Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Quickie

As much as I don't want to hear it - I do enjoy the elasticity of Nats optimism. Just on Friday there was a feeling of "ok if the Nats can get through the weekend and be down by 5 on Monday..." yet the Nats lost their game 1 and the Mets won theirs, making that impossible. Things go right the rest of the weekend but here the Nats are 6 out on Monday. I'm assuming rather than say "Well, they didn't hit that threshold. Time to pack it in" the optimist is now saying "You know...six is pretty close to 5. and the Mets have lost two in a row... And the Nats have won 7 of the last 8..."  Let's face it, the optimist will remain until the Nats find themselves practically eliminated. Down 5 with 5 to go? They can do it! Down 7 with 8 to go? Sure!  To each their own.

We talked about Bryce last week but he hasn't slowed down. Since this is going to be a real quick one how about some more Bryce?

Bryce is hitting .435 / .543 / 1.000 in Sept.  Yes, that's right - he has a SLG of 1.000 for a month right now.

We talked about hot streaks earlier in the year. The September streak above might qualify for a Top 10 streak of 80 PAs or more (it's right on the border from what I can tell) More recently Bryce has hit .519 /.556 / 1.111 in 30+ PAs. If he can have a great series vs the Os he'll close in on that Top 10 for 50 PAs and he'll definitely be in Top 10 for 100 PAs. This is all just a roundabout way of saying - Bryce has had two of the hottest streaks ever in baseball, in the same season.

You are seeing greatness here people. Even if some don't want to accept it, or desperately are trying to qualify it.

Here's something fun. Bryce Harper's worst month was August. He hit merely .327 / .460 / .449. That OPS of .909? It would rank 5th in the National League. Bryce's WORST MONTH is still a Top 5 season if spread out over a year. Who can say that?

Enjoy this

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

The two main reasons I am going tonight: (1) Bryce and (2) Coolidge bobblehead.

Nattydread said...

After the Nats were swept by the Mets, all hope was lost. It was over. But its not.

They are 6 games back with 13 to go. Right now they are playing JUST TO HAVE A SHOT. So lets forget about the last 3 games. They want to go to NYC with a chance to sweep the Mets.

That means, more realistically, they are 3 games back with 10 games to go. They have to play three games better than the Mets. They have to go 9-1, Mets have to go 6-4 (or 10-0/7-3, 8-2/5-5).

The way the Nats have been playing, with bats suddenly afire and pitchers actually pitching... Yes, it does add a considerably amount of elasticity to a fan's optimism. It aint over till its over.

ProphetNAT said...

I can't understand people who choose to root against greatness, especially if you don't have a dog in the fight. Whether you hate or love Bryce, you cannot say that this kid is the front-runner/hands down MVP. I would have loved to say that I watched DiMaggio, Ted Williams, or Willie Mays play - but I can't. If he keeps it up, I can tell my kids that I watched Bryce Harper play for my hometown Nats. That is something I can be proud of. Its been a pleasure so far - please break the bank for this kid!

W. Patterson said...

@Nattydread - About your comment on the pitchers actually pitching . . .

Watching Strasburg yesterday going into the 7th, I could only imagine that he wanted to finish the game out and not risk the BP giving up 11 runs in the 8th and 9th.

Harper said...

ND - well the fun part about optimism is that is does grow as you get closer. Probably not odds wise (maybe if you are chasing a better team but I'd have to run the exact numbers to see how it breaks out) but in the mind's eye. There's an optimism that comes with clarity. We win them all, they lose them all and we're in. Lot easier to thnk about then "We have to pick up 5 in 10 games"

SM said...

Greatness indeed.

I've pounded on this before: Wishing there were stats--maybe there are, somewhere--counting how many different pitchers a batter faces over the course of a season.

It seems to me that opposing teams change pitchers with disproportionate frequency when Bryce is either at bat, or even due up in an inning. Usually they'll throw in a lefty for the platoon advantage--not that it matters to Bryce, since he hits those guys, too.

What I'm curious about is how those lefties affect the rest of the right-handed hitting lineup. The Nats actually have the best record in the majors against LHP, and I suspect some it is due to opposing teams trying to gain that platoon advantage over Harper.

Bryce's RBI total seems low, but his Runs Scored lead the majors and I wonder if that's one of the effects of LHP strategy (with Escobar being the biggest beneficiary).

Anyway, something to ponder in the off season.

Anonymous said...

It's great watching Mets fans go hysterical even though they're like a 98% favorite. If the Nats actually pick up another game tonight they're going to hit DEFCON 1.

Mattyice said...

Another thing going for us optimists is that the one time the nats went on a real tear earlier this season (I think it was something like 17-4) coincided, not coincidentally, with Bryce's other crazy streak. If he keeps this up for the next 2 weeks he really can carry us even if some other guys fall off. And winning 12 our final 13 actually seems possible. Of course that still requires the Mets to only win 6 of 13...unfortunately I'm not sure we can take four straight at citi (final series plus play-in)...holding on to optimism as long as I can!

Rob Evans said...

"It's great watching Mets fans go hysterical even though they're like a 98% favorite. If the Nats actually pick up another game tonight they're going to hit DEFCON 1."

They ain't the LOLMets for nutin'!!

Anonymous said...

3 to go. Nats are hot. Mets are not.

Booyah Suckah! said...

I've never been the type to go check out other teams' blogs to get the state of their fans' mindset. Maybe a little bit with the Barves the last few years, because I can't resist the giggles I get reading the comments in a Georgia twang.

That being said, who knows the best place to get a quick chuckle at Mets fans' expense? I love a good sky-is-falling moment, but I've never had reason to peek in on Mets fans before.

Seeing as how our actual odds of overtaking them are virtually zero, this might be the only chance I get to get some pleasure out of the 2007 Collapse hysteria they probably have happening.

Max David said...

Watching Harper in person this year is truly amazing! I envy you guys down in DC who get to see him 50 to 80 times a season.

As for the division, I look at it this way, just get to 3 back by the time the Mets series start. I don't think we'll sweep that series, so I'd probably want to be tied or 1 back, but at minimum get it to 3 back, and see what happens. We have 10 games between now and October 2, so I look at it in this way: we have 10 games left in the season, and we are 3 games out. I'd rather be the team that's 6 up, or only 3 or 4 back right now, but making up 3 games in 10 games isn't that difficult especially with the way the Mets have been playing. Nats just need to take care of the Orioles this week, and hope the Braves decide to give Shelby Miller & Matt Wisler some runs.

Froggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Froggy said...

OGAAT

One
Game
At
A
Time

JE34 said...

Nervous Mets fans are quiet, non-trolling Mets fans. Glad to have some peace and quiet here. I'm sure they'll be back in a week once they win some games against the dregs of the NL and officially punch their postseason ticket.

Interestingly, Yoenis Cespedes (the LOLMVP?) has been awesome in the 2nd half, but has been ice cold for the last week.

Bryceroni said...

I wonder how bad all this Harvey stuff would be if he didn't pitch in NYC... It's absurd that people are flipping out about Harvey getting pulled exactly when the organization said he was getting pulled.

No matter who it is I never enjoy injuries, and the more people yell for Harvey to pitch the more it could end badly.

Mythra said...

Get within 3 and go the Dumb and Dumber route. As long as the Nats have a chance, they'll fight. This team, and especially Werth and Harper, fight to the last out with fire and determination. Get within 3 before that series finale, and leave it all on the field.

That said, a deperate, scrappy Nats team is good. A desperate, fast-thinking PBN is a nightmare. He doesn't adapt well or make tactical decisions when he has room for error now. How will he handle that last series? Will Max have to *bleep* him off the mound again? I'd actually pay to see that again.

And if PBN is reading this, Max/Stras/Jordan will tell you when they are ready to come out. Stay close to the sunflower seeds until they call you.

WiredHK said...

It's just fun to be watching good baseball lately, granted against some horrible teams (although the Fish had been anything but horrible lately coming in to this last series). Trea Turner got a start, which was nice and he played well. Unfortunately, I can't decide if this is making me happy to see the season go out on a positive note or angry that we either didn't play this way, or have many of these guys healthy, for most of the year.

What I do know is when we make the bullpen irrelevant, you can at least see what Rizzo was thinking would be the norm this year. But, his job is to plan for all phases of the game, not just the "best case" scenarios (pitchers all go deep in games, hitters take turns being hot).

Simply closing out one of the two losses vs the Cards (we were winning 5-3 in the 7th of both, remember) and two of the winnable games at home against the Mets (winning in the 7th of games 2 and 3, not to mention tied entering the 7th of the first one) would have made this a very fun race. Frustrating...

Robot said...

I remain in the overly optimistic camp. So long as it's mathematically possible, I'm clinging to hope. Last night, our playoff odds (per espn) increased by 50% (from 1% to 1.5%). Progress!

Max David said...

LOL @ Mythra, I was sitting in RF by the foul pole on Friday night couldn't see what was going on at the mound, and I was talking to the people around me wondering why MW went out there, and walked back to the dugout so quickly, and wasn't until I went into Gordon Biersch later and was watching Sportscenter that I got that answer.

Anonymous said...

Nats still suck

ProphetNAT said...

@ Mythra, @ Max David - the best part about that whole moment when Scherzer told PBN he wasn't coming out was Matt Williams' version of the story: (via postgame presser) "I just wanted to make sure he was good to go for the next guy, and I knew he was," Williams said. "He was fired up to get the out. He is a horse. ... I asked him if he [wanted Gordon], and he said yeah, among other things."

Translation: "I just went out there to ruin the game and put in Treinen, but Max told me "I F'n got this!" I should know better next time and pick my battles. There are plenty more games for me to ruin for this franchise, but for the time being I need a new pair of shorts after that mound conversation."

Ric Andersen said...

"... but making up 3 games in 10 games isn't that difficult especially with the way the Mets have been playing."

@MaxDavid, do you mean, how the Mets have gone 9-4 in their last 13, starting with a 3-game sweep of the Nats?

The Mets just finished the most difficult stretch of their remaining season. Pointing out that the Mets went 1-2 at Yankee Stadium is cherry-picking your stats; especially considering they now host the team with the worst away record in MLB.

John C. said...

@Mythra, et al: I have to laugh at the "the pitchers will make the call as to when they come out" stuff after the Scherzer's declaration, because several times this season MW has been roasted, toasted and barbequed for leaving pitchers in when he shouldn't. And yes, that includes the top of the rotation guys in Scherzer, JZim and (of late) Strasburg. Not long ago it was Scherzer, in fact, in the game against the Mets. Remember? Unless one assumes that in those cases the pitcher was trying to get MW to take him out of the game and MW just overruled the pitcher to leave him in, "leaving it up to the pitcher" isn't any more likely to get good results than leaving it up to MW.

And FWIW, Scherzer didn't say (as some pitchers have famously done) "don't come out here" or "don't you dare take me out of this game" (etc.) - he clearly said "I [effing] want this." Which actually tracks more closely with MW's postgame presser account than it does with those who have been wanting to give MW a piece of their minds - and so may be prone to project that onto what Scherzer said.

Anonymous said...

There is no hysteria on the Mets side. The only collapse you'll see this season is the Nats choking away 6 straight games in horrific fashion to the Mets when the division was actually on the line. LOLNats indeed.

Rob Evans said...

No matter what, we can never take this away from the LOLMets...

The 7 Biggest Team Chokes in Sports History

http://www.sportspickle.com/2011/09/the-7-biggest-team-chokes-in-sports-history

"#6 – 2007 New York Mets

The Setup: The Mets had a 7-game lead over the Phillies in the National League East with 17 to play.

The Choke: The Mets finish the season 5-12, including 5 of 6 at home to the lowly Marlins and Nationals in front of 48,000-plus every night to close.

The Bright Side: At least the choke job at home didn't come in the final games ever at Shea Stadium. No, Shea closed a year later when the Mets blew only a 3 1/2-game lead in September to lose the division again. See? A slightly less depressing way to say goodbye to the stadium."

Anonymous said...

@Rob Evans in 2007, at this point in the season the Mets lead was down to 2.5.

WiredHK said...

John C - I think you may be missing some of the point re: MW. It's not about MW being damned if he does and damned if he doesn't -- the complaints about him handling the staff and bullpen is that he seems to have an uncanny knack for doing the wrong thing in the wrong moment. Some nights, he is leaving his starter in way too long and after everyone in the park knows the guy is finished (but him). Some nights, he is yanking guys way too early (ahem, Stras vs the Mets comes to mind) based on whatever his cut lines are. Summing it up: he appears lost a lot and to have an inability to "sense the moment" -- and thus manage pitchers accordingly.

Is some of that on the players' performance? Sure (my God, Storen has really done a number on us). I don't really know how many wins the guys has explicitly cost the team this team, probably less than fans think, but still -- something. However, if you are having a hard time admitting that pitcher and 'pen management has been a huge issue for him, I'm curious what it exactly WOULD take to convince you that such a thing exists....

Nats Suck said...

Matt is still sour about the last two H2H series. 6-0 Mets up on the LOLNats

Nats will never win a championship, fan base is too full on band wagon jumpers who hop on their hometown team when they are doing well.

WiredHK said...

Nats Suck - do you mean like all the "Mets" fans that suddenly found this site now that your team is passable this year? I thought so...

You even had one fan above (Ric Anderson) talk about how the Mets went 1-2 at Yankee Stadium this past weekend -- except those games were actually at CitiField (even though it sounded like Yankee Stadium on TV).

Pot, meet Kettle. Btw - Every Nats Fan is by definition a "bandwagon" fan. We've only had a team for a decade, so nobody here really knew much about this team until 2005. But, by all means, go ahead and keep spouting nonsense. You look super smart, nuanced and intelligent about the game.

WiredHK said...

Or, if Ric isn't a Mets fan, he at least sounds like one of the 100s of you guys that come on here above responding to anyone that posts anything about the Nats chances remaining. I'm not sure why you guys feel the need to be here and refute anything anyone says about our remaining games. Most folks know it's insanely grim, but you guys see anything here in a comments section about what could happen and go crazy...