The Nats are good.
The Nats won last night. They now have the best record in baseball. Early? Sure. 8 games is only 5% of a baseball season, but what have you seen that actually bothers you? The tendency to have issues hitting good pitching? Guess what. Everyone has that problem and on a usual night the Nats have the arms to make it a battle. The injuries? OK the injuries are an issue already sapping the Nats depth but at least the Nats had the depth this year, right?
Last year the Nats would have already been staring at a black hole in the 8th spot in the lineup with Solano likely replacing Ramos. Zimmerman's issues would have them staring at a whole lot of Lombo. Lombo is ok used very sporadically but is a scary proposition when used every day*. Last year the first non-Top 5 start was Zach Duke. The next one was Nate Karns. Karns might be a better "prospect" than Jordan or Roark (might - he's getting killed in AAA this year), but Jordan and Roark are better "pitchers right now" and the Nats are a team to win right now.
This is the team Nats fans thought they were getting last year before the wrong injuries and poor back-up planning brought the team down. Enjoy it. (seriously enjoy it now - one more injury and I can't promise such a rosy outlook)
Last night notes
Williams makes stupid lineups but this team is too good for it to matter. But don't just laugh it off. A stupide lineup in the playoffs can matter.
Williams also over manages but he doesn't do it badly if that makes any sense. He does too much but everything he does seems defensible. In other words, if he runs into a scenario where "If you do X, things might get better", he does X. It's like the "might" doesn't matter to him. Still because it's defensible he will run himself into some decisions that make sense to do early, like pulling ZNN a few batters before he may have done conventionally. ZNN didn't have it and it was very close to being a throw in the towel game.
Speaking of ZNN, that was a stinker wasn't it? He does have these sort of games. He had about 4 last year. What's really rare is the fact he threw less than 60% of his pitches for strikes. (He averages around 68%) The last time he did that was May 6th, 2012. One game fluke? We certainly hope so.
A twitter follower wanted me to comment on how ZNN was so hot in Spring Training and everyone was like "he's the best" but he's thrown out one good, but short, outing and one terrible one. But I'm way too classy to say, once again, Spring Training stats don't matter. Really why would I bother harping on the fact that Spring Training stats don't matter at this point anyway? It just wouldn't make sense to say Spring Training stats don't matter two weeks into the season when that's in the past. So I'm not going to say Spring Training stats don't matter. Sorry.
Ok one time SPRING TRAINING STATS DON'T MATTER**. Not even just a couple weeks into the season.
*Lombo is hitting .321 for the O's. That sounds good but he's getting on base at a .321 clip. That's not good. He's slugging .321. That's bad. He's actually below average (#140 or so out of 205) in OPS right now. With a .321 batting average.
**OK, that's a simplification but since the things that do matter, like pitch velocity and slugging, only might matter in some cases it's far better just to take the above to heart.