Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - The Party's Over.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Monday Quickie - The Party's Over.

At least we can class this ending up a bit.

It's done. Over. Finit.

After a minor stumble, the Reds didn't fold. (In fact they played really, really well) And with their back against the wall, against subpar competition, the Nats are playing very well, but not the best any team has played this year.

Eight games out. 20 to play. You not only need an epic historic surge or meltdown but you need a bit of unexpectedly good or poor play as well. At the same time as the Nats schedule advantage ends? Sorry, no dice.

Catch the Reds? Nope - easy schedule from here on out. Catch the Cardinals? 9.5 games out? Are you serious? Catch the Pirates? First off, SHAME ON YOU. No one wants to do that. It'd be like getting the promotion you wanted because the good samaritan father of five in line for it was diagnosed ALS. But no, they have 10 games up vs Cubs and Padres. Also - Haren vs Wheeler is something that will happen for a team supposedly fighting for a playoff spot so no.  It's over. It's over when we say it's over and dammit I hope to god you join me in saying it's over.

What happens now? A slow death march as the team realizes what we know. Then comes the excuses (we were hurt!) and blaming of easy targets (it was Espy! it was Davey! it was Storen!) and empty responsibility taking which never exceeds saying "I'm the boss so I have to do a better job" whilst lighting a cigar with a $100 bill and booking a flight to see if Mark Grace can possibly be wooed over.

Tomorrow we come to bury the Nats, not to praise them. Really, really, not to praise them.


cass said...

Doesn't Espy and is magical disappearing shoulder injury deserve a lot of the blame? If he came back in May after surgery and was his old self, wouldn't that be a few wins right there?

It seems a lot of balls sneak past Rendon that Espi would've handled.

m j b said...

A little negative. Two years ago the Nats showed good improvement. Last year they outperformed, this year under for the most part.

Going into next year they'll have the benefit of realistic expectations and more experience. Nothing to be ashamed of here.

bdrube said...

I knew it was over when the team cratered coming out of the All Star break, which was really the last opportunity they had to turn on the gas and compete for the division title. That was when there should have been a sense of urgency to save what was very much in danger of becoming a lost season.

The good news is they still have a strong core of mostly young talent. Harper, Rendon and Ramos may well be the key next year. If they can all stay healthy and produce as they would seem capable of producing, the lineup could instantly revert from being awful to pretty darn good.

Strasburger said...

20 in a row!!!!

Doug S said...

To me this team profiles a bit like the D-Backs. Hanging around the playoffs most years and occasionally (let's hope) winning it all. But not like the Braves or Yankees for whom missing the postseason is a departure from the norm. The 2 things that worry me going forward are the lack of depth in the farm system and the TV situation. Can the TV deal generate enough to upgrade the club? This shouldn't be an issue in a large, properous market like DC - but it is.

Hoo said...

Lot of tough calls b/c of the everyday 8, who do you move? Zim/Werth/Harper are obviously here for a while. LaRoche is movable but it's not like there's a lot of better candidates. I guess you could target a great 2b, Move Rendon to 3rd and LaRoche to bench? or Move Rendon back to AAA at third to move Zim later?

I wouldn't be shocked to see opening day have the usual 8 but a much deeper bench. The team banks on Ramos being healthy and a bench that can hit more than .230. When Lombo is your best bench player....

Nats are on the very tough plateau where they have a lot of good to very good players, but not many elite guys that can carry the team to the promised land. So team will likely have to ditch a good player or players for a shot at upgrading.

Donald said...

I agree with Hoo that the Nats are pretty much locked into their current roster for next year. But they could still be much better if:
1) Zimm's shoulder gets stronger and he recovers his arm and range.
2) Ramos stays healthy.
3) Harper continues to progress and stays healthy.
4) Span hits like he has the past month and not the first 3 months.

But without the depth, if Zimm, Ramos, Harper, Werth, Desmond gets hurt, we could be in for another 2013.

Where they can make their biggest moves are in the rotation. The question is if they'll do that or hope that some combination of Detwiler, Taylor Jordan, Roark, Ohlendorf will be good enough for the 4-5 spots.

Bote Man said...

It's over now. It has been over for weeks. Glad to see reality finally rear its ugly head around here.

Strasburger said...

Actually, statistically, it's over when there is zero chance on winning. Right now its hovering around 2 Percent.

At least they are making an effort instead of folding. Would've been nice to see this about 50 games earlier. Or 90.

Chaz R said...

What a disappointing season. I was SO looking forward to 2013 Opening Day after that kick-in-the-gut Game 5 last October. I think I am mostly mad and severely disappointed in Haren, Espi, LaRoche, and Davey. Davey because he allowed the under-performance to continue for SO long before making only a few changes.

Sadly, it seems we faced with many of the same questions from the end of last year:

Who's our back of rotation pitchers?
Who's playing 2B and 1B?
Who's our closer?
Plus, the new big question is how can the bench be improved?

At least I think we have answered the CF and leadoff question from last year. Although Span under-performed offensively for most of the year, he is in line for Gold Glove in CF and has really come around as a solid leadoff man.

Wally said...

I agree with bdrube that it basically felt over when they flopped after the ASB.

So do you root for them to be in the bottom 15 to get a protected FA pick and better draft slot, or to maximize wins? I guess that I go for the most wins; never feels right to root for losing.

Agree with the other comments that it will be a difficult offseason. Lot's of tough decisions to make.

Chris Needham said...

It's bottom 10 to get a protected pick now. So there's no chance of that happening.

Anonymous said...

Did the Braves fans (or Pirates fans for that matter) wish nothing but the best for the Nats last year? Heck no, so a Pirates collapse is OK by me if it gets the Nats into the playoffs. Very unlikely, but I won't feel bad about it.

Froggy said...

Hey all you smart guys, it ain't over until we are mathematically eliminated, which hasn't happened yet.

Regardless, these are professional baseball players who will play hard to the finish line. If they win every game here on out and still don't make it so be it. Which is statistically possible if Haren doesn't pitch any more games!

One game at a time boys...

Kenny B. said...

This season was a terribly unpleasant reality check. Let's just hope they finish more than a couple of games above .500 and carry the late-season momentum through to next year. Even though the season was pretty much a long, pathetic slog, at least they can still close out on a positive note and leave us all with a glimmer of hope for next season.

And besides, the 2013 Nats have done well to mentally prepare me for the almost-certain-to-disappoint Washington football season.

D. Espinosa said...

I'm not impressed.

Nattydread said...

Play offs or no, I want to see them finish off the season the way they've been playing.

A 20 game winning streak would turn heads...

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