Nationals Baseball: Keeping on Sweeping

Friday, August 30, 2013

Keeping on Sweeping

Swept the Marlins, as was needed, now a simple 2-1 series win at home puts the Nats where they "should be" after this homestand. Yes, yes, we'd all prefer a sweep but I don't change goals mid-stream. If they do better, great, but I'm not going to be down on the Nats if they happen to lose one game this weekend.  (Two on the other hand...)

Be forewarned, it's more of a fight that you might think this series would be. The Mets are throwing out Gee, Wheeler, and Niese, all of who have been decent recently. Niese was damned spectacular the other night. The Nats are throwing ZNN, Haren and Ohlendorf. All good pitchers, but all recently imperfect.

Why have the Nats gotten hot? The pitching has been pretty consistent (ok it looks better the past week but it's the Marlins people, their batting practice machine pitched a 2-hit shutout against them.) But the hitting has progressively gotten hotter and hotter

Past Month : .283 / .356 /. 438
Past 2 weeks : .298 / .368 / .461
Past week :  .321 / .375 / .494

There are a couple guys not doing so hot (Ramos, LaRoche) but the hot guys are suuuuuuper hot.  Desmond, Bryce, Werth, and Span (yes, Span!) in the past week combined hitting .440. Combined! They still don't really walk so the OBP isn't much higher than that, but you know what? Who cares how many times you walk when you are hitting .440? Basically half the lineup is hitting as well as they possibly could right now and you can see the difference that makes. There's no pitching around the one hot guy. No rest except at the very tail end of the lineup at 8 & 9 which is frankly par for course on most teams.

Can they keep this up? Nope. But can maybe Ramos or LaRoche or Zimm get this hot for a couple weeks when these guys cool down? Yep.  It's not full year sustainable, but it doesn't have to be.  Just a few more weeks will do.


Donald said...

Not sure what your expectations are, but I think the Nats need to gain 1 game against Cincinnati this series. If the Nats lose 1 that means the Reds need to go 1-2 in Colorado. Tonight's the Reds big game with Arroyo on the mound. If they lose this one, they could easily go 1-2.

cass said...

The analysis is so simple now. They need to win and keep winning. The Reds need to lose. That's it.

The Nats are hot. They're playing at home. Harvey ain't pitching. Time to put Gee in his place. Let's sweep the Mets.

Btw, Bryce Harper has been having Don't Stop Believing as one of his walk-up songs. I think that's what it was. The message was unmistakable and so typically Bryce.

So drop some more bombs and blow some more kisses, Bryce. Sweep the Mets.

cass said...

Oh, and does anyone else have to fight off that little voice in your head that whispers "PEDs" when you see a guy in his mid-30s crushing the ball consistently? I'm not making accusations, but just the fact that the question enters my mind makes me a little sad.

In completely separate news, Jayson Werth is 3rd in the NL in wOBA. Just barely ahead of Votto. Never saw that coming.

Desmond leads the team in fWAR, though, and by a fair margin. He's become one of the best players in the league.

cass said...

Correction: He's third in wRC+, not wOBA.

Chaz R said...

The hitting has been great and fun to watch too. Let's see how they do against good pitching though.

I still believe.

bdrube said...

On Werth and PEDs--his stats this year are not that far out of line with what he did his last year in Philly. He had an off season in 2011 and his broken wrist sapped his power when he returned from the DL last year.

He also did not have more than 500PAs in a season until he was 30. As such a late bloomer, I would imagine he still has a lot left in the tank despite being 34. It also took him a month to return from an injury this year that they originally only thought was going to keep him out two weeks.

All of these things are not proof of anything, of course, been tend in my mind to lessen any suspicion that Werth is on the juice.

Harper said...

Donald - I tend to think in the long ranges so my goal is to be 3 out by the 15th. How they get there I don't really care but they need to have put them in "series" distance by the end of the easy stretch.

cass - If they do drop out of the playoffs does he change it to "Everybody Hurts" or "Even the Losers"?

as for Werth, I'm a sucker and tend to never think PEDs

Desmond really has bounced back from a slow start back to "best SS not nicknamed Tulo" in the NL (Yes I know Hanley hits better - I don't buy the d rankings on him this year)

Chaz R - Marlins dont' have bad pitching but yeah I think this is a better challenge.

bdrube - You convinced me. He's on something. Wait, was that what you were trying to do?

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong but I think the Nationals got a new hitting coach back in June and maybe just maybe they are learning from him. It seems all of the hot players have started to develop a different swing then from the beginning of the season. I like how everyone's mind goes right to PEDs though.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest Harper, I dont like the pitching matchups that much in this Mets series.

JDBrew said...

Not disagreeing with the hitting statistics, and I get the point about the hitting becoming increasingly more effective. But wouldn't the "past week" stat line skew the previous lines in to looking better then they were if not taking in to account the past week. I guess my question is, if not for last week would the previous stat lines look a lot more pedestrian?

Zimmerman11 said...

Is Span hurt? Why are we starting Hairston???

Zimmerman11 said...

Span has a 13 game hit streak working and Davey sits him down so Bryce Harper can play CF with a gimpy knee???? REALLY? RREEAALLYY??

Andreas said...

Marlin is my favorite group, i hope marlin is the winner..