Nationals Baseball: Series series series

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Series series series

Nats lost. Remember - series at a time. Win tonight. 

On August 16th the Nats fell to 4.5 games back. Since then they won a series in Colorado and they won a series at home versus the Brewers. They are 5-3 in their last eight and if they win tonight against the Padres they'll take their 3rd straight series, going 6 of 9.  That would be great.

On August 16th the Mets lost their 3rd in a row keeping the Nats at 4.5 games out. Since then they split a 2 game set at Baltimore, swept the Rockies, and won the first three in Philadelphia. They are 7-1 and if they win tonight that'll be seven straight wins and a 2nd straight series sweep. That would be near perfect.

Hence the problem with playing catch-up. You can only catch-up if the thing you are chasing goes slower than you. Right now the Mets might be the hottest team in baseball.There's a reason why you have to pick and choose great comebacks through history, not just say "Oh yeah, last year 3 teams came back late from big holes to win their division"

Look on August 16th the Nats were 58-59. If they were to win every series they had left which is the goal I set, let's estimate that by saying they play .667 ball, they go 30-15 to end the year. That's a great finish. They are probably playing the last month and a half better than anyone. 88 wins? I'd take it right now. You can't really ask for more from that point on.

But it's still just 88 wins. An unimpressive total for a year where 98 was thought as a possibility. You can complain why you didn't get more before now (a reminder that games in other months count too!).

Other things - Storen was used to keep the game close! Papelbon was used to keep the game close! Great! Werth batted 2nd... not so much. I won't comment on Werth in the regular lineup too much until the next series is done with because it's hard to judge anything on a couple of games. Maybe he did really get his swing back in Colorado. The Brewers series was fine. However I will say since I never would have had him leadoff he'd still be a question mark batting at the bottom of the line-up, not the top. That's a better place for question marks.


Walter Smythe said...

I don't know why I listen to Matt Williams' post game pressers... but I do. Glutton for punishment, I guess.

Last night was particularly infuriating: We do what we do because it's what we do and we're not going to change! *gum chomp gum chomp* Oh wait, you're going to question ME??? HE'S A GOOD RBI GUY AND HE HITS FIFTH! *gum chomp gum chomp*

A few of my thoughts: Being aggressive and swinging 3-0 is okay, but Jesus, take the scenario into account. When a pitcher is struggling to find the zone, has walked in a runner in the inning, and he takes you 3-0, just take a pitch. If you do decide to hack, make sure you can drive it.

And if you slide into first base in any situation where you aren't trying to avoid a tag, you get benched.

ocw5000 said...

Escobar's two soul-crushing mistakes last night don't change the fact that it was a genius trade by Rizzo. Without it, you're playing Danny "I was a sub-.200 hitter before this year, remember" Espinosa at 3B and Dan "I am still a sub-.200 hitter" Uggla for more than half the season. How many games was Clippard supposed to hold with that lineup? Even with Espinosa's good year, that's all 4 infield spots batting under .250.

Also last night was more proof that the most important inning is usually the 7th. Don't tell MW of course.

Bote Man said...

When a pitcher is struggling to find the zone, has walked in a runner in the inning, and he takes you 3-0, just take a pitch. If you do decide to hack, make sure you can drive it.

This is exactly what Uncle Ray said in his post-game remarks.


Anonymous said...

We in Mets land love Ray Knight too.


Froggy said...

Like I mentioned in a previous thread, As goes Desmond, so goes the Nats.

Tuesday's game won 8-3 Desmond goes 2-4, rbi and NO K's. Last night, Nats lose 5-6 he goes 0-4 with 3 K's.

2nd inning Escobar on base, Desmond 5 pitch AB strikes out swinging on ball 3 sinker.

4th inning no one on, grounds out to SS on first pitch.

6th inning runners on 2nd and 3rd, 5 pitch AB...K's swinging on ball 3 slider

8th inning 4 pitch AB...strikes out swinging.

Alternatively in Tuesday's game he only had one swinging strike, lined out to right, then got 2 hits to the right side. That suggests he had a more patient approach and went with Shields' down and away pitches, no?

JQuest said...

Maybe I missed something, but why do you bring in your long reliever with the pitcher spot due up next. Wouldn't it have made more sense to bring in a guy to close out the inning and then pinch hit and bring in your long relief the next inning?

Anonymous said...

I would like somebody - anybody - to justify Fister batting in the bottom of the fifth down 5-1. Gio was on the ropes through 4 but MW let him come out to start the fifth. Fine. I probably would have done the same thing. The pitcher's spot is up 2nd in the bottom of the 5th. But he has Fister warm up in the top of the inning in case Gio struggles. You simply CANNOT replace Gio with a pitcher expected to go multiple innings in that situation because you ABSOLUTELY MUST use a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 5th. When you're down 4 runs, you cannot give away at bats. Gio gets two outs but puts somebody on after that. MW replaces him. The logic I presume is that Gio hasn't pitched well and Norris owns him so he doesn't want Gio facing Norris. That's fine, although I probably would have let Gio face him.

What MW does is replace Gio with Fister, who he had warming in the 4th and through the 5th. This is indefensible! You simply CANNOT replace Gio with a pitcher expected to go multiple innings in that situation because you ABSOLUTELY MUST use a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 5th. When you're down 4 runs, you cannot give away at bats. I presume MW's thinking was "Fister's my long man, we need the long man here, he's already warm because I had him warming in the 4th because he's the long man and when you're starter falters in the 4th-5th, you use the long man." There's just no excuse for having somebody other than Fister ready to get one or two outs in the 5th in case Gio falters because YOU NEED TO F**CKING PINCH HIT for Gio in the 5th no matter what!!!

This isn't the most devastating error in the sense that it had (or likely had) an impact on the game. It just illustrates that MW doesn't think ahead. He's way out of his element. It also makes me question whether the other coaches in the dugout would be any better -- is somebody not in there telling MW that his ideas are shit?

cass said...

It wasn't the loss so much last night as the nature of the loss. The biggest play of the game was Escobar's game-losing GIDP after Harper's game-saving two-rbi hit. Brutal to have the two most important plays of the game back-to-back going in opposite directions. The WPA graph shows a sharp dagger to the Nats fans hearts at that moment. A fly ball to the outfield and we could've won that game.

Anonymous said...

Bringing in Doug "Meatball" Fister and then letting him hit for himself way behind with the season on the line might be the most unforgivable mistake Big Dummy has made yet in a season where he's made a ton of them. I'm not sure he even knows the definition of urgency, much less has a sense of it.

They can't possibly bring back this idiot, can they? If they do, casual fans will abandon the team in droves.

Harper said...

All -

On Escobar - First - diff't pitcher. This guy didn't walk anyone. But, I'm in agreement that 3-0 I probably want a Yuney taking. Or really I want to foster a thought all year long that if the pitcher is struggling - let him struggle. I'll note though this isn't just MW. This has been the Nats philosophically historically. They like aggressive hitting.

On Fister - indefensible is strong, but Plan A1/A2 would be use short relief - PH/double switch when bringing in Fister. The fact that he went straight to Plan B shows his lack of foresight. Fister himself made sense. "I need someone to burn innings in a game that might be lost" That's Fister in a nutshell to me. It's not just a MW failure though. Where's the bench coach here? It can't only be obvious to us.

ocw - genius trade? I wouldnt go that far. losing clippard helped contribute to the pen implosion. But a positive trade for the Nats - yes.

Froggy - Ross had his number. It'll happen. (more than usual to a free swinger like Desmond)

WiredHK said...

I thought the same thing re: bringing Fister in, letting him hit, etc. If this spot in the game has to be your long man spot (no issues there), there are other things that should be done here (ok, I envision "He's my long man, what am I supposed to do? And my PBN book says we let pitchers hit for themselves until the 6th inning or later, ok? We do not burn up pinch hitters in the 5th! The book says the 6th!").

Double Switch? Use a 1-out reliever, pinch hit normally in the bottom of the inning, then go to Fister? Sacrifice a live chicken for divine intervention, Pedro Cerrano style? Anything? No? Ok.

As for Yunel, he had a bad night. I was initially upset with the swing, as well, but thinking about it more on the drive home, I calmed down a bit. A walk would have helped, but wasn't a cure-all there (just moves winning run to scoring position). The main thing with 1 out and the tying run on 3rd is to get a good pitch to drive. At 3-0, he did get one -- and had he walked, who knows if Zim doesn't immediately fall behind in the count and not get one? The count was favorable to tying the game, he just didn't execute.

I can live with that one, despite the result sucking.

JE34 said...

As a fan, being pleased with "winning a series" is a way to stay sane, to avoid getting wrapped around the axle in a long season, and to keep your expectations in check. Your manager, however, needs to manage every game. Fister hitting for himself looked like a mid-game concession to me: strategically dumb, perhaps with thoughts of "we can still win the series" floating in MW's head.

It's one thing to have winning 2 of every 3 as a goal. It's another thing to have your manager work against you in every third game.

@Walter - not sure how you can watch MW's pressers. I sure can't. I'd rather listen to someone whistle while running a vacuum. I don't think he's ever said anything of substance. He could at least throw a fit, to provide some Dennis Green-esque entertainment for us.

Robot said...

I keep having to remind myself to take this series by series. Even the best team will lose a game here and there (though it would be nice if the Mets would).

Yuney was painful last night, missing the inning-ending double play that was immediately followed by four runs, then killing the comeback with his GIDP on the 3-0 pitch. (I am also still baffled by his playing 3B with Rendon at 2B, but that doesnt appear to be changing). I still think he's a net positive on the year, though. One of the few players hitting consistently. Yeah, they're all singles, but preferable to what we've seen from most of the other starters not named Bryce.

MW continues to make terrible decisions regarding the bullpen. Nothing new there.

SM said...

Oh, boy. The villagers have the torches, pitchforks and scythes out today, ready to storm the castle.

The loss last night exemplified pretty much the entire season, as the range of comments would suggest. I'm curious about 2 things, the first being the Nats' historical philosophy of aggressive hitting. The Blue jays are an aggressive hitting team, too--426 BBs to Nats 404--but they have better hitters. Being aggressive isn't license to swing at everything. Aggressive and smart aren't mutually exclusive. The third base coach should have signalled the "take" sign on Escobar's 3-0 pitch. (Of course, maybe he did.)

The other issue is the bench coach (Randy Knorr). I'd love to see a real discussion on the role of bench coaches. Their real role, who are the best, which ones become managers, which ones tie their careers to managers and follow them around, or why there even are bench coaches, for that matter.

Maybe in the rapidly approaching off-season.

Bote Man said...

Yunel is now a "natural" third baseman. They checked his DNA to prove it.

Anonymous said...

Which is the better nickname for MW--"Big Dummy" or "'Ole PBN"?

Max David said...

Winning series is fine and May & June! When your 5.5 games back in the last week of August, you need to sweep some of these teams (especially bad teams like the Brewers & Padres), not just settle for winning the series 2 of 3. Going 4-2 against the Brewers & Padres (and Pads have really been playing well lately, last Sunday's game against St. Louis notwithstanding) isn't terrible, but at worst they would've lost a game on the Mets and a week on the calendar in that time frame. Had they swept the Brewers (or Padres) at worst they would've only lost a game and possibly 0 games while only losing a week on the calendar. As is: I think it's pretty important they finish these next 4 (1 vs. the Padres, 3 vs. the Marlins) at home 4-0 and then win 2 of 3 in St. Louis, that'll still give them a chance. Lose any of the 4 or get swept in St. Louis and you can stick a fork in them.

2 things I noticed last night which doesn't give me much confidence:
1) Since the 8 game winning streak ended on the second game of the double header June 28, their longest winning streak since was 3 games done on 3 separate occasions (July 3-5; July 11-18 and August 22-25) and have only had two 2 game winning streaks in that time (July 29-30, and August 18-19).
2) Also since June 28, despite playing series against the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Reds, Brewers, Padres, Diamondbacks, and Rockies (twice) all clubs under .500 they have only had 1 sweep in those series against teams under .500. Sure, the Mets can't beat good teams, but they eat these patsies for lunch like a good team should, and there's your 6.5 game difference (and then some). So I have 2 months of data and about 50 games to look at, and what I see, I just don't see a big run in them to overtake the Mets. Hopefully I'm wrong, and I'll GLADLY accept being wrong, but from what I see above I just don't see it happening.

John C. said...

I would recommend not watching the post game press conference at all. MW, like most managers, is out there because he has to be and his goal is to say nothing interesting. Last night's bit exchange about Escobar's swing was simply the manager sticking up for the player. Which most managers do, and frankly I'd prefer a manager do. I have no problem green lighting a player on 3-0, but the player has got to be smart about it. Pick a pitch and a location, and if it's not there let it go. If it's outside, certainly don't try to pull the damned thing, you'll just roll over and ... oh, right. Not that it helps, but a bunch of us in Section 311 were chanting "DO! NOT! SWING!" after the count went 3-0.

So that dumb is on Escobar, a "dumb cake" that he iced with a frosting of stupid by trying to dive into first. WTH? It was a close play, and if he runs through he might actually have beaten the throw. Way to cap a bad night for you, Yunel.

I had no problem at all hooking Gio before his bête noir Norris came up. Yeah Norris "only" hit a single off of him earlier in the game, but that ball was smoked - it just didn't have the loft to go out. In five plate appearances against Gio Norris had three hits - two HRs and the screaming line drive single - and one walk. Yeah, SSS, but it's not the stat line that gets your attention it's the quality of contact - every time Norris has batted against Gio he's walked or crushed the ball. That matchup is why the Padres started Norris at first base for only the 8th time in his career - to make sure they had his bat against his favorite pitcher. That said, with the pitcher's spot up #2 you have to see that coming and do one of two things: double switch Turner for Desmond (who had made the last out the previous inning) or, if you don't like that, have Treinen up to finish the inning and then go to Fister. Having Fister bat there was pretty darn stupid. And by "pretty darn stupid" I mean "not the way that I would have done it."

Harper said...

JE34 - fair enough. Although I'd say he's consistently actively not helping. Whether someone else would I don't know. He's not that far off traditional managerial decisions.

SM - completely true, some teams and players shouldn't be aggressive. It denotes a bat handling skill that not all players have. Yuney does have that though - his K rate is low. I doubt there was a signal to Yuney. He's free to use his best judgment. Problem is when your team has accepted "swing away if you got a good pitch regardless of when in count, doesn't have to be great" that's going to effect your judgment.

Anon #1 - I do like "Ol PBN"

MD - I don't think it's reasonable to say "SWEEP" I just don't. First off they don't need it... yet. Second, the best teams win 60% and we're asking for more. Maybe bad teams skew that a little but not to 100%. The problem right now isn't the Nats it's the Mets. There may come a point where they HAVE to sweep but I don't think it's fair to get mad at them for not doing it. Get mad at them for winning 50% of the first 120 games, not because they couldn't win 75% of last 40.

1) Their starting pitching hasn't been that good so they haven't had as many opportunities for streaks that they had before. Easier that way than through hitting (though it can be done - see Toronto)

2) I see the problem not as no sweeps but as series losses to Braves, Reds, D-backs and Rockies. Sweep a couple of the 2-1 series great you gain a couple games. don't lose series to these jokers and you gain 4. (and yet they sweep SF...)

JC -He then tried to drink that dumb cake with stupid frosting using a straw.

Froggy said...

Harper, you sound like Matt 'That's baseball' Williams: 'Ross had his number.'

Ross had everyone's number last night. The difference was in Desmond's approach / strategy to what Ross was throwing. He doesn't change from AB to AB.

My point was based on watching Desmond's at bats in person is all.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

Here's a play I've been wondering about - haven't seen any commentary about it so far. Top of the fourth, one out, runners on second and third, Solarte flies the second pitch weakly up the first base line in foul territory. Zimmerman gives chase, catches it going away, no chance to turn and throw home. Hedges scores from third for the Padres' fifth run, Solarte out on the sac fly. When it was in the air, my first thought was, "let it drop." If you do that, it's strike one, count is 1-1, and you have another chance at Solarte. True, Solarte had made solid contact on his single in his first at bat but otherwise hadn't shown much Tuesday or Wednesday. So what came to mind were the couple of times when LaRoche let pop bunts drop in order to get the lead runner and/or the DP. I got the feeling that Zim was pressing more than he was thinking - maybe remembering the foul pop in Solarte's third-inning at-bat, the one that Ramos and Escobar lost in the lights. Maybe a minor event in the overall scheme of things but at the end of the day the additional run made a difference, and there were other ways to play it. Anyone agree, or am I overthinking? If the latter... wouldn't be the first time.

John C. said...

Alan, I think Zimmerman made the right play there. If the run on third decides the game, yes, you let the ball drop. But in the 4th inning, what you really want to avoid is the big inning. If you let the ball drop, you still have a significant chance of the run scoring on an out anyway, with the added bonus that a base hit scores both runners and keeps the inning going with just one out. There's a real potential for a crooked number that way. By getting the second out you can stop the bleeding completely by getting the next batter - which (IIRC) they did.

Anonymous said...

@Alan - that's a play that is hindsight's 20-20. Zimm's a smart player (and still a decent defender as that play showed) and he was most likely just thinking that he needed to get the out in the heat of the moment. 99.9% of the time you want the 1st baseman making the foul territory catch, even with a runner on third. He just had too much momentum going the other way to get the ball back in and trying to process that he should let it drop, in the moment, is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

John C. and Anon@1:14 - fair points. And I agree about the hindsight. The big context there has to be Gio's performance, which is clearly shaky (he's four runs down after the third), so it makes sense that getting him out of the inning is a priority. They did in fact get the next batter (the artist formerly known as BJ Upton) on a five-pitch strikeout looking. After him was Kemp, who had already doubled in two runs, so... yeah... get the out.

Am really just looking for tea leaves to read... or deck chairs to rearrange...

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried. Harper will hit at least 27 more home runs. And Werth is going to go OFF! Doug Fister is deGrom's daddy.

Anonymous said...

You Nats fans are a bunch of clowns. you have the passion of a decaying corpse. Harper needs to learn to have just a little bit of class, Werth is the dirtiest looking nasty filthy pig in the major leagues and your manager couldn't keep the inventory straight at a Carvel. Enjoy the offseason folks it's going to be a long one for you.

Anonymous said...

METS Mets Mets Mets!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Good article at

There is still time for a comeback. Williams lived it as a player, when the Atlanta Braves stormed back from a nine-and-a-half-game August deficit to steal the 1993 N.L. West from Williams’s Giants. A more recent example stood out to Williams.

“Look at the Cardinals a couple of years ago,” he said. “They were 10 back this time of year.”

In 2011, St. Louis was 10 ½ games back in the wild-card race in late August and then rallied to win the World Series. They carried that momentum into the next October when, down to their last strike, they rallied to eliminate the Nationals in a division series.
In a way, Storen said, there is solace in the standings. It might sound like a reach, but here goes: Simply winning the N.L. East is not the Nationals’ goal anyway. They have done that twice and advanced no further. This might be the test they need.

“The last couple of times we made the playoffs, we kind of coasted in,” Storen said. “That’s good because you get a physical breather, but at the same time it was tough to build momentum going into the playoffs. This is actually an opportunity for us.”

So the plan is clear: Stage a stirring comeback, and ride the wave to an elusive championship. The pieces are in place. The team is coming alive.

Storen is exactly right. A Nats team at full strength focused by a play-off chase is the best team in baseball. The Nats will be sharper than ever when they win the division.

Cards are tough, but otherwise, the rest of the schedule is tailor-made for a run. The Mets are lucky the Nats overlooked them last time, but the Nats should sweep them with Scherzer, Strasburg, and Zimmermann next time.

As the article says, the deficit is not too big with 37 games left and the 6 H2H. The Mets are only winning now because their hitting is hot. Under the radar is they've been giving up a lot of runs. When their hitting cools off, the Mets will lose.

I'm excited. This has all the makings of a championship run for the Nats.

Kenny B. said...

This selection from the previous post:

"Where does that leave Turner? Exactly as described. Late inning D replacement and pinch runner. So why call him up? Because Uggla and Moore ain't giving you that and he can do more if needed and by now I hope you know all these guys could go down to injury in a heartbeat."

has proven to be remarkably prescient in this evening's win.

Also, irony of Mets troll calling Nats fans "a bunch of clowns" on their own fan site and then saying Bryce Harper is the one who lacks class. You guys, you can't just force a rivalry on us like that. We're going to have to wait and let it happen a little more organically.

Max David said...

Can we go 1 week without having someone get injured?? Geez!

David said...

88 wins will not be enough, Mets are going to end up with 92-94 wins.

Amazindan said...

You are an absolute fool if you think the Nats of any kind a shot of catching the Mets! I will give you 4 reasons why, deGROM, Harvey, Syndergaard and Matz and not to mention the best offense in baseball since mid July! The Mets pitching is too solid to going to any prolonged slumps. Mark my words those last three games in October won't mean anything

Max David said...

The same organization that blew a 7 game lead in 17 games can't blow a 6.5 game lead in 35 some odd games?? Gotta love cocky Mets fans!

Anonymous said...

LOL Nats fans are so bi polar. If they lose ONE GAME the sky is falling. If they win ONE GAME they think they have a bye into the World Series.

Booyah Suckah! said...

Well, looks like Span is probably out for the rest of the season. So, out of 162 games, we'll have TWO with our expected opening day lineup.

Anyone run the numbers on Nats DL days versus the rest of baseball? Specifically two numbers: opening day lineup DL days, and overall DL days. I'd bet folding money that we lead the majors in both.

Anonymous said...

And you'd be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Do the Nats have a chance to catch the Mets? Yes because of their easy schedule and superior talent, 4 very good SPs (Gio is a liability) compared to the teams left on their schedule (outside of the Cards and Mets). However the Mets have the same easy schedule (only Yankees and Nats above .500) and a 6.5 game lead. With each game the Mets win it means that Nats would need to go on a greater tear. Again..possible they can catch the Mets but not probable.

Coming up the Nats have 3 with Marlins at home and 3 on the road with the Cards. You figure you need to sweep the Marlins (no room for error) and try to win the series with Cards on the road. The Mets have 3 with the Red Sox (good offense facing the 3 young Mets aces, worst ERA in AL) and three with Philly. Really a tough place to be in for the Nats.

Last comment....I don't get those that doubt Joe Ross. The guy is a good pitcher..arguably based on current form the best SP next to Stasberg (Scherzer has looked shaky recently). I would start Ross vs the Mets.

Matt said...


I am going to admit first that I am a Mets fan, but want to come and say in no way I am "bashing" or being an "arrogant" Mets fans.

What has happened to the Nats this year can be looked at from a couple of angles. 1. The starting pitching hasn't been anywhere near what it was supposed to be. It's been Mad Max who has been great, Strasburg (until recently) a wild card, Gio, who has been hit or miss, and Zimmerman who has seemed to find himself the last two months. It all adds up to struggle bus city. Joe Ross has been solid, but wasn't pegged to be in he mix.

2. Not taking the Mets seriously. For the Nats to not start Max in either series nor did the Mets see Storen or Papelbon still baffles me. And let's be honest the Nats just won their third straight series and still lost 2 games in the standings. As a Mets fan, I thought when the Nats were down early, then it shifted, then it shifted again. At this point, as a lot of the previous posters noted, the schedules are pretty much the same. Being in the worst division in baseball makes this possible.

3. Matt Williams. As i stated above, it is baffling what he did in that Mets series. They finally figured out that they need to start their big guns against the Mets in 10 days.

I didn't put injuries on here. Every team has them and if we really want to go there. The Mets had Eric Campbell and John Mayberry Jr. as 4 and 5 hitters twice this year. So to me that is just a crutch.

All of this may seem pretty simple, but as a Mets fan I am just enjoying the ride. We were supposed to be here and we have the Nats to thank. I am still not saying "we are going to the playoffs" because I lived trough '07 and although different (players and that team had ZERO pitching), but I am excited. I read all NL East blogs just to see the different perspectives so I am not trolling.

Lastly, as I think about the 6 H2H it really is only 3H2H. The Nats need to be within 3 games over the next 32 (33 for Nats). I think if you look at it that way, it may seem a little less daunting. Just say the mets go 16-16...The Nats need to go 20-13. Obviously, this is the "if" part that is tough. My feel is that 90 wins for the Mets will get it done.

Bjd1207 said...

@Matt - Making yourself a username (not Anon), posting with real comments instead of shit like 'Bryce tore his ACL,' representing yourself and your team sir are welcome here any time. Wish I could shake your hand through the interwebs.

Your points are mostly spot on, starting pitching was VERY underwhelming especially compared to the early/preseason hype train. They've been solidly mediocre. I'm not sure it can be ascribed to "not taking the Mets seriously" but you're absolutely right about not matching up our starters/using the bullpen correctly. Not sure if I'd rather it be not taking them seriously or just sheer stupidity...which is worse?

As for the injury note, Mets have certainly had their fair share as well. The big difference I can see is the explanation (excuse?) about needing 100 AB's to fully get back from injury. Wright, D'Arnaud, Duda, and others have come back from the DL and been right back to their old (not so old in D'Arnaud's case) selves. Meanwhile Zimm, Werth, Rendon have come back and hit .150 for a month before actually contributing. A month's worth of crap from those 3 probably accounts for 2-3 wins lost, then factor in the underproduction from Desi and Ramos and you have the hole we're in now.

Aside from bullpen usage, that's been my biggest problem with Matt Williams. He consistently says in interviews/postgames that a manager's job is to "get guys going" and get their confidence back and put them in a position to feel comfortable and start producing. In April/May I might buy that, or for a team 10 games up or 10 games back later in the year I might buy it. For a team that's in a close race for a pennant the Manager's job is one thing and one thing only: try to win that day's game.

WiredHK said...

Agree with BJD (and Matt, for the most part) - the thing about seasons like this that go sideways, it's always a combination of factors, and usually things we didn't see coming. It hasn't been the injuries alone, it hasn't been the poor production from expected solid contributors alone, it hasn't been Matt Williams' missteps alone, or the SPs underwhelming production, or the lack of a quality bullpen for most of the year, and on and on. It's all of these things taken together.

I'm not sure the Nats failed to take the Mets seriously -- I haven't seen a lot of lack of effort days from the Nats. I've mainly just seen a .500 team playing .500 ball and deserving of their record for all of the reasons above.

The Nats aren't that bad, they just aren't that good either...

Metsfan Jim said...

I've been watching baseball for a long time, and we all know that the race is not over. The Nats have a ton of talent on that squad. But I think there biggest issue is just chemistry. There's something off about that group of guys where they're not quite clicking together, the way the Phillies did back in 2008, or the Mets have so far this year. Maybe Matt Williams is to blame. Or maybe they just need to shed a few old faces this winter.