Nationals Baseball: Win win win win win

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Win win win win win

Nats win again and almost as important the Mets lose again. It's a ~156 game season now and Mets have to play 4 games better than the Nats to win the division. How much did you like the Mets, if you liked the Mets, over the Nats to start the year? A game? Two?

Of course it's both that simple and not. Team talent is not static. You get hurt. You bring up guys. You make trades. Your strength of schedule get skewed. You don't win at a constant pace. Rather you have ebbs and flows and all that matters is not where you are at game 152 or where you'd probably be at game 172, but where you end up after game 162. So you can dislike the chances of the Mets roster today being a nebulous "4 games better over 156" than the Nats and still accept that they could totally win the East.

Still, I for one think the balance, precarious as it was, has shifted. From a slight edge for the Mets to a slight edge to the Nats. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing set in stone. Just a realization that if you didn't think the Mets has a distinct advantage over the Nats, then they have already put themselves in catch-up mode.

Notes :

Another day another close win. Blowouts please. Just one.

Jayson Werth got another hit! Woo! What's more surprisingly is that he has been walked 5 times. At this point if you aren't just busting him inside of the strike zone and making him prove he can hit it you have failed as a pitcher. Werth is in "prove it" time.

It was the Braves but Gio looked pretty good didn't he? Really though Gio's performance makes me more worried about Max than feel good about Gio. Depends on how you feel about the Braves I guess.

27 comments:

JE34 said...

The Nats teams of years past have had issues getting guys on-over-in... Ks with guys in scoring position, unproductive outs, etc. Given that the lineup is mostly the same, that problem is still there, but subtracting Desi and adding Murphy has to help that, as does the emphasis on stolen bases.

The Nats offense seems to live and die by the long ball. In past years, the games with big margins of victory featured multiple homers... on cold April nights, they just won't blow anyone out.

Miles Treacy said...

It was nice to see Gio look good. I think a big function for both pitchers was that strike zone last night. Have to think Scherzer would have picked up on that and exploited some of those calls if he were pitching...

Chaz R said...

Gio was surprisingly good, especially given he had two weeks off. I really didn't know what to expect form him last night, but knowing Gio, feared the worst. He looked like 2012 Gio last night. Hope he can keep it up.

They're still not scoring much against mediocre pitching.

Rob Evans said...

I don't like watching Gio pitch. I have almost zero confidence he could throw a strike on any given pitch. Drives me nuts. I think one of the Braves announcers said he's "effectively wild". I guess so, lol

Old Man River said...

@JE34

... and on cold October nights as well :( I think they really are hurting with Taylor at the top of the order. Not sure if putting Werth there would help, but at this point I think you might have to. Neither guy is producing in their current spot so flip them.

I would go Werth, Rendon, Harper, Zimmerman, Murphy, Ramos, Taylor, Espinosa, (pitcher). Maybe once Revere gets back that can change. But starting tonight, I don't see how anyone can disagree that Taylor at the top isn't working.

G Cracka X said...

Beltway Series, anyone?

Bjd1207 said...

Even though I'm usually not a fan, if Taylor warms up but Werth doesn't then when Revere gets back I think our lineup is perfect for the 'Dusty Special' (batting the pitcher 8th):

Revere
Rendon
Harper
Zimm
Murphy
Ramos
Espinosa
Pitcher
Taylor

But Jayson has been looking a LITTLE better lately, so lets see how they do the rest of Revere's DL stint

Mythra said...

Liked Gio's pitching. He seemed to not get down on himself as much last night. Maybe it's the care-free hair. I did not like seeing the loop return to Danny's left hand swing again. That leads to bad Ks from the left hand side. Bench guys got it started again last night. These guys are just about due for a nickname. Clint, Drew, Haisey and dD have all gotten knocks in spot starts and PHs. Some in critical spots or to start rallies.

I'm sold on the bullpen. It's early and the Braves suck, but they did okay against a pretty good hitting Marlins team. A little bump last night with Perez, but the damage was minimized by Blake. I think Trienen was just gassed with 2 outs in the 9th.

Flapjack said...

Luck helps -- as in having Gio come through with a good performance when nothing less would have done. But so, too, does a competent bullpen. Treinen and Rivero were too green to depend on last year. They seemed to have matured. Loved Dusty's comment last night, that "Treinen became a man today." He may have meant "the Man," but it speaks to his role as a nurturer of character -- which the team is showing, as it did throughout spring training. It's Roark's turn to step up. Espy and Taylor are nagging worries at the plate. In the worst case, answers for all three question marks are on hand. I see a good year ahead.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing about last night is that at no point did I ever feel like Gio was on the verge of having one of his patented total nuclear meltdowns where he's so enraged that he can no longer throw a strike, even with a garbage home plate umpire.

If Dusty and Maddux can actually help keep Gio calm, that alone makes both of them worth their salaries.

Sammy Kent said...

I'd try Danny in the leadoff spot. 1. He can do no worse than Michael A. Taylor has done, 2. He knows how to work the count and get leadoff walks (currently four BBs to Taylors none), and 3. He has speed and can either steal second or stretch a hit to third base better than anyone else in the lineup.

Nothing to lose by making that move, Dusty. Oh, and sit Jayson Werth down. Period.

Espinosa, Rendon, Harper, Zimmerman, Murphy, Ramos, den Dekker, Taylor, Pitcher.

SM said...

Too soon to get giddy, but preferable to wallowing in the slough of despond.

Speaking of which, it's rather interesting--okay, amusing--to monitor the Mets' perspective. Much of the chatter is focused on the team's inability to hit, particularly with runners in scoring position. (A common refrain in about half of major league baseball cities, incidentally.) And because their club is built around a formidable rotation, Met fans wonder whether wasting good, early-season pitching performances doesn't portend calamity later in the season.

Most amusing: how closely Met commentators are following Daniel Murphy's hot start at the plate.

Anonymous said...

@ Sammy Kent

I would argue Espinosa's walks are because he's batting 8th, not because he's more patient.

Opposing pitchers are pitching around him in order to face the pitcher. The same would probably happen to Taylor if he batted 8th.

1natsfan said...

Just remember 4 of the 6 games so far have been against the Braves who are off to historically bad start. Last year, the Mets couldn't score any runs in the first half of the season but managed to stay close to the injury laden Nats. However, after the trade deadline where they picked up Cespedes, they took off. It's too early to view the Nats as turning a corner, so to speak. I would reserve judgement until after they've played a top team. Still, it's encouraging that they are off to a good start rather than the usual dismal beginning they traditionally have with the attitude that they'll come around later in the season.

Kenny B. said...

True, the Nats have had most of their wins against a terrible team in the Braves, but the Mets struggled against the Phillies and Marlins, and it's not like those are powerhouse teams. Although the Marlins might be the sneaky 2015 Mets of this year.

Also, it's hard to beat any MLB team 4 times in a row. Even against the worst teams you would probably expect to win 3 of 4. So it's not like we can just write off every Braves game as an automatic win where anything less is a disappointment.

Point being, the team is doing well, and most importantly, better than the Mets. Let's enjoy it for a minute.

Because it's too early to make too many statistical judgments, this is the time when we can try to assess how the intangibles have changed. Dusty has a lot of energy, which I really like. Everybody seems pretty fired up about their successes. None of this "be calm and cool" nonsense that too many baseball people like to cultivate. They're letting it be Harper's team, so everyone is working to "make baseball fun again." Obviously a lot of that is just because they are winning, but the individual performances have also looked pretty good, not just statistically, but via the eyeball test. There's a good sense of confidence emanating from the players. Not to keep beating up on MW, but he always wanted to be that steely-faced baseball general that showed no emotion, and maybe it just didn't fit this team.

Okay, I'm halfway to a Boz article, but I stand by my self-fulfilling analysis. It's not measurable, but it's certainly setting a good, fun tone around the early season, which will make it easier to weather the rougher stretches. Everyone seems to like Dusty, and the team is fired up and fun to watch. Harper's stupid hat could end up the defining mantra of the season.

Chaz R said...

JW will come around. He's a notorious slow starter. Sitting him may only prolong the work up time to get him hitting. No doubt JW when "on" is way better than any of the bench options.

Bryceroni said...

Gem from dusty about murph's cs: "I touched the wrong body part" huge laughs from press corps.

I might not like his strategy, but the impact he has had on the clubhouse in undeniable. Also, everyone looks like a good manager coming off ole PBN.

G Cracka X said...

Speaking of the Marlins, when do we start viewing them as the bigger division threat?

Anonymous said...

The best part of last night was Harper getting the 2 RBI double off the LOOGY brought in to face him after getting struck out by him the night before. He just might make every other manager look like PBN by the end of the season. It's still early, both in his career and in the season, but I really really like his trajectory. Where is that 500M contract offer at? It needs to be for the highest AAV ever given to a player, include team stock options, escalator clauses, no-trade clause, the works. Just no opt outs. Surely the Lerner's can throw in the moon if he asks for it. That needs to be in the works ASAP. For all eternity people should immediately think of Bryce Harper when they are discussing DC baseball.

Fries said...

I'd kill for that Anon, but I don't see the Lerners throwing a deal out there that will keep Bryce here

In a weird alternate universe, though, I could see this being the contract to kill all contracts in that maybe teams will realize you can't keep throwing the bus at the best player each offseason because eventually that bus becomes bigger than the value of your team. In that scenario, yes I could see the Nats keeping Bryce

Froggy said...

Get the band back together and sign Michael Morse once he clears waivers! Something tells me he would hit better than Werth and besides, we get to sing...

...take on meeee....take meee onn!

G Cracka X said...

Froggy, I wish they brought that song back for the 7th inning stretch!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but JW is not coming around. He's more thoroughly washed up than a sedan that just got the Deluxe package at David's II.

The inability of so many sports fans in this town to accept reality never ceases to amaze me and boggle my mind.

Bryceroni said...

Froggy it was a travesty that they didn't keep take on me for the 7th inning stretch, it was an awesome tradition while it lasted.

Josh Higham said...

Anon: I was bashing JW just a few days ago, but he has drawn a lot of walks, and today cleared the fences. He also didn't embarrass himself in the field. I redact my earlier criticism, at least for now. He'll probably never be 2014 Werth again, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he ended up the third best hitter on the team this year.

Ryan DC said...

It's almost like drawing sweeping conclusions from a handful of games is a bad idea.

DezoPenguin said...

Largest margin of victory this season. That's something, right? And Roark with seven shutout innings feels very good, even if it is against the 2016 Braves (who at this point have a chance to be historically bad). And as noted by Kenny B., it's not like the Mets are playing the Cubs and Giants right now. I'd rather be "We're only beating bad teams" than "we're getting beat by bad teams"! (Plus, these games give Taylor some playing time to see if he can get untracked, let Revere heal up, and let Werth figure out why he keeps hitting the snooze alarm for April.)