore, Zuckerman, and Comak are completely caught up in this mess of a season. It's more of a situation where they need to write daily stories about the Nats and the Nats aren't providing them with any larger narrative. There are no streaks, no hills and valleys. It's been a steady shot down Route 500 for a month now. How many times can you write the same "We don't know why we aren't winning more" story? The answer is a few times fewer than they already have. Exaggerating the impact of what they are looking at today is the only way to break out of that mind-numbing; "Might have something going on...nope Nats can't get over the hump" cycle that's been on repeat-peat-peat-peat-peat for a month now.
How flat has this team been? Since May 21st the Nats have had one losing streak of more than 2 games and one winning streak of more than 2 games. They were both only 3 games long and they took place back to back, immediately mitigating any impact the first streak might have had.
Seriously in this environment you grasp onto to anything that looks like momentum, not because you believe it exists, but you just want this damn team to win a bunch in a row or lose a bunch in a row.
Now they do have their chance though. Bryce is back and more importantly they have 7 games vs a Brewers team that looks like they've given up on the season, and a Padres team that has watched their small moment in the sun cloud up.* They need to take 5 of these games at least. Do that and you're looking at a team that has gone 12-6 in their last 18. That's a bonafide winning stretch you can be proud of! Like the ones real teams have!
But if they lose those couple games early, don't take it to be a sign that the season is over. Wait for the stand to play out. And if they start 3-0 don't start clearing your October schedule. Wait for the stand to play out. The beat guys have to look at the season a game at a time, you don't.
*The Padres will probably have their best player Everth Cabrera back in time for the Nats series though, so they'll be a little better than they are showing right now.