Nationals Baseball: What the hell. Let's suit back up.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What the hell. Let's suit back up.


OK, not really. I stand by my "season over" call, much like I stood by my call of the Nats taking the NL East on September 5th of last year. As any reasoned mind will tell you it's still a super long shot that the Nats will make the playoffs* The thing is, if you're like me and think the Nats will finish in the 85-86 win range (I've upped it from 84-85 given the recent good play) they were bound to pick up games on whoever WC#2 would be. They'd probably only finish 2-3-4 games out. But like I said before, we have all offseason to talk about what the hell went wrong this year. If we can delay that for another few days with talk of magical playoff runs, why not? It's fun, right?

*Cool Standings likes the Nats the best at a super high 2.8%.  Fangraphs, which everyone was pointing at before shouting "They like us! They're the smartest! They understand upcoming strength of schedule!" proves it understands SOS all right by keeping the Nats down at 1.8% as the Nats play half their remaning games against good to very good teams

 Jayson Werth mentions that he did it in 2007 and he's right. In 2007, the Phillies erased a 7 game lead in the final 17 games to win the NL East. The double miracle, where the Phils went 13-4 and the Mets went 5-12, happened. So what was the circumstances behind that?

First off you had an exceedingly mediocre NL that year. The best team in the NL won a mere 90 games that year. With that being the way it was the Phillies didn't have any big obstacles to going on a winning streak. They got to play the Nats 7 times, along with a mediocre Cardinals team (78 wins) and an average Braves team (78). The Mets would also play an easy schedule but couldn't take advantage of it, losing 5 of 6 to the Nationals. Second, they did play eachother to end the year and yes, the Phillies swept the Mets. Third, at the time the Phillies were slightly underperforming according to their Pythag expecations and the Mets were WAY overperforming (even with the crash the Mets would still overperform for the year). Specifically the Mets starting pitching imploded as Glavine gave up 25 H and 17 runs in his last 3 starts (10.1 IP), while names like Oliver Perez, Phil Humber, Brian Lawrence (not good enough for the Nats!) and Mike Pelfrey had to start and mostly failed.

Do we see any parallels? Unfortunately not. The Nats have a tougher schedule than the Reds and they do not play head to head. This makes catching up much harder. The Reds may fall but can the Nats win 13 games or so against what they have coming up? Go 8-1 versus the easy teams and you still need to go 5-4 versus the Braves, Cards, & D-Backs. The Reds and Nats are for all intents and purposes where they should be, with possibly the Nats slightly overperforming. If anything the Pirates are the team that could come crashing down, but unfortunately have even more of a lead. The Reds pitching staff is also pretty solid and a total implosion would be pretty shocking.

What that all mean? That the odds given the Nats are 2% for a reason. They have a very tough situation in front of them. But hey, if the Nats can win the Haren game tonight, I think I can believe anything can happen.

16 comments:

cass said...

It's not like the Nats are printing out playoff tickets yet or anything. Wait, they are? Oh.

I'm in the same mood as you. 1.8% (I like FG's methods best) is a lot better than the 0.8% it was a couple days ago. Let's keep doubling that percentage every two days until the end of the season. Let's sweep everyone.

Tonight, Haren needs to live a little and come out in an elaborate, figure-skatingesque Heron outfit and announce to the world that he is now Dan Heron. He could even dance around the mound. Would really throw the Mets off their game.

It would also be a good time for Harper to come back and do his Hulk Hogan impression - the young Hogan from the 80's I mean, not the present incarnation. Can't wait till he's healthy enough for Harpermania to start running wild again.

Harper said...

cass - I'd rather he put on an elaborate wig and fake breast outfit ala an 80s sitcom and call himself "Jan Karen". Make big claims about how he was Dan Haren's cousin and he was breaking the gender barrier. If you're going to throw them off go full bore.

I'm afraid we won't see Bryce be Bryce until he gets the offseason to really heal.

Nattydread said...

Seriously. Reds lose 3 straight games to the Cubs? Then ANYTHING can happen.

d28 said...

Those playoff ticket offers must be reserved by September 20, and any the cost of an unused ticket is only good toward next season's plan. Except for the $20 non-refundable fee.

At 1.8% chances, I think I'll at least wait until the 19th before committing! Why pay $20 for nothing?

blovy8 said...

Well, if the Nats have another good week, won't the estimate have to be in the 87-88 win range? There's no shame in sitting in the stands through the end of the game hoping for a win even if the outcome is 98.2 percent certain. I felt like Davey had the right estimate with 90 wins, but maybe it will be more like the average year and 88 or 89 will get them a tie with Cincinnati. The Reds COULD go 6-10 or 7-9, it's not all that crazy. Nobody pitches to Votto anyway. Yeah, right. I am going to wait a bit longer to put that deposit in.

blovy8 said...

Hey d28, I bet the Nats are still in it on the 20th and we both get "stripped" of that that 20 bucks. Then they'll go from about 3 or 4 back at that point to losing a winnable game to the Marlins that weekend, and then losing the Cardinals series - I mean, isn't that the way these things work?

Anonymous said...

Whatever happens its still fun to watch this team play like its capable. Next year just replace Haren, get a veteran left handed reliever, add a bench player with speed ( like bonafacio), and make a decision with adding a regular to go along with Harper, Werth, Span, Desi, Ramos, Zim, you can make that change with either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and fill in the pieces. Please Cano!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Harper, if Davey says we have to win every game, how can you start Haren vs. Wheeler?

Anonymous said...

Last thing Harper, what do you think of Werths season?

Donald said...

Unfortunately, I think the Nats picked a bad year to be mediocre. 88 wins may have been enough to get a wildcard in the past, but I'm not convinced that even 90 wins gets in this year, though that's probably what the Nats have to achieve. That would mean going 15-3. Not very likely.

Chaz R said...

d28, we are with you... not committing to September 19th... why have Rizzo hold on to our money for the next 6 months??!!

Harper said...

ND - Actually not a bad match-up for the Cubs tonight either with Smarzxcjdgah up.

d28 - it'll all fill-up by then! You can't wait!

blovy8 - yeah but a good week upcoming would mean a lot given that it includes the Braves series. That's really when we'll see. Win 4 out of next 5, as you need to and have done recently. Thenprove you can compete with a good team. They haven't done that all year.

Anon - Who is he gonna start? Rizzo hasn't given him a lot of options. Ohlendorf would mean Haren would have to be open to middle relief now and that's dicey if he can accept and perform, where as you know Ross can. Davey's hands are tied. Haren on a short leash is the only call.

Werth's season is amazing. Honestly I don't know what to think of it. A surprise return of his power coupled with just plain hitting better? But nothing that would suggest off the top that it's very fluky (.328 is a little high but only a little).

Donald - I think teams are upping their games, in one part to try to avoid the WC but also with more time in "contention" trying more to win. The result is that the assumption we had going into the 2 WC era where 88 wins would give you a good shot at the playoffs probably doesn't hold true anymore. It might be a 90 win thing. We'll have to keep an eye on this over the next few year.

BlueLoneWolf said...

Haren starting a game is like waiting overnight for what a new dog does while you sleep while in its kennel. You're expecting shit, and are pleasantly surprised if you wake up and the bed's only mildly torn up.

Froggy said...

So, I'm watching the game and after 6 innings I'm thinking...'who is this new pitcher wearing number 15 on his jersey?'

Anonymous said...

Didn't Harper say he would believe anything if Haren won?

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