Survive, survive, survive and advance.
As much as we'd like to read into yesterday's win that the Nats turned a corner that's just not the truth. The Nats didn't win yesterday as much as survive. This was the big offensive outburst :
10-bounce seeing eye single
They pecked away got a BIG error and thanks to Fister et al. that was enough.
But the lineup remains cold. Werth, LaRoche, and Ramos all have a single in 3 games. Desmond has two singles. In terms of power the leaders go Bryce, then Asdrubal Cabrera, then Nate Schieholtz. That needs to be corrected if the Nats hope to take the next two.
Not that sneaking by with no offense is impossible. The Nats pitching has been excellent. Strasburg was ok, ZNN and Fister great. Thorton, Blevins, Clippard all look in top form. The Giants aren't exactly an offensive powerhouse and you'd have to say they to survived to win a game, too. But you have to figure in one of the next two the Giants will hit at least as well as they did in Game 1, which was simply "like a normal team" and the Nats will have to match them. Today's the best bet with the Gio on the mound.
Do I sound pessimistic? Well, the Nats are down 2-1 and have no margin for error. We're not exactly on the sunnyside of the street right now. Still, if you want a positive spin, yesterday's game was a game Giants fans really wanted. Bumgarner is their ace in the hole and they have no confidence in Vogelsong. Despite the odds being in their favor overall, having to only win one, it feels worse because they won't be favored again. They look ahead and see two games that if they go to form, they will lose. The momentum has turned... but only just so. A few scoreless innings for the Nats or an early run by the Giants and the weight of the world is right back on the Nats.
Other notes :
Even more than yesterday it's all hands on deck today. You designate one guy as the Game 5 starter (probably ZNN because he deserves it and because he'd be on normal rest for it) and everyone else is a viable option. Strasburg is the first long relief option, even Fister can pitch if it comes down to it. There's a day off after this so don't worry about wearing anyone out.
Is this enough to make Boz like Bryce Harper? After Game 1 he all but blamed Bryce for the loss for not backing up Span as well as he thought he should, something that registered to nearly no one else. After Game 2, he would continue to mention guys "swinging for fences in 10 innings of walk-off spots", something that easily reads as a veiled swipe at Bryce. There isn't anything he can pick at for Game 3 so do we read some actual unequivocal praise? (answer - Yes!)
You're going to miss Clippard when he's gone.
You know who didn't K yesterday? Desmond. How about that?