Well that was a bad stretch now wasn't it? But look! Nats are still in first. They are still pacing for the 90s in wins (93/94 if you must know). And they still have a chance to knock the Mets for a loop. Three games at home starting tonight. Four games, in NY, right after the 4th. In between, what should be 7 games vs patsies, Cincinnati and Milwaukee.
If all goes according to plan the Nats will be 4 games up over the Mets by Thursday morning. Five or 6 games up coming into the July 7th series. Then they are a soul crushing 3-1 series win from being around 8 games up. Season over? Not quite. But the ride on out would be smoother. This is what I'm expecting. Well maybe not the 3-1, but being up around 6 games going into that series.
That may be big talk coming off a 7 game slide but the Nats didn't actually play all that badly during that slide. They didn't get blown out in any game losing by 4 - 3 - 3 - 1 - 1- 2 - 1. That's not usually how 0-7 teams play. I'm not saying the Nats played well. I'm just saying that the Nats played not terribly enough that it really should have been a 2-5 ish slide. If the Nats had done that they'd be up by 5 and we'd be nothing more than mildly annoyed they aren't playing better. "Mildly annoyed they aren't playing better" had been the team slogan from Mid April until very recently.
Any way. Mets series. Win tonight. Win the series.
We won't of course, get out of here without talking about Strasburg. A weight room incident? I guess.
The Nats need Strasburg if only to help avoid streaks like they just had. Scherzer should be the stopper but showed that he's just flaky enough with the HRs this year that you can't count on him 100%. I'd probably say the same thing sort of thing about Stras. He's just not great enough that I'm not sure he'll win. However, you give me Max and Stras back to back and I'll bet on a win. Now that there's no Stras a lot falls on Max.
Ross and Roark are solid, but they aren't stoppers. Gio, well Gio might actually be a problem to solve, which is another reason they need Strasburg back. The Nats aren't exactly swimming in SP depth. Yes there are Giolito and Lopez but both are still in AA more likely to be held back for 2017. Austin Voth is a decent enough arm to give a chance to but he's just one. If Stras is here you can work out between those three, who can replace a Gio if that becomes necessary. If Stras isn't here, then you need two. Are there two here for 2016? I don't know.
When will we see Stras again? It might have to do with how the Nats handle the next few games. If the Nats take a nice lead, there is little reason to rush him back and for the sake of three more starts you could rest him right through the All-Star break. If it gets close there will be more pressure on him to return, certainly for that big 4 game set at CitiField. Hopefully he's not all that injured and he'll be back next go around.
The Nats need Stras this year. There's too much of the season left not to. They can live without him though, for a few weeks, as long as they take care of business vs the Mets and some middling teams in the meantime.