It's cliche to say it but it's true. You are going to lose at least 60 times in a season. That's a lot! The best team in baseball history basically lost every third game and a 90 win team is like 14-11 in a randomly chosen 25 games. That doesn't seem very good but it adds up over time. So the Nats lost a game. No worries.
until you lose that third in a row. Then you panic
The starting pitching looked good (21 2/3rds IP, 12 H, 3BB, 2 ER). Especially of interest was seeing a good game from Max, who looked off against some lesser opponents early.
The offense finally broke out scoring 17 runs in those first two games. MAT and Werth haven't quite broken out of their slump but MAT did homer and all 3 of Werth's hits were doubles. Bryce put his foot on the gas going 7-11 with 3 homers.
Nearly everything looks rosy.
Ok ok there is Papelbon. He did blow the save yesterday. He hasn't looked particularly sharp despite good results. It's still early but we're rounding into third when it comes to "ok now we can do some evaluation". What do the early fancy stats say?
FB MPH : 90.9
Suggests loss of arm speed but not unusual for older pitchers to start slower.
Swing% - 45.4%
SwStr% - 8.1%
Contact% - 82.1%
Suggests batters are waiting for hittable pitches then hitting them.
LD% - 30%
Soft% - 0.0%
Oppo% - 20%
Suggests batters are not fooled or behind.
Of course - it is still early. He has appeared alot but it still only amounts to 5.2 IP and 24 batters faced. Werth gets a month. Papelbon wasn't hurt or terrible last year. He gets more time.
Of course that depends on results but understand when your job is simply to get through one inning with 1 or fewer runs allowed against a random part of the order your job isn't very hard in the baseball scheme of things. While a lot is made about great relievers who seemingly struggled in the closer's role, the truth is a lot of mediocre pitchers have been just fine closers. Even if Papelbon is off his game, he'll probably be good enough.
Bryce 6, Any random two Nationals 3. Who bet on any random two? You guys are fools!