Nationals Baseball: Sweep the Phillies!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sweep the Phillies!

Here are the matchups

Phillies @ Nats
Kendrick v Strasburg
Hamels v Gonzalez
Cloyd v Zimmermann

Nats have the edge in every match-up, though it's not like Hamels is a pushover, or Kendrick isn't good. Strasburg though, has been Strasburg, and Gio has been one of the hottest pitchers in the league. Potential for the sweep is there, but 2-1 for the Nats is a must.

Prediction : Nats sweep. Phillies are dead in the water. The one guy that has been on and off, ZNN pitches against a guy the Nats should pound. Hamels gem is the biggest threat.

Mariners @ Cardinals
Iwakuma v Wainwright
Paxton v Wacha
Ramirez v Miller

The Mariners three have actually all settled into a nice groove. Wainwright finally pitched a great game after a couple shaky outings. Other Cardinal youngsters are doing well.

Prediction : Cards Sweep. Nats aren't catching the Cardinals.

Cubs @ Pirates
Arrieta v Morton
Baker v Cole
Wood v Liriano

Pirates have the edge in the first two (Baker has a 0.00 ERA but one start total) Liriano has been not up to snuff recently while Wood has looked pretty good.

Prediction : Pirates 2 of 3. Fall a game out of the NL Central lead, but Nats chances of catching them for WC moves close to the "not going to happen" realm as they'd have 13 games to make up 7.

Reds @ Brewers
Latos v Lohse
Bailey v Hellweg
Arroyo v Gallardo

Normally you'd like the Lohse matchup but he has not been pitching well. Bailey has been as hot as Gio vs someone who may never start 20 games in the majors.. The Arroyo Gallardo matchup though, that tilts to the Brew Crew.

Prediction : Reds 2 of 3.  4.5 back as Reds fans begin to panic as they realize they are almost as close to the NL Central lead (3.5 games) they've been focused on, as they are to being out of the playoffs entirely.

Then the real test for the Nats begins. Four series left. Two against two of the best teams in the NL (Braves and Cards) one against the pretty good D-Backs who have a decent chance at a sweep this weekend themselves vs the Rockies to keep their even crazier dream alive. To get back into this the Nats needed to dominate the bad teams and be .500 versus the good ones and get a little luck.  A sweep vs the Phillies would complete the first requirement (even a 2-1 would still be ok if they can make up a game on the Reds). The last one is out of their hands. The second requirement is going to make or break this miracle run.


cass said...

I think they have to win five out of their next six games, but much depends upon the Reds. I think we're toast if we lose two total against the Phillies and Braves, though. There's a reason our playoff odds are at 2.5%.

Sweeping the Phillies gives a tiny bit of breathing room for the Braves series. But we got our big three pitching and the bats are hot. These are games we can win.

And in reply to the Danny Espinosa comment in the last thread, I think it's very difficult for an outside observer to say much. From our perspective, it seems obvious that his rotator cuff is torn. It sapped his power and all of his offensive ability. The numbers and the comments at the time make that clear as day.

And yet the team and the player both insist publicly that his rotator cuff is fine. It's hard to believe them, but it seems absolutely unbelievable that he hasn't had surgery on it yet. The situation is incomprehensible to us. We need to know the real facts on his injury and we do not have them.

I don't believe the team, but I also see no reason for them to lie. Baffling, and it quite possibly has cost us the playoffs.

Chris Needham said...

I think the elimination number is 11?

So if they net 3 here (2 Reds W, 1 Nats L), that leaves 8. You'd need the Pirates to take 5/6, which is certainly possible.

Harper said...

cass - you're right the Danny Espinosa things is just flat-out crazy. All his numbers, college right up until last Sept had him pegged as a certain type of hitter. He might have had a bad month in there but it all evened out. We're talking nearly 6 YEARS of baseball here.

The came the injury, and at the time they sure seemed to think it could hurt him. Low and behold, he was a different type of hitter after that. Like a light switch. That CAN'T be a coincidence.

But then everyone, player, organization, acts like it is? They even let Danny try to tweak his swing?

It's mass delusion. There's gotta be a hypnotist on staff or something.

cass/Needham - the problem is with every statement we make about the Nats too much depends on the Reds. Go 2-4 over the next 6 games? DEATH... unless the Reds go 0-6. Go 6-0 over the next 6? BEST TEAM EVER!!!... unless the Reds go 6-0 too. (though the Nats would then be 4.5 from the Pirates I guess)

Chaz R said...

Good posting and assessment Harper. With the matchups and Nats momentum, they could very well sweep the Phillies. The nail biters will be against the Braves, who have owned the Nats, and those pesky Cards who seem to always rain on our hopes.

Froggy said...

GeezUs is Friday the 13th and you have to go and say 'Sweep the Phillies'!? It seems like every time you do that you jinx the club. So how about a little baseball superstition now and again, eh? Do you say: 'looks like he is pitching a no-hitter' after the 5th inning as well? Dang!

As to Danny and his unexplainable dropoff in performance, I think it is obvious something is physically wrong with his wing. Having had four shoulder surgeries myself, I could see something that looked painfully familiar was wrong with Espinosa at the end of last year and said so.

You have to wonder though if Nationals management insisted on surgery and Danny over ruled them. Hey, I'm always looking for a reason to blame Rizzo for something but in this case there are two parties involved, and since Espi is under team control and making close to league minimum I'm sure he was worried about the possibility of a long post surgery rehab and permanently losing his spot on the roster that factored into his decision to try and gut it out.

Now that Harper has jinxed us, I'm hoping the Nats win 2-3 from the Phillies and 2-3 from the Braves. And either Reds or Pirates melt down and we get some help.

Chaz R said...

Good posting and assessment Harper. With the matchups and Nats momentum, they could very well sweep the Phillies. The nail biters will be against the Braves, who have owned the Nats, and those pesky Cards who seem to always rain on our hopes.

Anonymous said...

Here's a hypothetical scenario that shows how tough for the Nats the chances of squeaking into the playoffs are: The Nats go 8-2 in the homestand against the Phils, Cards and Marlins, while the Reds go 3-6 on the road against the Brewers, Astros and Pirates. Then the Nats go 4-2 on the road against the Cards and D-Backs while the Reds, at home go 3-3 against the Mets and Pirates. That leaves the Nats and Reds both with 89 wins. And of course the Nats hold the tie-breaker. While the Nats are obviously playing their best all reason right now, the Reds have shown no sign of letting up.

Miles Treacy said...

Just curious how those playoff odds are calculated. I get they run a program to simulate the remainder of the season, but just to clarify, does that include how poorly the Nats have played thus far against +.500 teams?

Harper said...

Froggy - First time I did it they swept the Padres, 2nd time they didn't sweep the Marlins, 3rd time the won 3 of 4 from the Mets which included a DH. Not quite a jinx.

And yes - I do say he's pitching a no-hitter after 5. I usually say it after 1 if I notice.

Anonymous said...

Why are the posted lineups showing Ross Oh. to be starting and why is Strasburg on the injury report for today listed as day to day? I hate Friday the 13th.

Nattydread said...

One game at a time. (Reds lose) One game at a time.

cass said...

You called it. Jinx. Strasburg scratched. And they're talking about him pitching next Thursday rather than Wednesday as his "next start". I am confused.

I really wish one of the reporters would get to the bottom of this. They've asked and they are skeptical too, but seriously, there's got to be an answer in there. Has he had an MRI on his shoulder recently? How is his bat speed now compared to before the injury? What might make them change their minds? These questions should be asked of the team.

It's quite easy to think that Washington will miss out on playoff baseball because of this craziness and we have a right to know what is going on. Well, maybe we don't, but it'd sure be nice if someone addressed it with something other than a dismissive, "His shoulder is fine." Go on record and say the tear has healed if that's what you mean.

cass said...

We also need to play a game of guessing what new pitch Strasburg was working on. I'm guessing cutter.

Froggy said...

cass-, if the club says anything negative right now about Bryce or Strasburg people won't buy tickets for day to day games, let alone the post season, plain and simple.

If only Harper hadn't jinxed us today...

Shelton Moss said...

Game 1 of 3 down. Nats beat Phillies 6-1, and their playoff chances skyrocket to 5.5%. WHOOOOO HOOOO!

Nattydread said...

Nats beat up on Phillies. Milwaukee follows plan. 4.5 back. That seems a lot closer. Odds are changing big time.

Those 6 games between Pirates and Reds loom very large now.

This is getting interesting.

Nattydread said...

Nats beat up on Phillies. Milwaukee follows plan. 4.5 back. That seems a lot closer. Odds are changing big time.

Those 6 games between Pirates and Reds loom very large now.

This is getting interesting.

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