We're beginning to see some patterns emerge from Dusty and one of those is trying to squeeze each last bit he can from his starter. It's one thing when you bring out a starter performing well to try to see how many more easy outs you can get, a la Strasburg two night ago. It's another when you can't bring yourself to pull a struggling starter because you want to at least get to PH for him in the bottom of the inning. That can lead to digging a hole you can't get out of and that's what happened last night. Ross lost his effectiveness in the 6th but Dusty kept him in too long. A few hard grounders and soft liners later and the Nats were down two.
It wasn't Dusty's finest moment but hey 20-13 so for now complaints should be at a minimum. For now.
If you are a glass half-empty kind of guy the Nats have not been playing well for a while. They are actually 3 1/2 weeks into an 11-12 stretch*. The question of "who have they beat" didn't go away like we thought it would during this time. The Cardinals are probably good (I'll hold onto that belief right now). The Marlins are probably ok. But the Twins are garbage and it wasn't the Nats beating the Royals that made them "bad". They really are not playing well. Bryce is being thrown for a loop it seems by all the walks. Since that first 3 walk game Bryce is hitting .146 with 1 HR and no other XBH. Plus he's struck out 19 times in these 15 games after starting out with only 9 Ks in the first 18. He does have a .463 OBP but taking the bat out of his hands is messing him up and therefore messing up the Nats offense.
The other concerning thing is the slow start for Revere. God knows he's
going to (and should) get what, six weeks? two months? to get going but
the hope was he'd provide an immediate spark for the Nationals. Instead
he's actually hitting worse than MAT did. You didn't think it was
possible did you? This is almost certainly temporary. Unlike MAT being a
question mark with little major league success to base opinions on,
Revere has been Revere for years. He may do a little worse, time and
injury gets all players, but to be this bad for an extended time would
There was good from last night. Ryan Zimmerman FINALLY got going, hitting two home runs, one after a Bryce walk. He did fail to come up big in the 9th when they again challenged him but the guy was directly responsible for 3 of the Nats 4 runs last night. You can't ask for much more. We'll see if this keeps up.
The pen was ok and thanks to that was used as little as possible. Solis ate up two innings and Kelley one which is perfect. With the day off tomorrow a bunch of guys should be available for today. That's great because I'd love to get out of today with the likely overtaxed Rivero (10 appearances in 20 days) not throwing. Make it happen Dusty.
So now we come to the end of the long trip. Sixteen days of baseball in a row comes to an end today with Scherzer vs Zimmermann. Scherzer needs a good game today, not because of the whole Max vs ZNN thing we got going here (that's still a 3 year minimum analysis so call me at the end of 2017) but because he followed up his best game of the year; a 4-hit, 9K gem vs the Cardinals, with his worst game of the year; a 4 homer garbage fire against the Cubs. We thought he righted the ship. He didn't. A decent game or better today would go a long way to comforting Nats fans while another bad game could warrant some deep questions.
*If you prefer not to split series you can go 13-12 or 11-11, still pretty mediocre play.