Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Must win is a little strong

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Quickie - Must win is a little strong

No matter what the outcome of this series I still like the Nats going forward. The worst case scenario, the dreaded sweep, would only put the Nats a game out. The Nats would have guys trickling in, returning from injury, playing roughly as equal schedule as the Mets from here on out. Two games better? Yeah, I think they can do that.

Of course what would be best is for the Nats to crush the Mets' dreams right here and now with a sweep of their own. If you didn't know it, the Nats are kind of in the Mets' fans heads, much like the Braves were to the Nats fans for a couple years. The Mets have not fared well against the Nats during this window, with the Nats holding an enormous 41-15 advantage over the previous three years. 2015 stands at a more even 4-3 Nats edge right now, but Mets fans are expecting the shoe to drop at any minute. I'm not sure about the Mets team, but the Mets' fans would crumple over beating Harvey then DeGrom.

Unfortunately for the Nats they are struggling right now. It's not just Kershaw and Greinke. They are averaging under 3 runs a game in July, scoring 2 runs or fewer in 8 of 13 games. Chris Tillman, Anthony Delscafini, Manny Banuelos, old Jake Peavy and Matt Wisler have all had their turns putting in good performances versus the Nats.  As a team they are hitting a woeful .207 / .272 / .329 for the month (and that's with Bryce still being All-Star good). Some current performances

Clint Robinson : .268 / .348 / .390
Danny Espinosa : .213 / .275 / .362, 14K in 13 games. 

Party might be over for these two. Those aren't unworkable lines as the 7th/8th guy in the line-up but the Nats are scarily depending on these two. Why such dependence?

Michael Taylor : .191 / 224 / .255
Wilson Ramos : .167 / .205 / .238
Ian Desmond : .075 / .116 / .125

That makes the other OF spot be it denDekker (.200 / .250 / .533) or Moore (.241 / .241 / .379) worth considering. Werth is closest to returning, but remember that when Werth was here he was hitting just like the rest of these guys (.208 / .294 / .287).  I know a lot of you think once Rendon comes back and we get rid of Desmond things will be ok, but there is more than just one hole out there right now.

The Nats are going to likely need killer starting performances and Scherzer just went. Gio is up tonight.  He's been pretty good since June started, with only one bad outing, and a couple of solid ones. He's getting a bit more wild to be effective but the Mets aren't a particularly patient team. Joe Ross will likely take the mound in game 2. He's looked good down in AAA and we all remember what he did up in the majors. One thing you should remember though is those last two games were atypical for Ross. He's not a big K guy. If minor leaguers can get bat on his pitches, so should major leaguers. That doesn't mean he can't be very good on the mound though and if there's a team you want to make contact with your pitches it's the punchless Mets. ZNN will pitch game 3 looking to rebound from a blah outing in the lights-out game.

It's a good group. The Nats' starting pitching is very good remember. But it isn't the 1-2-3 I would have liked to see. So normally I wouldn't feel great about getting shutouts but it's the Mets. It took them 18 innings to score 3 runs. They've scored 2 or fewer runs 16 times in their last 26 games. (and in 7 of the other 10 they scored 3 or 4 runs). If there's a team that can be shutdown it's these guys.

Get ready for some tight baseball games this week. 


Carl said...

How frustrating was that 9th inning yesterday? With the top of the order coming up in the bottom half, Greinke to be pulled, and Harper hitting a home run off of Jansen the day before, they have GOT to keep that a 1-0 game. But Storen is the CLOSER and can ONLY pitch in a save situation, so in comes Treinen. And there goes any reasonable shot at winning. Dammit.

G Cracka X said...

The power outage on Friday night was an eerie foreshadowing of the Nats offense in the last two games of the series....a Harper homer was the only thing that kept those two games from being a double O-fer. And now, Harvey-DeGrom-Syndergaard, and then on the road vs. the Pirates. Tall order this week for the Nats

cass said...

Totally agreed with you Carl. Storen should've pitched the 9th no doubt. With one run down and Harper due up next inning, it's practically a tie game.

And can we please send Blake Treinen down? To quote a certain GM, "I'm tired of watching him pitch."

Don't want to use Storen cause he's the closer? That's stupid, but at least use someone good.

Also frustrated that Harper let the Ump get under his skin. Yes, two ball fours were called strikes one and two, but he did not need to swing at the third ball four in the dirt. That definitely would've been called a ball. He's been laying off those pitches but his emotions got the better of him. And yes, it was a bad zone, but it was a bad zone to both teams. Gotta adapt.

Jimmy said...

Meh the mets are terrible, I really don't fear them.

Bote Man said...

So normally I wouldn't feel great about getting shutouts but it's the Mets. It took them 18 innings to score 3 runs. They've scored 2 or fewer runs 16 times in their last 26 games.

So you're saying the Mets are poised to break out and SKOAR SUM RUNZZZ??!!

Gr8day4Bsbll said...

The Mets played 18 innings, over 6 hours, yesterday, and then had a late flight into DC. They used everyone in their pen except Alex Torres, and used their entire bench (even had deGrom pinch hit in the 17th). They will no doubt be plum tired, and will have visions of Nats dominance dancing in their heads all night. This is the game to step on their necks and not let them up -- win this one, and go up 3 on them, and then it matters less what happens the next two games; the worst that can happen is that they leave town still down by 1 game.

Get it done. That is all...

Chaz R said...

Yes, this is about as close to a "must win" as possible at this point in the season, but they have the Pirates coming up for 4 games, then we go up to NY for 3 more with the Mets. So, it's really almost a 6 game series. If they can take 4 of 6, Mets will be demoralized and it will fee like Groundhog Day, as will their fans.

cass said...

Apparently I wasn't the only one tired of watching Blake Treinen pitch.

Doug S said...

I hope I am wrong but i am apprehensive about this series with the Mets. The pitching matchups favor New York - altho fatigue should play a factor tonight. Also, I don't have high hopes for Werth and Z-man. Z-man is still playing through pain and wrist injuries are tough for hitters, e.g. Texeira. I think Rendon will be a big help and you don't have to plug every hole - but Taylor, Ramos and Desmond scare me. It's a line-up with a long tail. But the really scary possibility is that the Mets acquire a major bat at the deadline. With their pitching - Yikes!!!

DezoPenguin said...

Brutal part of the schedule considering the Nats' wobbly offense (seriously, who out there thought we'd be saying things like "Thank God for Yunel Escobar" when this season started, double plays or not) and the lineup of pitchers we're facing and continue to face. Still, we stepped it up on D and got some hits and some luck and hey, we beat Harvey! Even so, the box score is painful to look at. Rendon replacing Desmond will help a lot (unless Williams and Rizzo cling to this "Ian is our shortstop!!!!" line and put Danny back on the bench; even if Danny's slumping he's *still* hitting better than Ian and is worlds better with the glove), but that still leaves den Dekker and Moore in one OF slot, a badly slumping Taylor in another, and even though the catchers are somehow uninjured they still aren't hitting. At least as long as Span is out, we can give Werth the chance to shake off the rust and hopefully show the early part of the season was the bad luck.

Bjd1207 said...

Wasn't Rendon supposed to play alongside Jayson in Syracuse last night or am I making that up?

Anonymous said...

No Rendon played again for Potomac.

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