Nationals Baseball: Honestly we should have expected that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Honestly we should have expected that.

Roark vs Jose Fernandez? If the Nats are going to lose a game against the Marlins, that match-up is screaming "Pick Me!" The next three all favor the Nats : Strasburg vs Conley, Ross vs Chen, Scherzer vs Koehler. Conley and Chen are perfectly ok starters, but Stras and Ross are better. Worst case scenario where they lose those two? That Scherzer vs Koehler game should be a mismatch.

With a three game lead a loss tonight wouldn't matter much, but still it would have some psychological meaning. The Nats currently sit at 9-3, second best record in the majors. 9-4 shouldn't be much different, but there is the whole Braves subtext here. The Nats are 6-0 vs the Braves and currently 3-3 vs the Phillies and Marlins. While a win is a win in terms of standings, you'd like to see the Nats separate themselves from all these other teams. A win tonight and they don't have a losing record vs anyone. A loss tonight would put them under .500 outside of Braves games and honestly some doubt can creep in at that point. Was it just that the Braves (who just swept Miami mind you) were playing really badly? Or match-up poorly? Probably not, but it'd be nice to enter that killer road trip with nothing but positive feelings around this team.

The other thing last night was the question of how long the Nats can go with Danny Espinosa. The easy answer is - until they stop winning, or more realistically, until they stop winning AND they don't have a comfortable lead. The more truthful answer is the last one plus "after Trea has had enough service time in the minors to give the Nats another year of control". Can you justify it? Yeah probably.  Danny was thought of as clearly better in the field. That may not be true but it's going to take more than a couple weeks to really see if Danny has lost that step and if Trea, who's a bit erratic, has gotten it together. Yes, Espy isn't hitting and Trea is hitting in the minors but the Chiefs have played even fewer games than the Nats. In the past two nights Trea's average dropped like 130 pts (from .500 to .368) thanks to a couple 0-5 outings.  How about we don't declare a guy major league ready after 8 games?

Oh and as for Roark being replaced with Giolito?  Not happening any time soon. For the first part they are still stretching out Lucas. He threw 4 innings in his first outing and less than 4 in his second. He still hasn't topped 75 pitches which won't fly in the majors. For the second part he hasn't been dominant. One good outing, maybe a tad wild. One poor outing, with 7 hits and 5R (though only 1 earned) in that 3 and 2/3rds. I'm not backing down from my claim that I would have liked to see him start the season in the rotation. But I never said I was sure he was ready to dominate. It was a gamble that he would do better than Roark. Looking at his first couple of starts, it's not clear he would have.

27 comments:

Bote Man said...

Jose Fernandez is coming off TJ surgery. It's not a lock that he will shut down any given offense at this point. We saw this with his wildness early in last night's game, the Nats just couldn't capitalize on it when they needed to. Then he settled down.

I think the Nats will be kept busy by the Mets and Marlins this year, no news there as many other fans have picked the Nats and Mets vying for top slot in the NL Least, then the Marlins, then a couple other teams (I can't remember their names, though).

I'm in no rush to see Trea Turner get overmatched at the MLB level. Let him play in AAA; if this dovetails into the Lerner's evil plan for profit and world domination, then so be it. Danny Espinosa is perfectly serviceable at SS with superslugger Daniel Murphy picking up the slack.

Old Man River said...

Although going in, I chalked the Fernandez-Roark match-up as a L for Nats. Not surprised as you pointed out Harper. Although, I will say I loved the Nats approach at the plate in terms of seeing a lot of pitches from Fernandez. His control was a little off all night and they made him make pitches. Good pitchers will make their pitches, but not all the time. It reminded me of a Red Sox approach that they themselves have instilled in their players over the past decade or more. Get to the bullpen as early as possible. Last night was very uncharacteristic of the Nats and I'd like to see more of that approach. Currently we're sitting a little below league-average when it comes to pitches per plate appearance. Is it any wonder the Cubs are #1 in this stat and have a 10-3 record, all against better teams that we've faced? They also have good pitching on their side, which we do as well. Keep up this approach and we'll be chasing starters much more often. Get to the bullpen.

Donald said...

While I was definitely prepared for the Nats to lose last night, I will say that I was hoping Roark would pitch a bit better. After his strong second start, it seemed like that first start was a bit of a blip. Now, I'm not sure which of those first two starts was the blip.

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

It's time for me to do the reverse jinx and talk bad about Werth so he'll prove me wrong by having a good game tonight.

OK Werth, you're old, slow and can't hit or throw. Yeah, I'm talking about your $21mm ass Werth!

That should do it.

Robot said...

@Froggy - Agreed! He's old and can't hit homeruns at all! He doesn't even look good as a chia pet or a garden gnome!

::looks around embarrassed::

I went took it too far with that one, didn't I?

Chaz R said...

They actually seemed to have chances to win last night. Roark didn't pitch well and they couldn't get a timely hit. I don't see them making any changes with Danny or Werth any time soon. Besides, Werth is a notorious slow starter and there is no guarantee Trea would do any better than Danny.

Anonymous said...

Trea absolutely would be better than Espinosa. All he needs to do is hit .220-.230 and he's significatly better. Turner's expected performance has to be framed in the context of how bad Espinosa is, essentially we have 2 pitchers batting each night. Throw in MAT who is showing that he is the same MAT as 2015, and we have a pretty large swath of our lineup not doing anything.

We may need Turner up here soon. I'd gladly sacfrifice 2022 or whatever it is for a much better hitter. NO doubt this kid ends up hitting .260-.270 for us at least once he gets some time up here. Revere back will be a huge help as well and then this lineup will really kill it. Going to be fun to watch just hope we stay healthy.

Chaz R said...

@Anonymous- I like Trea and think he will do well, but unless you have a crystal ball, there is no "absolutelys" associated with his expected performance.

Pablo said...

just need to keep going at this rate and we'll be fine..Mets pitching does not scare me a whit

Josh Higham said...

@Chaz - not to mention that Trea's performance is only mostly in his hands. All it takes is one hard fastball inside to derail a season, a la Werth last year. Or one (now illegal) slide into second, a la Tejada in the playoffs. Even if Trea is totally ready for the big time, which is at least a little doubtful, there is no guarantee that we won't see him get hurt and find ourselves watching Drewspinosa at short for the rest of the year. One player, and especially one prospect, is no silver bullet.

Calling Trea up will be the right move at some point in the not too distant future, but freaking out and assuming that he'll transform the team if called up immediately requires some extensive knowledge of the future, to your point.

Sammy Kent said...

All I have to say is I frickin' hate the blankety-blank blank Marlins. Always have, always will. Worse than the Mets, worse than the Braves, worse than the Phillies. The Nationals need to get off their collective arse and start driving in some runs. Those first two games in Philly are looking more like a fluke than the norm.

Robot said...

Whoa whoa whoa, Sammy Kent, let's not say things we can't take back. Everyone knows the Phillies and their fans are the worst.

Fries said...

@Robot,

agreed, all you need to do is watch highlights of last night's caps-flyers game...

Mythra said...

I was seated in the stands for an O's vs Philly game back in the day and it was the worst game I ever attended. So bad that some drunk Philly bums pushed the Bird off the groundskeeper wall in RF and broke both his ankles. Brawl and about a dozen arrests later, we left and started selling our Philly tickets to others.

Fast forward and same boorish behavior at Nats Park. By far the worst. At least Marlins fans are hard to find, even at that eyesore of a park they call home.

I dislike how hard they play against the Nats, and Loria could teach the Devil himself how to ruin a fanbase and ballclub, but I have to agree with Fries and Robot. Phily fans are the worst. The average Philly goon is worst than the biggest Braves or Mets troll.

blovy8 said...

And they're wider, Mythra. Their sheer girth is an obstruction.

I didn't watch much of the game, but it looked like Fernandez still had his off-speed stuff working.

Going 0 for whatever against Mark Appel isn't really any worse than what Espy has done. The guy was a #1 pick even if he hasn't really pitched much like it. He might have as good a chance at pitching for the Phillies as Turner does playing for the Nats. What I like about Turner so far is despite the last couple of crappy games, he still has 7 walks against 8 K's.

Anonymous said...

@ Sammy Kent, somehow I think that anything less than 162-0 will keep you satisfied. Settle down.

Pablo said...

worse than even the Phillies, Marlins and Braves is listening to how great the Mets pitching is..I hope we beat them like a drum and send them packing

Josh Higham said...

Confirmed by several comments on a blog: The NL East is the most hateable division in baseball. Forget the NL West as a Rockies fan. Forget the the AL East for anyone not currently rooting for the Sox or Yanks.

Donald said...

Does every fan hate the other teams in their division, and call their fans monsters? Do Giants fans talk trash about dodgers fans?

Froggy said...

Boom! Works every time...

Robot said...

Well done, sir!

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: re your thoughts on Giolito, I'm not sure the bottom line on his stats mean anything. Scouts (Keith Law specifically) have been saying the Nats are trying to get him to refine his change up and are having him throw it )instead of his best pitch, the curve) as the put away pitch to hitters. I don't think the number of runs he gives up means much. (Shouldn't be discounted, of course, but still.) I don't think he would necessarily dominate in the majors, buts it's QUITE difficult for me to see a scenario where he's not superior than Roark. I mean Roark hasn't been above average pitcher since 2014.
Second, I don't understand the argument that Danny is as good an option as Trea. I just don't. First of all, this thing about Danny being a "plus plus" defender at SS....uh....has anybody been watching him play SS? He's making errors and misplays left and right and doesn't look smooth at all moving around at all. And of course he's a walking 0-4 who isn't even walking much anymore with zero power so far. Danny's an elite defender at 2B. Being an elite defender at SS is another matter. Trea may not be Ozzie smith but I imagine he's close to as good on the field. And at the plate, I mean worst case scenario he's a .230-.240 hitter who steals a bunch of bags, takes some walks and hits some doubles and a few homers. In other words, better than Danny.

blovy8 said...

Not sure, but I believe the starting rotation has a better ops than Taylor and Espinosa. 6 for 28 with two doubles and two walks. Something like .214/.267/.286 for .553.

DezoPenguin said...

The issue with bringing Turner up is a catch-22: If he's something special, in the Carlos Correa-Francisco Lindor mold, then the club's not going to give up a year of control just to get him up a month early. If he's not something special right now, then the marginal improvement gained by having him there doesn't justify losing the year at the other end when he'll be an older, probably better player.

Plus, extreme SSS. We haven't even played 10% of the season yet--and moreover, the Nats are winning games and playing awful teams. I see no chance at all that the Nats make a move before May unless it's forced by injury (see, eg., bringing up Bryce in 2012). If the manager and coaching staff really think Espinosa can't cut it, then Stephen Drew will get the first shot to fill in--that's why they signed him, after all.

Sammy Kent said...

There's no misprint or misspeak here, fellows. I hate the Marlins worse than the Mets, worse than the Braves, worse than the Phillies. For all the success of the last few years with two division titles and becoming perennial contenders, we still have a losing record against the Marlins. Not the Braves, and not the Mets, but the Marlins. In fact, the only MLB team I hate worse than the blankety blank blank Marlins is the even more reprehensible blankety blank blank blank Orioles.

That said I'd love to have about three of the Marlins' players in Nationals unis: Fernandez, Yellich, and Stanton.

Kenny B. said...

@Donald: re: "Does every fan hate the other teams in their division, and call their fans monsters? Do Giants fans talk trash about dodgers fans?"

This can't be a serious question. Do I need to recalibrate my sarcasm detector?

Also, I think most sports fans in the nation can attest to the terribleness of Philadelphia fans. This perception of them is not unique to Washington baseball. We just happen to have experienced some of the worst of their behavior in our park because of geographic proximity and the fact that our new park was built during the height of their team's success.

I know a lot of Philly fans who are perfectly nice people, but on the occasions I've gone to games with them, they have this Jekyll/Hyde quality and they become frothing angry beasts while at the ballpark.