Nationals Baseball: Round 2 - Also Mets

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Round 2 - Also Mets

There's no "interesting" about last night. Even a soulless automaton can tell that was a disaster. To lose a three run lead late is one thing. One off reliever can manage that. To lose a six run lead? With two outs? That's takes a complete failure by the pen, and that's what the Nats got. Three relievers, three hits, and six, count 'em, six walks. Worse, of the six walks, only one took place with two strikes. The Mets could have almost come up to the plate without bats that inning. After the Nats lost the lead, the Mets won the game on Nieuwenhuis' pinch hit home run and now the Nats stare into the abyss.

How did MW do? Maybe he pulled ZNN too soon but it was a two-run game at that point and he wanted the lefty-lefty match-up. Plus ZNN was already at 100 pitches. I can't argue that was wrong. He probably kept Storen in two batters too long but that only cost the Nats a run (and that's assuming the next guy doesn't do worse than the "walk - out" that Storen put up) And then he rightly went to Papelbon to hold the lead.  Honestly his pen work was fine.

Of course that doesn't mean he didn't blow something. His big honking mistake was made in the ninth. After Jayson Werth singled, MW decided to put the bunt on to give Bryce the opportunity to tie or win the game. That was an iffy call to begin with. Even if he hasn't returned to 2014 form, do you really want Anthony Rendon bunting? And even if the bunt is successful it's likely that Bryce doesn't get a chance to do anything. It's far more likely that he gets walked (or at least pitched around) and you are putting the game in the hands of Escobar and a pinch hitter that's very likely Uggla? (Desmond was double switched out). Ok so the bunt was a bad call, but what made it so much worse was that Familia couldn't find the plate and Rendon was staring at a 3-1 count. If Familia has one big issue its control and while he's been much better in 2015, you have to give Rendon the chance to either work a walk or swing away at a hitters pitch. Matt kept the bunt on and there you go. Out given up. Bryce would get pitched around and Escobar would DP. Game over.

Is the season over? A lot of heads are saying that but that's just because they are as susceptible to "Uggla hit a HR! The seasons changes from here!" as Joe Q Fan. They just like to pretend they aren't. Last night was a huge loss and dammit if they don't want to buy into that narrative. But realistically what makes 6 out with 4 H2H games left that different than 6.5 with 6 H2H left, which is where the Nats were a week ago? It really isn't. If you wanted to, you could have said the season was over once the Mets took a 6.5 game lead. The chances of a Nats comeback from there were slim enough to throw in the towel. After that moment it became a personal decision. I think if the Nats can win tonight than the season isn't over. I said that going into the Braves series, I said it yesterday. Five games out is a bad spot but with the 3 game set to end the year the Nats merely need to make up 2 games in 20 to keep the season on life support. There's absolutely no reason to believe they can sweep the Mets to win the division at the end the year, given the results we've seen in the last two series, but whatever. You want to get there with a chance, if not reasonable than at least existant.

Lose tonight though, fall 7 games out with 23 to play, then you have to go beyond faith and numbers into crazy town to think the Nats can come back to even make that last series meaningful.  But hey, if it gets you through the next few weeks, more power to you.

We'll talk about firings, and trades, and blame later. We'll likely have plenty of time to do that in the next few weeks. Win tonight. Give your fans something.

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lets Go Mets!!!

Anonymous said...

Love the realistic analysis...and it's true...of course I'm seeing the glass half full but all you want is a possible chance and I can forsee the Nats going in with a 2 or 3 game deficit and sweeping the Mets that last series...they did it to us..who's to say we can't return the favor? true our bullpen is a mess but stranger things have happened...MW did not get outmanaged nor did the team play poorly but 6 walks in one inning is not going to win you many games. Let's get behind the team tonight and start the road back!!

Bryceroni said...

This nationals team has terrible intangibles. They look like Brazil did when they were getting pounded by Germany. I thought there was a 0% chance ole PBN got fired before the end of the year, but a sweep here?

Chaz R said...

Good grief, that was a horror show. I think it ranks right up there with Game 5 in 2012 and Game 2 in 2014. I don't know how any manager could ever back to Storen in a tight situation.

You're right though Harper, I did think MW's bullpen management was good. The pen just completely let the team down, and really it was mostly Storen. Rivero is a rookie and has been mostly good; Treinen at least got 2 outs before he fell apart. There's no excuse for Storen.
It’s amazing how much of the history of Nats’ bullpen failures are tied to Storen:

The infamous Game 5 of 2012 when he coughed up a 7-5 lead in the ninth and the Cards scored four runs.

2014 playoff game 2 Nats led 1-0 entering the ninth, Storen allowed a single to Posey and game-tying double to Sandoval. The Nats eventually lost in 18 innings.

Lately- Aug. 7th, he gave up a grand slam to CarGo to blow a 4-1 lead. Aug. 9th, he entered a 4-4 game and gave up two runs to lose. Against the Cards on Sept. 1st, he came on with a 5-3 lead and gave up the tying runs; the Nats would lose in the ninth. And now last night…

Anonymous said...

“We know who we are. We know our identity. We are the team to beat in the National League. Everybody knows it. We know it. It’s just how it is. It doesn’t change anything.”

Yes, Jayson ... you are the team to beat.

Harper said...

Anon @ 7:40 - over and over again

Anonymous said...

Time to think constructively for next year:

1. Let Desmond (too expensive), Fister (we can find a better 4/5 starter somewhere else), Span (Taylor is ready), and Janssen (seriously?) all walk. Oh, and give McClouth a bag of nuts and push his ass down the stairs, thanks for nothing.

2. Remake the bullpen: Trade Storen for prospects or something nice, ship everyone else out. The only familiar face I want to see is Stammen, Thornton, and Papelbon. They is a solid list of about a dozen FA relievers out there to go get this offseason. Action IS required. I’ll give one name, on the cheap: Ryan Madsen. Royals are paying him league minimum this year to be lights out. Bring him over. Won’t cost you much.

3. Try to resign Zimmermann. He has been the only reliable arm we have had the past 4 years. I know he wants to leave, but we should aggressively go after him. Scherzer may be declining earlier than expected. Strasburg is inconsistent and Gio is "blossoming" into a back-of-the-rotation arm. Of all our free-agents-to-be, ZNN is the guy we should bring back.

4. Try to resign Thornton. He has been great when used as a LOOGY. I know he's old, but he still has another year until Rivero or something else comes up. 1 year deal, can't be too much to ask for.

5. Infield for next year: Zimmerman (1B), Escobar (2B), Espinosa (SS-until Turner is ready), Rendon (3B).

6. Outfield: Same as this year but with Taylor in CF.

7. Bench: Go get Ichiro as a 4th OF. They should have done this last year. Marlins got him for 1yr/$2million. We paid McClouth 2yr/$10million. Healthy and incapable of doing anything stupid with the baseball. Keep Clint Robinson, keep Lobaton, trade Tyler Moore for a dry-erase markers. Finally, go find another top-tier shortstop or a back-up infielder if you’re not satisfied with Espinosa in the starting lineup.

8. Rotation: Scherzer, Zimmermann, Strasburg, Gio, [insert 5th starter here]. Give it to Tanner, until Giolito is ready?

9. I'd say give MW one more year. But then I'd also say can him, and find something else. Problem is I don't know if our "savior" of a manager is out there at the moment. Francona? I don’t know…

10. And lastly… Get another big bat to compliment Bryce. This can be done at the trade deadline if need be, but would be preferable to start the season. The Blue Jays can’t possibly go into next season with all those sluggers (Donaldson?, Tulo?, Encarnacion?).

Now… surely if a guy can write this down at his real job during his free time, certainly Rizzo who is making great money (way more than me) can make a list like this. Question is, can he actually make it happen. Our team needs are: (1) Bullpen help, (2) Resigning Zimmermann or another top starter, (3) Bench improvement. Can’t count on the same guys to be solid 2 years in a row (ala Chad Tracy), (4) get a big bat to compliment Bryce. Not that hard Rizzo!! Do something please.

Sincerely,

A Die-Hard Nats Fan Who Is Getting His Soul Crushed Every Year of His Life For Rooting For DC Sports

Harper said...

The DC treat - no chance. Lerners aren't paying for a guy not to work.

Chaz - The Nats can't trot him out there in any game that matters. We've reached that point.

Mitch said...

I know losses like that bring out emotion, but good golly, last night has to be the end of Williams and Storen here. Chaz is right about Storen. I think he'll have a very respectable and happy career as a middle relief pitcher in Milwaukee or Florida or some crap, where he can't possibly be in a situation that actually means anything.

Enough has been said about Williams but I'll pile on. Bunting there is playing for a tie. On April 1, that's not a bad general strategy for home games. But not when your bullpen is what it currently is. They needed a walk-off win. Good grief.

SM said...

The other odd thing about that 9th inning:

Why wouldn't MW bring in a pinch-runner for Werth--Turner, say--and attempt a steal? Moreover, D'Arnaud isn't very good at cutting off the running game.

If Turner is successful, Rendon gets a shot with a runner in scoring position, no outs, Bryce to follow. If he fails, Rendon isn't bunting, one out, Bryce to follow.

You're risking a precious out with the stolen base attempt, granted, but the game--not the season, I'm afraid--was still salvageable. Taking the bat out of Rendon's hands made it less so.



Bryceroni said...

So how about how to explain the remarkably terrible clubhouse chemistry? It's interesting because traditionally you think of personality clashes, but in this case it seems to be more like a failure of the team culture as a collective.

Random ideas in no particular order:

Desmond: supposed to be a big locker room guy. Maybe that skill is related to playing well on the field, and so not looking like a major leaguer (particularly on defense) for the first half of the season lowered his leadership ability.

Storen: seems to have problems with confidence, being moved to 8th destroyed his.

Escobar/werth/bryce: three guys who yap at umpires all the time, and are on the wrong end of the swagger/arrogance spectrum.

Rizzo: papelbon trade, not sending werth to AAA to get abs before he put him back on the roster (and therefore the lineup)

Ole PBN: can't fill this out now, it would take too long. Bad at everything.

Anonymous said...

While I'd completely agree with your analysis of the Nats' situation if last night was a normal loss, I think the circumstances of last night will be nearly impossible to overcome. Who does Williams turn to in the 7th inning? Storen doesn't look like he's going to emerge from this funk any time soon, and now you have to wonder about Treinan's and Rivero's mindset after repeat disasters. Janssen doesn't appear to be the answer. Maybe the Nats should consider turning to Fister in the 7th. It's not what he does, but I don't see how you can go back to Treinan and Rivero right away.

Mitch said...

Well, at least Mr. Consistency, Mr. Durability, Stephen Strasburg is pitching tonight. They probably won't even need the bullpen...

Jay said...

Boo!!! Sorry. Left over from last night. I didn't think it could be worse than that game 5 against St Louis. I was up at midnight talking to my dad on the phone while we both watched. A friend of mine I hadn't seen in like 2 years texted me at 1 am to offer encouragement. I responded with it's ok they made the playoffs. They won 98 games. The next few years should be great. No. No they haven't been. Last night was worse. 6 walks. Wow.

The sad part is that I agree if they win tonight then they can keep it interesting till the end of the year.

I'm not sure how you teach a team to have intestinal fortitude. In my opinion, it's not usually something you teach. Don't lie to yourself here the entire team lacks it. The offense the last two games has done nothing in the later innings. The starting pitching has not gone as deep into games as we need it. Even Z'nn at 100 pitches part way through the 6th. We needed 7 or 8 innings from him last night. The bullpen obviously.

I also agree that I don't know who is a great manager out there, but I think it has to be somebody with some experience. Why you would take a great team and saddle it with a guy who has never managed anything?? I just don't understand. Not saying someone else would get different results, but it's time to remove that variable from the equation.

Froggy said...

Bring Gioloto up and see what he does. Can't hurt. Heck after last night nothing can hurt that bad.

Also, get Carlos Gonzalez damn it!

Harper said...

SM - Turner PH earlier or that would have been an idea. denDekker? I don't get the impression that he's "put him in try for a steal" fast

Robot said...

@anon 7:43 - Agree 100% with everything except the bit about MW. The citizens of NatsTown demand a sacrificial scapegoat, and we've already sharpened our pitchforks and lit our touches at MW. (I've been on the "Draft Cal" bandwagon since Riggleman quit, personally, but id settle for anyone who is able to make in-game strategy adjustments.)

The team needs to aggressively pursue ZNN. The fact that Miami got Ichiro for that cheap is mind-boggling.

a m s said...

I feel so.. unsatisfied.

Miles Treacy said...

I think they're out in all honesty. Just hoping for some good baseball the rest of the way. No more of these games like the Cards and Mets series, please. If things don't drastically change this off-season I'll be shocked. Seems the past few years it just keeps going back to that there is literally no backup plan with the way Rizzo goes about his decisions. 2012 they peaked maybe a year early but it took everyone out-performing on the bench (Roger Bernadina, anyone...). 2013 was a slap in the face and should have served as a wake up call, that yeah most of this team is old and injury prone. Might be a good idea to get players that aren't. Last year was just the NL East completely sucked and the Nats just beat up on them to inflate the record. It showed they weren't ready in the playoffs. This year is again the same. No Plan B on if starters aren't performing or get hurt. No Plan B when 1/2 your lineup goes down and for whatever reason management believes they'll just come back full throttle. It's just tough to watch these same issues come back every single year. Trading Drew I think would only eliminate the stigma around so many crushing losses, but we'd also be selling insanely low but maybe by now it's worth it. I don't think they re-sign anyone personally. I think the Scherzer fall in the second half coupled with Zimm and Werth only playing about 1/2 the time but getting paid $20+mil will make the Lerners go back into "yeah we're rich but not "that rich"" when deciding on contracts. Hopefully some of these young guys come up and grow next year....

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

Things I don't understand (well, actually, there are a lot of things I don't understand, but these are a few)... convergent evolution. As in, how did the Nats become the Washington Capitals? Doesn't make rational sense - different organizations, different sports... but the histories are really running in parallel now. Something in the DC drinking water? Or the DC hot air?

Nats injury patterns: guys going onto the DL, coming off and going back on. One injury morphing into another. Injuries reported to be minor that later turn out to be major. Is that typical of injuries elsewhere or is there something here particular to the Nats. Not trying to be inflammatory - a genuinely open question, but would like to know.

@Miles Treacy - roger that about the Lerners. What continues to worry me is, they decide that opening the purse strings compromises their position in the MASN litigation. Need to prove that the lost revenues are really harming the franchise. If true, over the cliff we all go...

Said in 2012 and several times after and will say again, Drew needs a fresh start afterward. Props to Ray Knight for calling Drew out last night, or almost... he named the meltdown innings, but didn't name Drew (must have had management shouting at him in his earpiece, something to the effect of "Don't go there! Don't go there!"

Sorry. Getting myself even further down. I'm due out there tonight for the funeral games. Better go look at some Successories posters of eagles soaring through the sky or picking lice off themselves or something...

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Since you asked, other teams have this medical issue, or at least the Mets have (I'm a Mets fan, not here to troll... I like this blog). Jerry Manuel's quote from 2009 about sums it up: "They’re calling it cramps -- surgery on Thursday." Earlier this year, Michael Cuddyer spent three weeks on the bench with a bad knee before being DL'ed. David Wright somehow turned a bad hamstring into spinal stenosis. At least five of their starting pitchers (that I can think of) have had Tommy John surgery, just in the past few years. A few of them where originally called a sore forearm. I was beginning to think Citi Field was cursed.

JE34 said...

These last two Nats games make me want to watch football. And then I remember I'm a Buffalo Bills fan.

Steve said...

@JE34 - better to be a Bills fan this year than a Skins fan... although I suppose our expectations can't be any lower after ranking #32 of 32 in ESPN's first power rankings.

The Nats are done this season, I'm calling it for the Mets. All I would like to see is some life down the stretch, especially from the younger guys (get Turner some more time, put Cole in the game every once in a while). And even though he's been absolutely terrible against the Mets and they will miss the playoffs, I'd love to see Bryce win MVP...

Strasburger said...

Anon with the letter - couldn't agree more. It is actually unthinkable that I allow myself to become to emotionally tied to every team in this city, since I was actually born and raised here, every year, even after my heart is broken repeatedly.

But even if your demands were fulfilled, would it really help? Each and every single one of us was happy with every change made in the offseason. Escobar, for example, has paid dividends. Taylor has filled in admirably. You can't make up the sh*t that the Nats have gone through.

This team was picked by nearly 80% of experts to win the world series, and they have disappointed everyone. The "worst case scenario" that Harper wrote about in March has legitimately, to a t, come true.

I really put stock in to team chemistry, especially in baseball. Bringing in Papelbon was the wrong choice. I truly believe that. It really, really rattled Drew (given his stats before and after), and he just lost the biggest game of the year. Would be have lost anyways? Maybe. But why shake things up when they are working prior to the deadline?


I know you hate feelings harp, but there is a DC curse. There has to be. The fact that none of our major franchises have won a championship over the past 23 years (and only been in a position to win one, if you can call the destruction at the hands of the wings in 97 that), is nearly insane, considering we are a four-team city.

This lot, like me, will undoubtedly continue to cling to every game until the Nats are mathematically out, because we truly believe that they could snap out of it, stop blowing games, and tear off 12 in a row. This is possible, but it just doesn't look like we have the attitude or bullpen to do so.

Bryce Harper called out the fans for leaving early, ESPN ranted about how DC is a transient sports town with bad fans. Screw that, there are plenty of real DC fans who have been here their entire lives (like me). Bryce is out of depth for complaining, given the history of this city's sports teams, and how they continually lack the extra inch to put together complete games, seasons, playoff appearances, and championship runs.

Maybe your fans will stick around when you give them a reason to. There is no excuse for the pathetic showing that the swollen mass of talent on this team has put out there.

Good for the Mets. I salute them.

Anonymous said...

I am just gonna be the random Mets fan who is gonna troll all you guys. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA THANKS STOREN! MVP OF THE GAME! LETS GO METS, LETS GO METS. I will make sure to wear my bug repellent today so the Nats can stay away.

SM said...

Yes, there is a curse, sinister, malevolent forces at work.

Boston had its Curse of the Bambino. Washington's is the Curse of the Expos:

The 1994 strike year. (Yes, Harper, they would have beaten the Yankees. Wetteland closed for the Expos that year. Yanks won two years later with Wetteland.)

The 55-ton slab of concrete falling from Olympic Stadium's roof in 1991--the anniversary was last week--forcing the team to play their remaining games on the road.

Even back to the 1981 playoffs, when a rainout--because the French architect Roger Tallibert's fancypants roof cover never worked--gave Fernando Valenzuela an extra day's rest.

All this in a city where Jackie Robinson was adored, and broke baseball's colour barrier

It should be noted, however, that a former Expo, Pedro Martinez, was instrumental in breaking Bambino's Curse. So, to a lesser degree, was ex-Expo SS Orlando Cabrera. If this suggests only a former Expo--Terry Francona, say, who managed Boston's 2004 team--can break the curse, so be it.

Maybe they shouldn't have built that damned Olympic Stadium on sacred burial ground.

Jay said...

I would say this for the Nats. A lot of it is bad luck, a lot of it is bad managing. But, a big part of it too, is team attitude and chemistry. Werth more than anyone, but Bryce too, seem to approach each game this season as though they are entitled to the win. They just don't feel the urgency. It's like a "we run away with this division almost every year, this one won't be any different." So there's no heart. It's nice to show passion when you are up in a game, but getting shut down by middle relievers and failing to throw a strike is inexcusable.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I think a bunch of these guys have crossed it. They aren't entitled to anything. They haven't earned anything. Two years in a row this was supposed to be the best team in baseball. They aren't. Plain and simple. If you watch a team like the Cardinals, who are remarkably methodical and never out of a game, or a team like the Royals, that have 12 guys on the roster who played Single A together, you see chemistry. Even the Mets, while a flawed team, show heart and youth that doesn't get brought down. That will change when they are negotiating $100 million dollar contracts.

Method/Chemistry/Heart/Youth. The Nats have none of these things. What they do have is talent. But talent gets hurt. Talent gets arrogant. Talent gets selfish. Talent says "We are still the team to beat" then drives off in a $250,000 Ferrari.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:15 - Agreed! Getting walked six times in one inning because the Nats' pitchers couldn't find the plate was a great strategy by the Mets! That will toats work against Greinke and Kershaw in the NLDS!

Anonymous said...

So much revisionist history B.S. being thrown around about the Pap trade ruining Storen's confidence. Everyone has conveniently forgotten that he looked lights out in his first two outings setting Pap up. The guy is just an unreliable choking dog loser, that's all.

Anonymous said...

As if you wouldnt take six walks in an inning. LOL!! Or perhaps maybe an inside the park grand slam on a bad hop? Its called capitalizing on the other team's mistakes. Happens all the time. Dont be sour about it.

Anonymous said...

JE34...that was hilarious ty

Kenny B. said...

Has a team ever outright fired their entire bullpen at once? If not, I would support seeing what happens when a team does that.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

@Jay - I remember watching the 2011 Phillies move runners. Something machine-like and relentless about them. Have never seen that quality with the Nats. Long ball or bust, and competence not always there.

Re: Storen/Papelbon - it's pretty clear Storen had a bad reaction, you can read it in his performances (after the trade, five shutdown appearances running on pure rage, then the adrenaline crash and the performance failure). But can't agree that the trade is the sole or root cause. He spit the bit (to borrow from Buck Showalter) in 2012/NLDS Game 5, 2014 NLDS Game 2, and now last night. I really, really hate to accuse people of choking, because there are many variables and it's an easy, comfortable thing to do, especially when you're sitting safely in the stands. But... three times in three critical appearances... there does seem to be a pattern here. To be most charitable about it, I think he'd benefit from a fresh start someplace else.

Froggy said...

I thought it was pretty F'd up on Matt Williams part to not only leave Storen utterly flapping while he melted down, but to not even have ANYone warming up was baffling. We were screaming from behind our dugout "get someone up!"

Tough year yes, but I am convinced the players do not have confidence in MW.

JC said...

Im sorry but if Storen allows his demotions to destroy his confidence then he is not capable of being an elite closer. It is not Rizzo's fault if Storen could not keep it together. It is fine if he wants to tell the Nats organization to go f itself but he still for his own self interest needs to turn his anger into production on the field. I suspect that the past three years have shown us that Storen cannot rise to the occasion. I really wish Storen well elsewhere and it would be great if he could have success on another team. At this point too many bad memories to remain a Nat.

JE34 said...

@Jay: Winning creates good chemistry, not the other way round. Good team chemistry comes from guys knowing they can rely on each other to get the job done, to come through for the group when needed most. (Rafael Soriano wasn't a big chemistry problem when he was delivering good results.) It's nice when your team is composed of selfless winners who love each other... but it's also exceedingly rare. If the Nats were winning big games, and if Scherzer was pitching like he did in the first half, there would be chocolate sauce everywhere and Boswell would hold forth about how great their chemistry is (all while Jayson Werth fossilizes in all his jerk-wad-ness).

I miss Marv Levy.

@Kenny B: there must be some temptation to go all Hoosiers on them.
"Coach, you need a pitcher for the 7th inning."
"MY TEAM'S ON THE FLOOR!"

Anonymous said...

@JE34

The Bills miss Marv Levy, too.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, it's worth the same as any other loss. It only stands out because the Nats fell behind the H2H for the first time.

It just means we'll need a little extra help. Beat deGrom tonight, who's tailed off with the rest of the Mets starters, we only need 2 games of help. Lose tonight, we need 4 games of help.

Getting back 2 or 4 (or more) games in the next 20 games is realistic. Don't forget the Mets just dropped 2.5 games in only 4 games because Mets pitchers are struggling against everyone, not just the Nats. The Mets bullpen has held up in the last 2 games but their middle relief has been bad. And don't forget the Mets still have to play the Yankees. I expect the the Nats to pick up where they left off against the nobodies left on the schedule while the Mets pitchers continue to struggle after they leave DC.

Yes, it's frustrating that the Nats should have swept the Cards and beaten the Mets the last 2 games. Based on talent, the Nats should be 1st place in the east. They're just beating themselves with no better example than the 7th inning debacle. The Mets didn't have anything to do with that. Don't count out the Nats yet. The Mets are going to lose games, like they lost to the Red Sox, Phillies, and Marlins, where their revamped line-up doesn't outhit their own bad pitching. The Nats will have opportunities to catch the Mets and at least make the last series meaningful.

Anonymous said...

LOL I love Nats fans knocking Mets pitching all the time. Your pitching is soooooo good. Especially that amazing Pen.

Anonymous said...

Yea, Mets really got creamed by the Phillies when they went 6-1 against them the last 2 weeks.

WiredHK said...

The teams are all what they are by now, that much is clear. The better team is winning this series, that much is also clear. There is no more doubt, no more maybe or if, no more excuses or wild hopes. I said it looked to me like the Mets had passed the Nats (slightly) after that sweep coming out of the ASB and one Anon here took me to task. I'm curious if he/she is still around to examine their Zips WAR projections and festive deep dives into why that POV was ridiculous (esp after we get swept again tonight).

But I'm not about to blame this on chemistry or personality or the bravado of the players or any other newspaper-narrative bullshit. This team has glaring holes in specific areas, and the bullpen is, and has been, the biggest one. Rizzo's arrogance towards having a good bullpen (his thinking is NOT a secret -- bullpen? F that, with my pitchers I don't need a bullpen) has brought down this entire, precarious house of cards (sure, other things have gone wrong, including his uninspired selection for Manager).

If he's not being handed his walking papers, I hope somewhere inside, in a spot maybe he'll never admit out loud, he at least now realizes that a winning team cannot have a horrendous, after-thought bullpen. There isn't a single guy in this pen I would ever want on the mound in a big game, ever (including 2015 Paps).

Anonymous said...

If the Mets continue their season-long .558 pace and go 13-11 down the stretch, then the Nats will have to go 20-4. Does anyone really see that happening? Optimistically, the Mets play .500 ball from here on out and the Nats have to go 18-6, which if they did all year would give them 108 wins. Even with their remaining schedule I don't think they're a 108-win team.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:25

The Mets just went 4-5 against 2 last-place teams and 1 2nd-to-last-place team at the same time the Nats beat up on bad teams. Look at the teams the Nats have left on the schedule. All bad teams. They're not playing anyone like the central trio or even a quality also-ran like the Giants. So yes, in a 20-game sample against all bad teams, the Nats are very much capable of tearing off a run while the Mets continue to struggle against bad teams plus the Yankees. The Yankees alone can give the Nats what they need to catch up.

Anonymous said...

Storen isn't used to coming in without a clean frame--oh, wait that was the excuse in the playoffs last year from MW. Soooo, why did you bring him into a situation where the season is on the line without heeding your thoughts from last year.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Nats fan, but I'll just leave this here for you all...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/03/05/zack-wheeler-guarantees-the-mets-will-make-it-hard-for-bryce-harper-and-the-nats-to-win-a-championship/

Those of you on here who are not giving credence this team's supreme arrogance are entirely mistaken. First Tim Hudson, now Zach Wheeler (back in March) asking if the Nationals have what it takes - they thought no. And they were right.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:44

I admire your optimism, but aside from that 9 game stretch you mentioned, the Mets have beat up on bad teams all year. They're 39-20 in their division, which is the bulk of their remaining schedule. They've got six games against the Braves who have only recently laid down and died, and three games against the Phillies, against whom they're 14-2. And I think the Orioles are tougher than their record. It'll definitely be an interesting 24 games, but I just don't see it.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about the nats catching the mets if and this is a big if have a huge melt down.
I guess anything is possible but what have the nats done this year to inspire that kind of confidence that even if the mets go a losing streak that the nats will go on a winning streak.
Except for that brief surge after the epic comeback against the braves earlier this year, what exactly have they done on a consistent basis other then have the bull pen blow it.

Max David said...

Each team has 24 games left. Not counting the 4 remaining games against each other, the Nats have 7 left against the Marlins (playing better. Will have to face Fernandez twice in those same games, probably Stanton for the last series), 6 against the Phillies (still beatable, but not the punching bag they were earlier with all the rookies up), while only have 3 games left against the completely hapless Braves.
The Mets meanwhile have 7 games left against those hapless Braves, 3 against the Reds, and only 3 games each against the Phillies & Marlins. Sure each team probably has the same SOS but the Mets have the easier schedule.
Crunching some numbers here: Let's say the Mets starting pitching continues to flounder, Mets bullpen falters, and they finish that stretch 10-14. Nats have to finish 16-8 to tie them, and I haven't seen ANYTHING from them this year that makes me think they can win 16 of their final 24 games.
If the Mets finish 12-12 which they should easily do, Nats need to finish 18-6. If 16-8 seems tough to accomplish, 18-6 seems like a miracle.
Mets finish 14-10 which seems more likely: Nats need to finish 20-4 to tie them. Sorry, that's not happening!
Pretty much the Nats only hope is if the Mets lose 6 to 7 of their remaining games against the Nats and Yankees, and we'd STILL need help. They could only win 2 of those games and they probably win the division.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:57 and 1:11

It's not "all year" anymore. The Mets pitchers are struggling right now.

Niese and Harvey's poor outings against us continued the trend. That's why the Mets just went 4-5 against bad teams. Before those games, the Mets were already playing high-scoring games and not protecting leads.

Niese and Harvey should have lost against us. Right now, the Nats should be preparing to beat a tired deGrom to knock the Mets lead down to 1 game. Unfortunately, the Nats beat themselves.

Still, I'm confident because, setting aside the Cards and Mets, the Nats won their last 5 series. That's a consistent basis and the Nats should continue the trend by beating the lesser teams left on their schedule. Meanwhile, as long as the Mets continue pitching poorly - and they haven't given a reason in this series to expect otherwise - they're vulnerable to every team they face.

Depending on tonight's game, the Nats will only need 2 or 4 games worth of help over 20 games for the last series to be meaningful. If it's 2 games, the Yankees alone can pick them up for us.

The Mets aren't better. They just got lucky in a series the Nats should have won. The Mets are vulnerable and the Nats are set up to make a run.

Kenny B. said...

Reporter: "How do you feel about your team's execution?"
Mike Rizzo: "I'm all for it."

Seriously folks, it's over. We lost. And we did it in spectacular DC sports fashion. After 10 years, this finally feels like a real DC franchise.

Sammy Kent said...

If there's to be an execution it should be Rizzo's.

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JE34 said...

Ok... With the home run by Kelly Johnson, I officially feel bad for MW. With the pen's horrendous performance, you gotta keep Strasburg in there, even with a runner at 2nd as he comes up to hit. Everything MW does goes wrong.

And as I write this, to a chorus of horrified fans, he's putting in Drew Storen, in the classic "get back on the horse" move. So I no longer feel bad for MW. That was fast.

Fries said...

drew storen will not be a nat come opening day

Kenny B. said...

And, to follow on JE34's comment, Drew comes through in the usual way. 4-2 Mets.

Kenny B. said...

There is no one in the bullpen that should be a Nat come opening day 2016. Not one single person.

JE34 said...

Oh my goodness.

Kenny B. said...

I agree Rizzo didn't do enough this year to fix the Nats problems at the deadline, but I think as a GM, overall he's been good at putting together talented teams under tight-fisted ownership. I'm not ready to go after him with the torches and pitchforks yet. But it's open season on Matt Williams, Drew Storen, and anyone else throwing relief innings for the Nationals in 2015. Ne'er before have I lain eyes on such a gaggle o' belly itchers.

Bryceroni said...

Paisley why didn't you tell us about the magic man before this series!!! We needed him to cast a spell on storen. Actually the whole bullpen.

MW needs to be gone after this. Just unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Dude!!! Pass that joint!!!!

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Anonymous 12:57 and 1:11

It's not "all year" anymore. The Mets pitchers are struggling right now.

Niese and Harvey's poor outings against us continued the trend. That's why the Mets just went 4-5 against bad teams. Before those games, the Mets were already playing high-scoring games and not protecting leads.

Niese and Harvey should have lost against us. Right now, the Nats should be preparing to beat a tired deGrom to knock the Mets lead down to 1 game. Unfortunately, the Nats beat themselves.

Still, I'm confident because, setting aside the Cards and Mets, the Nats won their last 5 series. That's a consistent basis and the Nats should continue the trend by beating the lesser teams left on their schedule. Meanwhile, as long as the Mets continue pitching poorly - and they haven't given a reason in this series to expect otherwise - they're vulnerable to every team they face.

Depending on tonight's game, the Nats will only need 2 or 4 games worth of help over 20 games for the last series to be meaningful. If it's 2 games, the Yankees alone can pick them up for us.

The Mets aren't better. They just got lucky in a series the Nats should have won. The Mets are vulnerable and the Nats are set up to make a run."

Must be excellent crap!!!!

Bryceroni said...

Well we all knew there would only be one good team in the NL east... Just didn't think it would be the Mets.

Mets2015 said...

Tough series, all 3 games could have gone either way. Bullpens were the difference, to state the obvious. And Cespedes just isn't human. Actually felt pretty bad for Storen and Williams at the end there. They both looked crushed.

Froggy said...

Strasburg dealing with 13 k's but showing some fatigue in the 8th in a 2-2 game...so let's bring in Drew 'batting practice' Storen to 'get back on the horse' and prove everyone screaming Noooo! wrong.

It's the Curse of The Nats 8th Inning Reliever ala Henry Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, now Drew Storen.

Anonymous said...

Clip was a legend in the 8th...

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 3:16

You keep cherry-picking a 9-game stretch for the Mets as if it's the way things will always be, but you're conveniently ignoring their 7-game winning streak right before that. You keep saying their pitching is struggling, but you're also ignoring Colon's 25 consecutive scoreless streak. And de Grom was pretty damn good tonight. He threw a clunker the start before that, when he had food poisoning (in Philadelphia... probably just a coincidence).

We have different perspectives, I suppose. You see a Mets team struggling, but I see a team that finds a way to win. You see a Nats team ready to tear off a winning streak, but I see a team that can't get out of its own way run by a manager that can't do anything right.

Tell you what... if the Nats are within 3 games going into that series in NY, I owe you a beer.

Unknown said...

If the Mets go 13 and 10 Nats have to go 20 and 3.
Game, set , match. Sorry folks, maybe next year. And get that Harper to hustle a little.

Unknown said...

If the Mets go 13 and 10 Nats have to go 20 and 3.
Game, set , match. Sorry folks, maybe next year. And get that Harper to hustle a little.

Carlo Gitto said...

If the Mets go 13 and 10 Nats have to go 20 and 3.
Game, set , match. Sorry folks, maybe next year. And get that Harper to hustle a little.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried. 6 h2h

Anonymous said...

As a Mets fan, I will say , Yes the Mets are a better team. But I will say this about the 3 games series the Mets just swept from your beloved Nationals. The Mets did not win this series, rather it was the Nats that lost the series. Think about it. It makes total scense. The Nats starting pitching did it's part. The offense did it's part. The Bullpen IMPLODES. It was the bullpen that lost these games. Your team is lying in its deathbed in hospice care waiting to die. While my team is thriving and waiting to be reborn in the post season. Sorry but facts are facts