Nationals Baseball: The last appetizer

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The last appetizer

Nats win, Mets lose. Nats back up 2.

I wish that were the story of the night.

The Mets almost completed a trade for Carlos Gomez (for Zach Wheeler & Wilmer Flores) but it was nixed at the last minute because of injury concerns (could be Gomez' or Wheeler's for all we know right now)

I wish that were the story of the night.

Wilmer Flores got upset, cried on the field, and the whole world wanted to offer their take on how the Mets should have properly handled a guy getting upset because he thought he was traded because the word leaked out to early and how it was an indication of how the franchise was run or machismo in sports or something or other.

Jesus, people. That was the story of the night. Thanks for nothing.

As you can tell, I don't care. He can cry. He's a person. Mets can handle it however they want. Being traded is part of the game and you are well compensated for that possibility. Like an imaginary Oakland there's really no there there. Fin. Let's move on. No? I've gotta suffer through a whole day of hottakes? Oh well, there's always music.

Anyway the Nats did win and like we talked about the focus should be on the three injury returns since their performance is likely to be key down the stretch. If they are close to pre-season expectations the Nats could run away and hide. If they offer muted performances the Nats will still likely pull away from the Mets but it'll take more time. If they struggle the Nats are in for a dogfight. That is unless Bryce Harper becomes ULTRABRYCE again which is what he looked like last night.  He'd been on his longest HR drought of the season (tied with right before he exploded in May) of 9 games. Keep it up Bryce, make everything else moot.

What do I think so far? Well I think it's only been two games (4 for Rendon) so everything is just feeling but I think I like what I've seen from Zimm. There doesn't seem to be an issue driving the ball or moving around. Rendon, I'm not really sure about. Remember he was hitting ok before the injury but he didn't have much power and I'm not seeing that power right now either. Werth? Toast. The next ball he doesn't drive into the ground will be the first one. All in all if these early feeling are right, that'll still probably be enough.

The Nats are still not in "must win" territory but this is a game they really should win, with Max on the mound. The rotation wasn't adjusted so he'd get the Mets so if they can't get a win with him versus the Marlins it'll feel doubly wasted. He has not been particularly sharp in July but not every month can be perfect. I'm not worried... yet. A rough outing versus a usually punchless Marlins team? That would get the mind going places I don't want it to go. On the mound for the Marlins is ol Dan Haren who's had a little bit of a rebirth this season. He's still susceptible to the long ball (paging Dr. Harper. paging Dr. Bryce Harper) because he's spent the year getting guys to hit fly balls outs. It's worked though. Given my general feeling about the Nats pop right now (contained to Desmond and Taylor, who you can pitch to and Bryce who you should pitch around) it may be a long night of nothing fly balls. 

Speaking of Desmond - .387 / .457 / .839 with 4 homers and a triple in his last 9 games. His overall stats still look bad (that'll happen if you have two terrible months) but he's already 2nd on the Nats in homers and I don't know if I'd guarantee that he wouldn't still be there if everyone was healthy. This is why he plays. The Nats need that threat from someone.

28 comments:

Jimmy said...

I can't help but laugh at the Mets. I truly don't know if could ever hate that team they just are too much of a joke. I mean the fact that their ownership was swindled by Bernie Madoff is probably top 5 sports stories ever.

John C. said...

it may be a long night of nothing fly balls.

PSA: It's a 12:00 (Noon) start. By evening the Nats will be landing in NY.

Hey, Storen looked pretty devastated last night, didn't he? Spending his time in the bullpen talking with Papelbon, then coming in for the 8th and blowing away the Marlins 1-2-3 with two K's. Fastball, change and slider were all working. With Janssen settling into the 7th it was certainly a promising start (except for Roark's wobble in the 9th) for the new bullpen regime.

Harper said...

Jimmy - Top 5 ever? That's a little high, don't you think?

John C - Did i mention the game would go 35 innings and Haren would pitch them all? I don't think Storen is happy, but I think he's a very good pitcher and will be fine in the 8th. I think he's probably told himself (and possibly been told) that this is how it's going to be for 2015 and the Nats will re-evaluate into 2016. So it's two months specifically done to make pen better as opposed to looking at multiple years specifically because you blew one game (after closing out 2). Easier to get past in all respects

LetsGoNats said...

Definitely was nice to be reminded (not that I really needed a reminder) of how good Bryce can be. What I was confused about last night is why pitch Storen when you are up by 5? Is he just going to pitch every 8th inning when they have the lead? Then he wont be available for the high leverage situations when you really need him. Or was it just because they scored 2 in the top of the 8th and he was already warmed up so might as well bring him in anyway?

Am I just being nit-picky because I don't trust Matt Williams with the bullpen or do you guys agree with that complaint?

Jimmy said...

@Harper- It's def. fascinating. Maybe 5 is a stretch, though.

Harper said...

LGN _ Drew hadn't pitched since the 22nd so he desperately needed some work. Weird thing was why he didn't pitch the 25th or 26th just for the hell of it. But that's Matt for you.

cass said...

No comments on Matt Williams bringing Storen into a 7-2 game? We thought this bullpen was now Matt-Williams-proof, but it sure doesn't seem like it. How can you use Storen in a blowout?

-

Will Matt Williams ever consider benching Werth in Span comes back healthy and hitting? I think I'd like an outfield of Taylor-Span-Harper best. I know, we still have two more years of Werth so it won't happen. But at some point they have to consider it if Werth is finished. The defensive improvement of Taylor over Werth is so great that Werth would have to definitively hit better than Taylor to deserve the spot but that's just not going to be the case unless he gets back to his old form, which I really doubt.

Bryceroni said...

The reality of the Wilmer Flores situation is that in the modern media world, when bad info gets reported it spreads like wildfire.

Its better to be first and wrong than late and accurate.

I think it was FP who said something during the game last night that papelbon talked to storen before the trade. I'm kinda sceptical about that, but if it happened it was a decent gesture.

WiredHK said...

Can we see if Tom Kohler can be traded to the LOLMets for the next series at least? Bryce must wake up the mornings he is set to face him with the biggest...smile on his face...ever (smile, people, smile!).

The short-term gain for the Nats with the Papelbon deal is nice, I can't see anyone arguing against that fact that knows this team even moderately. The long term implications/impacts will take more time to understand, so we'll see. Winning is always the best deodorant.

And for the love of God, can we get Werth out of the 3-hole while he finds his way back? Taylor, Rendon, Escobar, Harp, Zim, Werth, Desi, Ramos, (SP) should be just fine if MW insists on batting Harp 4th....

Anonymous said...

Maybe Werth could move to manager for the rest of his contract. Take Williams off the bench (and into the street).

blovy8 said...

I can't believe a guy named Wilmer hasn't already had his share of bad info.

SM said...

Wilmer. . . Wilmer . . . Hey, wasn't that the name of the gunsel in the Maltese Falcon? (His gang traded him to the cops and he cried, too.)

Froggy said...

Headline: Gomez' Poor Health Makes A Grown Man Cry On Television

But I still think we need OF insurance and Carlos Gonzalez is hot right now, and the Rockies are looking to unload him.

Just saying

Carl said...

If Werth can adapt to just trying to get on base, draw more walks, like he did when he led off a few years ago, that might not be so bad. "Get on base in front of Harper" should be fairly effective--Werth was on for Harper's HR in the 5th, so there's that.

Robot said...

Anyone know why Werth is out today?

Anonymous said...

@Robot just a vague "getting a day off" in the WaPo lineup notes.

Anonymous said...

Robinson hitting from the left side against Haren. And defensively, not too much of a dropoff.

Robot said...

Thx, Anon(s?)

LetsGoNats said...

How would you all feel if Paul Goldschmidt won the MVP over Harper. I dont think it will happen just because of team record but I also think that is silly. Paul is leading in 2 of the 3 triple crown categories and has more steals and pretty close in everything else. I would still vote for Harper if up to me just was looking at the numbers and thought it might be an interesting debate.

Robot said...

I, for one, would feel sad.

Greg Burnett said...

Yeah but Harper is also close in those 2 categories that Goldschmidt leads while having the better OBP/OPS. I mean anything is possible and Bryce could do another semi-dormant stretch, make it closer, or go beast mode and win in a landslide. It comes back that if Bryce loses because he had a bad last month and Goldschmidt kept trucking then such is life...I just don't think it likely to happen that way.

Anonymous said...

LGN: Goldschmidt is having a fantastic season, but Harper's is still much better. OBPs are functionally equivalent .463 for BH and .464 for PG. PG leads in batting average, .347 to .335, but not by much. Harper has a HUGE lead in SLG, .690 to .605, which means his OPS is higher by approximately the same amount. And these numbers don't factor in that Goldshmidt plays half his games in a hitter's park. WRC+, which does factor that in, has Harper ahead 212 to 184. Goldschmidt has stolen a bunch more bases, but but (1) that doesn't appear to have translated into a huge difference in baserunning value (per fangraphs), and (2) WRC+ takes that into consideration and still likes Harper quite a bit better. Neither gets a lot of value from defense, but a decent-to-good RF is simply more valuable than a decent-to-good 1B.

TLDR: Goldschmidt is fantastic and having an awesome season, but his season is not as good as Bryce's and it's not particularly close.

Anonymous said...

If the move is bothering Storen, he is channeling that rage productively. That 8th inning was vicious. Two Ks on 6 pitches.

Bryceroni said...

Goldy is having a MVP type season, but Harper is having a pantheon type season.

DezoPenguin said...

Rizzo must be feeling happy; that pitching went exactly like he drew it up. Seven shutout from his big off-season acquisition, one shutout from Storen, and one shutout from his big mid-season acquisition. As a bonus, Zim continues to do nice things at the plate in his really small sample-sized return. Now, if the Mets and Padres don't float out to sea before the Pads can squeak out one more out, this will cap off a great afternoon.

Nattydread said...

Rizzo must be feeling pretty smug after that 1-0 win.

Bryceroni said...

Gomez to the stros... Feels like the Nat's dodged a bullet.

Jimmy said...

Also dingers, Bryce is going to have many more dingers. People love dingers.