Nationals Baseball: Easy Peasy

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Easy Peasy

The Nats beat the Mets last night. The Mets beat the Mets last night. Hard to win a game 2 teams against one.

This is why I said I still would have the Nats for the NL East even if the Mets swept 'em. The Nats are just a fundamentally better team. What is most apparent is how Bryce in the line-up changes everything. Beyond that the line-ups aren't all that dissimilar (right now). A couple decent bats, a couple ok ones, lots of issues. But Bryce... you have to think about him constantly. How do I pitch to the guys in front of him? Do I intentionally walk him? Do I unintentionally walk him? Do I challenge him? If he gets on base then suddenly your options to the next batter are limited. He's a speed bump for any pitcher trying to cruise through the Nats line-up.

The Mets have nothing close to that. What they do have is pitchers, but as we well know pitchers can be a persnickety bunch. Matt Harvey is not happy because he's not on a strict 5-day rotation and he pitched poorly to start last night. If the Mets don't have the starter going well then, you might as well change the channel. They had Eric Campbell playing first for god's sake. Matt Harvey drove in the only runs last night and no one was surprised. They are 4 for their last 72 with RISP. No I didn't type that incorrectly. 4 for 72.  The defense can be iffy and it was.  It was just a team failure.

And that's the 2nd best team in the NL East.

Still here the Nats are - a mere 3 games ahead of them closing in on 100 games into the season. You can look at the Mets and be surprised they are where they are (and fairly - they actually have been on the lucky side this year). You can look at the Nats and say "Jesus, guys. You are on an 89-90 win pace. Get it together". You should probably do both.

The Nats don't need to put away the Mets here. This Mets team isn't catching the Nats barring major injury or surprise trade. But I want them to do it. I want it for the obvious reason of putting your closest competitor in the rear-view ASAP. I also want it because I want to see the Nats of 2015 that I expected to see and that Nats team wouldn't be fumbling trying to distance themselves from a team who might not make the 2nd Wild Card, injuries or not.

deGrom tonight. He's the Mets All-Star. Beat him with a minor leaguer. Crush him. End this middling start to the year and begin the 2nd half run we all want to see.

27 comments:

Carl said...

At the start of the game last night I tweeted that despite all the pessimism about the offense, I figured something weird and good would happen, like "a Taylor HR."

Never did I think it would be as weird as a Desmond HR. Like everyone, I hope the convenient "turning point" narrative is correct. On the other hand, it could be an excuse to continue to play him while he hits like ass, even when Rendon comes back.

Clip&Store said...

Looks like I sold high on Harper perfectly a few weeks ago. Hasn't been bad or anything by any means.. But has basically been "pretty good" /"above average " outside those few weeks got stretch.. But I sold him at like #1 or top 3 player when he's been far from that lately value.. So basically I squeezed most the juice out of the lemon and left whatever for the next guy

Harper said...

Carl - I don't see a Desmond HR off a middle relief guy as all that weird. He's bad, he's not dead. Now off of deGrom? Cats & Dogs living together stuff.

C&S - let's say you gave up on Bryce 3 weeks ago. He's hit .313 / .468 / .604 since then. Not top 3 no, but stretched out for year - Top 10? Top 20? You better have gotten a lot back.

Bjd1207 said...

@Clip&Store - Yea Harper's got it right, only way to evaluate is to know what you got for him. I know he's been better than just about every hitter on my team even for this last 3 week stretch

Clip&Store said...

Well I gave

harp, Tyson Ross, wacha, pence, vogelsong

Got

Abreu, Calhoun, vmart, longo, cueto.

Thoughts? This was 2-3 weeks ago

Bjd1207 said...

Well vmart's been making you look like a genius, but then again Cueto's had a rough couple (on my team as well). Hard to evaluate with so many pieces in the mix, it's quite a trade for a fantasy league!

Gave up alot of pitching on your part, assuming you can afford that? Calhoun/Pence I'd probably call a wash. Pretty solid haul of position players though if you really needed to fill out your ranks. And if Cueto's traded to a contender his value goes way up.

Matt Williams said...

Using Storen on Monday and not on Sunday makes sense, right? Of course it does. I'm the "Manager of the Year"!

Harper said...

MW - Exactly. You knew if Storen was not available for today that the pen would have blow the 5-run lead in the 9th creating a huge comeback win for the Mets that would propel them to the NL East title. What foresight!

SM said...

Is there some kind of Merkle's Law or something that applies to sports in general? Or is it just human nature?

It seems that any home team's loss generates far more (often extraneous) commentary than a win
(i.e., Nats beat Mets, but that 9th inning on Sunday . . .)

I'm not criticizing in any way. Just pondering the human universe.

Clip&Store said...

Actually Calhoun has been on fire too. And I figured with my pitching depth cueto > wacha + Ross

Bjd1207 said...

@MW - Seriously! I can't understand why he doesn't see the difference between high-leverage and low-leverage situations. Like just use that terminology instead of "save situation" and it becomes wayyyy easier to see who you should use in which scenario.

Anonymous said...

There's always roster space/ league standings consideration, but that return feels a bit light even considering that you probably only gave up3 players you cared about.

Although I'm just not a fan of cashinging in dollars for quarters, if you replaced marginal players with solid guys its solid.

Michael said...

Oh baby, someone sounds like a Nats fan.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Detroit could be looking to move Cespedes. Should the Nats go after a big bat like that?

John C. said...

You can look at the Nats and say "Jesus, guys. You are on an 89-90 win pace. Get it together".

Well, yes, you could. But if you had told me that the Nats would be missing four of their top five hitters + Strasburg and Stammen I would have been concerned even before you added that Fister, Desmond and Ramos would be having seasons between mediocre and awful. Being on an 89-90 win pace is pretty impressive, given what's actually happened.

No, it's not the "ZOMG they could win 100+ games" team that was so chattered about in the offseason. But 100+ wins was the "upside/if everything goes right" result. But pretending that the injuries didn't happen is kind of silly when deciding to be disappointed with the team. Be disappointed with the season? Sure, I guess. But injury is not a "geez, guys, get it together" thing." They are a "get healthy" thing.

Clip&Store said...

Right, it's twelve team mixed but 27 or so roster spots and very competitive, so there's not much quality depth and whenever someone is called up or hot a manager scoops them up quickly

Harper said...

JC - if you laid this out
Werth, Zimm, Rendon, out for injury. Span misses a chunk too.
Strasburg misses some starts, Stammen out for year
Espinosa, Escobar have career years at plate. Robinson is a good hitter too
Bryce and Max fight for best in the majors at their position

I think 89/90 win pace is not impressive. Those underperformances you note, the bullpen issues, that's where the "get it together" comes from. If guys did as expected, hell if they just weren't awful, Nats would still be a mid 90s win team because of Bryce and Max and the surprises.

Harper said...

I guess another way to say it is if this team was 50-41 and Ian, Ramos were ok and the pitching staff was doing well, I wouldn't say get it together. That would just be the team performing as should. But the emergence of Bryce, the dominance of Max, these surprise seasons at the plate, the Nats were given gifts for 90 games and instead of using that to separate themselves from the Mets they needed them just to keep a bit ahead.

Chaz R said...

Not so Easy Peasy for the next couple of weeks. Has anyone seen Verducci's article on pitching: http://www.si.com/mlb/2015/07/21/strike-zone-jordy-mercer-mets-risp?xid=nl_siextra

blovy8 said...

Yeah, but you don't get to cherry pick surprises. Desmond and Strasburg sucking this badly have to be considered surprises too. Even Ramos to an extent given his past history. There wasn't enough history to know much at all about how Taylor or Robinson would do, plus, if they were awful, you'd expect a line of someone else's under-performing guys to get their shots like the "one big hit" Huggla is getting.

John C. said...

And you get the surprises from Robinson and Escobar with the bat, sure - but they are both pretty rotten defensively and on the basepaths. Zimmerman was playing excellent defense at first base and has always been underrated as a baserunner as well (and of course Rendon is excellent in all phases of the game). It's facile and misleading to say well, you get the unexpected bats of Escobar and Robinson, therefore the team isn't that much worse.

John C. said...

Reading internet/media punditry and comment threads, one is reminded of the famous quote:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

BxJaycobb said...

Actually that OPS would still be the best in baseball. It's just not the best in baseball by 100 points.

Anonymous said...

Ian Desmond going for the strikeout records would be entertaining if he didn't do it so often with men on base.

Kelly Nelson said...

If the Nationals bullpen were a band, there would be three guys on bass.

Froggy said...

Hey Matt Williams...Way to turn a 1 run game into a laugher. Dude, 4 runs again in the 9th? That's some pretty stinky lineup/bullpen management tonight (and Sunday).

Besides Bryce guaranteed to bat third, do you have a manatee that picks the rest of the order.

Stinky

John O'Connor said...

The last three games have demonstrated that our manager is blissfully unaware that the ninth inning of games where you are behind by one run are more important than the ninth inning of games where you are ahead by five runs.