Nationals Baseball: Other races

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Other races

The Nats race is done. It was done a while ago, whether you were with me, after me, or before me in getting to that point inside of you you must be there now right? You must understand that if the Mets or Marlins play like they have all season the Nats would merely have to go like 7-24 or 8-23 to tie them. You must understand that if the Nats muddle through September going 15-16 from here on out then the Mets or Marlins will have to go 24-7 to catch them. You get this right?

So if the Nats race isn't watchable what is?

Well we'll start with what isn't. The NL Central makes the NL East look like a horse race. The Cubs have a 14 game lead on the Cards and are almost as far ahead of the Nats for home field as the Nats are ahead in the NL East. Neither that division or the race for HFA in the NL is interesting. Also Ian Desmond and his Texas Rangers have a similar lead to what the Nats have in the AL West. Consider that done.

NL West
Probably the most compelling race. Dodgers and Giants, two decades long rivals, fighting for the division. The Giants a biennial favorite to win the World Series, and this is the year. The Dodgers, the team that spent the most to try to get over the hump and get their first championship since 1988. They have 6 games H2H still left - starting on Sept 19th, including a season ending series. The only "shame" is the loser is on pace for the Wild Card rather than a vacation.

NL Wild Card
If everyone is mediocre things can still be exciting as the Cardinals, Pirates (-1.5), Miami (-2.5), and Mets (-2.5) battle it out for maybe 87 wins and the 2nd Wild Card.  Good baseball? Maybe not, but compelling? Sure. Impt series include Mets/Marlins right now and Pirates/ Cards starting on Labor Day.  They both meet near the end of the year so it could be a hot finish as well. (but knowing these teams 3 of them will go like 5-15 over the next few weeks)

AL East
A big ol glorious mess as the Blue Jays currently hold a 2 game lead over the Sox and a 4 game lead over the Orioles. (the 7.5 game lead over the Yankees only scares Nats fans who are still wary of the Mets and Marlins).  The Blue Jays are playing the Orioles right now, and will get Boston in little over a week, before finishing the season vs Bal and Bos back to back. In between all that Boston and Baltimore play eachother 7 times in 11 days from the 12th to the 22nd. There's a lot of potential in this race.

AL Central
Cleveland is up with a solid 4.5 game lead over Detroit and 5.5 over the hard charging (18-4 in last 22) Royals. The Indians meet up with the Tigers and Royals for two series each a starting on the 16th (with a White Sox breather inbetween) so it could be a great finish. It could also be over before it even gets there.

AL Wild Card
A mess but not quite as glorious as the AL East because it's a Wild Card thing. The Orioles, Tigers (-1), Astros (-2), Royals (-2), Mariners (-3), and Yankees (-3.5) all have a shot at that last WC spot. The Royals are trying to end the Yankees hopes right now, then take on the Tigers. The Yankees face Baltimore again after the Royals. The Tigers and Baltimore match up soon after that. If it still matters there are SEAvHOU and more KCvDET and BALvNYY beyond that. It's likely something will end up mattering.

AL HFA
The Rangers have a slight lead for this but have to play SEA and HOU 12 times in the next 15 games. After that it should be smooth sailing.  Toronto is closer than Cleveland but there is no rest for an AL East team. 21 games versus the teams we've talked about. Cleveland on the other hand has a more balanced schedule (even better if you don't like the Marlins - and I don't) so they are probably going to be the challenger, if there is one.

15 comments:

Carl said...

Nats currently 3 games up on the Dodgers for home field in the NLDS. That's kind of a big deal, both for the edge in the series, and for knowing if and when to schedule stuff around home playoff games.

G Cracka X said...

@Carl Yes, I agree. That is an NL HFA race worth watching

Anonymous said...

All we should be looking for at this point is for the starting pitching to get healthy. Ideally, Strasburg would get back to full speed and ready to pitch 2 games in a 5 game series if necessary and Joe Ross could prove that he can be a useful bullpen piece for the NLDS. If I get encouraging signs from both, any other issues that arise won't bother me

cass said...

Seems like Dodgers and Giants are the ones to watch for Nats fans - the winner will be our opponent so we're scouting them and there's HFA to watch for as Carl mentions. There's also the final broadcasts of Vin Scully's career. People like the SF broadcasters too.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would happen if Dusty went to Rizzo and said that he wanted to platoon Zimmerman and Robinson going forward. Would Uncle Teddy or Mark Lerner say that Zim is getting paid too much to be in a platoon?

I have the sick feeling they would, which means we're stuck in a dismal Ryan Howard situation.

Robot said...

Glad to see Tanner back last night. Good stuff, that.

I (and I expect many others here) am really hoping for the Giants to tank at this point.

Bjd1207 said...

@Anon - I don't think they'd have a problem with that, Rizzo doesn't seem to be the one to stand in the way of strategic moves like we expect the Dan Snyder's of the world to. But his wRC+ is only a bit better than Zim's and doesn't come with a 3B-level glove. A lot of people are hard on Zim right now and for good reason, but Clint doesn't present that much of an upgrade

Fries said...

@Bjd

I'd agree. While Clint is a solid bench piece, he's not an every day kind of player. Zimm's numbers may be worse than Clint's, but he's got quite a bit more potential to break out and contribute even with how he's played. Keep in mind his BABIP is at a career low (70 points below career avg, though a good chunk of that is due to soft contact). If he can start seeing the ball a little better with consistent reps and not get injured, I like Zimm way better than CRob

Jay said...

I agree with both Bjd and Fries. With a 9 game lead the Nats are likely to give Zim every chance to find it in the next month. If he does and heats up like 2nd half Zim used to heat up, then he can carry a team offensively. The question is can he. I also think Dusty is more why Zim plays everyday and not Robinson.

Rob Evans said...

I guess I half-way agree regarding Zim. I do feel like he's more likely to break out and he's better than CRob. But, I feel like he's probably done (at least for this year). Too many injuries and not enough ABs to knock off any rust.

Nattydread said...

@Rob Evans.

Weren't we saying the same thing about Werth?

DezoPenguin said...

@Nattydread:

But Werth knocked off the rust somewhere mid-May, so that he got going again a bit before Danny's hot streak started, and he's kept it up all year. Even given that he's missed considerable time with injury, it's a lot easier to say "He hasn't got it this year" five months in than one month in.

At this point, it's not so much whether we have any genuine faith in Zim, it's going to be whether Robinson, Revere, or Difo (the latter two meaning that Murphy moves to 1B) are likely to give us anything better. Unfortunately, we don't have a Trea Turner ready to step in at 1B.

Josh Higham said...

@everyone, I like Clint fine, but it's mostly leftover goodwill from last year. I think Murphy is the right guy to play first to give Zim rest, since he hits better than Clint and Zim, and you can then plug in a good defender at 2B. I'd be super bullish on a Zim/Murph quasi-platoon if Drew was healthy and hitting, but he isn't healthy, and is kinda unlikely to hit well when he comes back from the extended absence. As it is, I think Zim just needs reps so that one of the following good things happens:
A) He starts hitting like he used to
B) He gets hurt again and we don't have to worry about his wiffle ball bat come October

Zimmerman11 said...

Wow. Espy just blew up the catcher. That hasn't happened a whole lot since the rules changes. Sick play (even if it was the end of the inning and he was out by about 15 feet).

Anonymous said...

22- Mets
21- Marlins
14- Phillies
3- Braves
Elimination Numbers for those curious