Somewhere yesterday someone asked about the Mets offense and I said that their consistent lineup produced fairly stable results. Lots of 3-4-5-6 run games. Then I contrasted them with the Nats whose (season so far) great + awful lineup produced more extremes. More highs but more lows. Yesterday was a low as the Nats were a two-out two-strike Werth homer from being shutout.
I don't really consider yesterday a big negative. The Nats were competitive and probably in the way they are going to be competitive against good teams all year long. They'll shut down your offense while their offense tries to eek out a few runs. As long as the pitching is good enough and the hitting is fair enough it'll work. See the whole season up to now. Even if they get swept, if they are competitive in these games I'll be ok. It'll be a disappointing end to an overall great road trip, but that's it. Right now only an 0-4 series with at least 2 non-competitive blowouts (or worse) would bother me.
The Cubs did what many teams are going to do this year, what the Phillies did successfully in that last series, pitch around Bryce and make the other guys beat you. That the Nats didn't score doesn't surprise me. Yes neither the Cardinals or Royals pitched around Bryce (he walked more last night than in those last two series combined), but despite Bryce not doing anything really during that run there may have been some psychological effect on the rest of the line-up. Some sort of "OK it's not on me. I can relax" effect that allowed them to hit better. I don't know. I do know that the Nats are 2-4 in games where Bryce is walked 2 or more times, 6-6 in games where he takes a walk at all, and 13-3 in games he doesn't walk. If I were the other team I'd walk him. If you are worried about it Werth has looked better in the past week. So has Zimm. Ramos has maintained. There's optimism here that this strategy will eventually fail. (really it has to if the Nats are going to win the East)
Ross looked good and I was very happy to see a bunch of strikeouts. If he's truly going to get to a #1 type level he needs those Ks. Yes the Cubs strike out a lot, but to me that just sets up a situation if he doesn't do it - I'm bothered. He did it so I'm not bothered. Now keep it up. I can spin some ... I don't call them "negatives" I call them "wrong way realities" at you, but I'll save those for before his next start. He doesn't let guys on base and in general isn't hit hard. He keeps the ball down seems very in control when he pitches. This is against good teams and bad teams now. There is nothing is terribly out of line in his stats either in comparison to last year (he's giving up more liners but fewer hard hit balls so that kind of evens out), or just in general. While 1.23 is going away, six games into his second season I don't see any reason why last year can't be repeated for all of 2016.
The relief pitching failed for the second time in three games, although this was keeping a game close rather than closing one out. Dusty has leaned heavily on a handful of arms in the pen, Rivero being the most utilized. I've said many times I'm all for this type of plan regardless of what it may do to an arm 2-3 years down the line. Win today. But as that theory implies, it has to be effective today. Rivero having a bad outing isn't a warning he's about to implode, but given two pretty bad outings in the past week maybe 9 appearances in 15 days is a bit much. How about a couple days off for Felipe, Dusty?