Nationals Baseball: 8 games

Thursday, August 11, 2016

8 games

A while back looking at this stretch I said that if the Nats ended up here 9 games up that would be enough. I even thought to myself that 8 games might be enough to call it.  Where are we? 7.5 games up on the Marlins. RIGHT THERE

So basically we enter a time frame where a Nats win and Marlins loss means I'll probably call it. The Mets have an outside chance, I suppose, if you are being technical about it, to get back in there but why would you think that? The talk has been about the Mets not winning back to back games in forever but the reality is they haven't won a series since taking one from MIA. The Mets have in fact been a great friend to the Nats. Since June 27th when the Nats had a modest 3 game lead on the Mets and Marlins, the Mets have gone 4-2 versus the Marlins and 1-6 versus the Nats. Flip the Marlins games and make the Nats series competitive (say 3-4) and the Marlins are an honest threat rather than holding on by their fingernails. Thanks Mets!

The Nats still have potential to have offensive problems heading down the stretch. If Bryce doesn't come back healthy and right, then the bottom of the line-up is a hole and the top is relying on a couple of injury risks and a rookie to keep it from being a two-man show. But the Nats are ok skating on this for as long as their NL East opponents can't capitalize and the pitching remains very strong. As long as it is set and ready at game 162 then it can take it's time finding its feet again. Will it? We'll see. Yesterday gave you an idea of how Werth and Rendon can compliment Ramos and Murphy. In itself not enough but the base from where a returning Bryce and one more solid bat (Turner?) can finish off the thing.

Gio was old Gio. He's been pretty good recently but I think, looking to playoffs, that he's just the fourth arm, not the fourth starter. If the Nats are up 3-0, maybe 3-1, maaaaaaybe 2-1 in a 7 gamer, then you can roll with Gio in that next game, especially if the team has some strong lefty bats. Otherwise he's mopping up for Stras - Max - Roark.

OK day off. Relax. Put up the plastic and wheel the champagne out, but don't bring the cameras in yet. We don't want to be gauche.

22 comments:

JE34 said...

Can we please save the "calling it" discussions for September AND a double-digit lead over the Marlins?

Anonymous said...

I saw your Tweet and looked at those minor league game logs for Giolito. It's even worse than I thought it was.

I'm sorry to tell you folks, but Giolito isn't the phenom we were all led to believe he is. He just isn't. He's a guy, and not a whole lot more than that.

G Cracka X said...

Didn't you tell us to root for the Marlins the last time they had a H2H with the Mets?

Mythra said...

Basically, cheer for:

1) Nats, always.
2) If not the Nats, cheer for NL East Teams in reverse standings order (ATL, PHI, NYM, MIA) when playing other NL East teams.
3) If the Nats win, #2 doesn't matter.

That's my August through September guide for cheering/rooting logic. It should already be souless automaton compatible.

Anonymous said...

STICK A FORK IN 'EM, WE RUN THE EAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Giolito is an absolute bust. isuspected it when I saw him in AA last year, and wholeheartedly confirmed by his MLB performances.

I would have loved for Rizzo to have traded him for a controllable big bat, because I thnk his value is droppin glike a stone.

The good news? Lopez looks lights out. kid is gonna be a star.

Ollie said...

^^ Too hot to handle prospect take. ^^

Harper said...

JE34 - No. That's an insane standard. That would mean to not win the Nats would have to go 9-20 while Marlins/Mets go 19-10. Their best month of year vs Nats worst month in decade. You're asking to wait until it is an almost literal impossibilty. That's not calling it - that's just stating a fact.

Anon @9:16 - give it more time. He's still young and it's relatively late in the year (he could tire easy). Let's see what he does in AAA next April May and June, then possibly re-evaluate.

GcX - yeah well I thought the Mets would bounce back. Whoops.

Mythra - there you go! Follow this

Anon @ 10:06 - IN EVEN NUMBERED YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!

Anon @ 10:09 - "absolute bust"? At 22 with all of 3 major league games under his belt? You need to attach a name here bc this is the type of bold statement that you need to crow about later or we need to mercilessly mock you for.

Ollie - I think it's a too cold to hold prospect take.

Flapjack said...

Anon, here is one example why you shouldn't panic over Giolito: Scherzer. Like Straus, Max signed out of college, not HS, like Giolito. He spent the better part of two years in the minors (though not recovering from TJ) before his first call-up in 2008. He showed promise, with a 3.05 ERA, but went 0-4 in 56 IP. He started for AZ in 2009, but finished the year 9-11 with a 4.12 ERA. The next year he was in Detroit, with a 3.5 ERA. In 2011, his ERA was 4.12. It wasn't until age 29 that things really began to click. In 2013, 6 years after becoming a pro and nearly 5 years after his first major league start, he went 23-4 with a 2.90 ERA.

All of this is to say that you shouldn't be surprised if Giolito doesn't click until age 24 or 25. Just know that the same guy who picked Scherzer for AZ picked Giolito.

Richard Parker said...

You said 9 games, right, Harper? Is there some rule saying you can't call it vs. the Mets but leave Miami on hold for a couple of games?

Jay said...

What happened to the Mets? Sure they had a lot of injuries, but they're 10.5 out after today. They were just swept by Arizona in New York. Sure Harvey was pretty much out all year, but Syndergaard and Matz "pitched through" their elbow spurs. Anderson signed Cabrera and traded for Walker. Familia is a legit closer. They brought back Cespedes. Anyway, my biggest fear is that Collins will be fired and they'll hire a real manager.

Also, anyway anyone signs Cespedes to a big money long term deal on the offseason? The guy pretty much tuned out after the All Star break because the Mets were fading. Was out playing golf the same day he was put on the DL. Seems like another guy I'm glad the Nats missed out on. Goes to show it isn't always the deals you make but the ones you don't. Heyward in Chicago has been horrible for $200 million. Zobrist is good but older and not as good as Murphy. Brandon Phillips would have made the Nats very right handed. Cespedes would have added offense but who knows if Harper or Cespedes stay healthy in CF this year.

And to say Giolitto is a bust is just crazy. The scouts aren't always right, but they are usually right about your top 5 talent. I think the odds favor Giolitto being good to very good. I agree with the last line of Flapjack's post as well. In Rizzo I trust. Now just sign Melancon and his cutter for 3 more years.

mike k said...

Anyone take a look at the Mets' lineup today? Yeesh. Looks like the type of lineup the worst teams in the league put out pre-parity. Everyone in there is a pretender *at their place in the lineup*.

Someone will sign Cespedes big. It only takes one. Anyone wanna take bets? 6-150 too high? I bet he gets somewhere around there.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Mets is they went on an insane run late last year that made them look a hell of a lot better than really were (and are) and thus skewed everyone's perception of their true talent, even with Murphy going nuts.

Before that crazy run, they were 52-50. Looks pretty similar to their current 57-57, doesn't it? If you have 109-107 versus 38-22, which looks like it's probably more of the true outlier?

DezoPenguin said...

@ Anon 1:29 This year's Mets have been kind of crippled by injuries, though. Lucas Duda is an above-average first baseman with power (...seriously, I'd be ecstatic to have our 1B position hit like Duda's projections), and he's basically missed the season. Wright may be done with baseball forever. D'Arnaud, Cabrera, and Cespedes have all missed time as well. And injuries destroyed their starting pitching, which was supposed to the heart of the team. Colon is actually pitching above his weight (heh) and deGrom has been fine, but Harvey has been an object lesson in "maybe you actually shouldn't overuse your pitchers" and Matz (pitching through the pain of a bone spur that will require surgery) and Syndergaard (spur, dead arm have had their performances regularly gutted after their great start.

Really, the Mets' biggest weakness has got to be their seeming adherence to macho "play through the pain" culture that's backfired on them time and again this year. Whether it's Cespedes or Matz or Syndergaard or Harvey, they seem unwilling to back off and treat anything before it blows up completely.

Nonsensical trade deadline moves don't help much either...

PotomacFan said...

I just don't see it with Giolito, but I do trust in Rizzo. How can anyone throw 66 pitches, with only one swing and miss? That's got to be some kind of record. By contrast, Lopez looks like he will be very good with a bit more seasoning.

Any predictions on who will be added to the rotation? Do we have someone in AAA who can eat up some innings as a 5th starter. The Nats lost all five games that Giolito and Lopez started. I can sort of live with that, but their short stints waste valuable bullpen arms. I suppose it won't matter as much when we get to a 40 man roster on 9/1. We'll just throw all the rookies and stiffs out every 5 days, and hope for the best. Ramos should get to rest on these days.

And I'll keep my fingers crossed that Joe Ross returns this year, with the kind of stuff he had last year and early this year.

prowley40 said...

Pretty sure we won giolitos first start against the mets. The rain delayed game.

Nattydread said...

Why Bryce is Diminished. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-bryce-harper-has-gone-from-great-to-good/

Flapjack said...

PotomacFan is right: so far this (regular) season Giolito has looked over matched. But that was not true during Grapefruit league play, where he was every bit ready to mix it up with the big boys. So, his travails may reflect, in part, a small sample size (and on this page, short memories). One way to get only one wiff on 66 pitches is to not have your secondary stuff going for you. That means batters are waiting on the fastball. A high contact rate is inevitable. Regarding the secondary stuff, I'm not sure his curve was accurately called by umps, who aren't used to such a break (he launches it from well over his head). No excuses, though. He needs more seasoning in the minors for now.

This may sound crazy, but I'd like to see them bring up AJ Cole for a look. He hasn't been blowing anyone away in AAA, but might be inspired by the opportunity. Roark didn't break through until age 27. Just saying.

Richard Parker said...

You can talk about the Mets injuries all you want, but if someone told you before the season that Zim would basically miss and/or suck the entire season, that Werth would miss a big chunk of it and be average afterwards, that Rendon would take most of the season to come back to look two-thirds of his former self, that they're third-best pitcher would miss weeks in the second half with no timetable for a return, and that Bryce would be batting in the low .200s at this point in the year, I would have (wait, that was a really long sentence. What was I saying?). Oh, yeah, everyone would be saying the Nats would finish 3rd or 4th in the NL East.

Anonymous said...

In sports, fluky things happen, and they happen more frequently than we tend to think. Sometimes, even very good and talented teams will mysteriously underperform for really long stretches. Like the 2015 Nationals, for example. Other times, teams that are really just average or a little above average will unexpectedly catch fire, like the Mets did for three months straight last year. It happened right here in DC in 2012 with our very own football team, when a team that frankly wasn't that great caught lightning in a bottle and somehow reeled off 7 wins in a row to end the season, which pretty much nobody seriously expected to happen.

The truth is that even in MLB with its long 162 game grind, one season often isn't enough of a sample to get an accurate picture of how good or not a team really is. You need more like 2 or even 3 full seasons of mostly the same group of guys playing together to get the real story. And things like free agency, injuries, and aging can still make that difficult.

dj said...

we have seen this before...tall, hard throwing kid with 2 plus pitches develops that
third pitch(in this case its the change up) goes on to become a #1,#2 starter...
Giolito will be very good... very soon...

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