Nationals Baseball: Prove it

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Prove it

If not for anything else, than so we can maybe not talk about it for the next 3 weeks.

The Nats faced a great pitcher on his game and wilted. That's not surprising, just disappointing when you are looking for them to step up and put together a good showing. And by that I don't mean much, I mean manufacturing maybe 3 runs over 7? Is that too much to ask?

I get it. Sometimes that IS too much to ask. Sometimes the other guy is just that good but still...

I just browsed so this could be wrong, but it seems like the last decent (sub 4.00 ERA) starter the Nats really got to in any way was Teheran on the 19th of August (6H, 3 BB in 5 innings) and before that Danny Salazar on July 26th. Yeah yeah part of that I'm sure is facing an easier schedule so there aren't going to be as many good starters to go against and yeah yeah  part of that is that you don't do well against good pitchers or else they wouldn't be good pitchers, but there is something offensively going on you can't deny.  Last night was the 12 time in the last 17 games where they've scored 4 or fewer runs (9th in 16 scoring 3 or under). If you want to be cruel and pull the Atlanta series out those numbers become 12 in 14 & 9 in 13.  They've been a bad offensive team for going over 3 weeks now.

Is it just a slump? Perhaps. Look before we start to go down a "what do we do" road, let's see what happens today. Gsellman isn't Sydergaard, we can't write it off if he dominates the Nats. Gsellman isn't Montero, or at least in 4 games he hasn't shown that, we can't write it off if the Nats bomb him. We're going to take Gsellman as he stands right now, a decent middle of the road pitcher. A good #3 and we're going to see if the Nats can't score 3-5 runs in 5-6 innings off him.  Can they offensively create a winning scenario off a decent pitcher who's team really needs to win?

The flipside is the Nats pitching is really coming through. Because we're focused on finding problems it gets lost but the Nats haven't tanked along with the middling offense. They are 11-6 in their last 17 games. Their starters have been good in the past 3 weeks, which is meaningful given that they are using fill-ins for two spots. Their relievers have been great.  We remember the occasional mess-up, like last nights bomb off Melancon, but in total the relief pitching gave up 1 run over 5 innings last night. You can't ask for more than that.

The same sort of "well maybe Zimm is this and Espy is this and Ramos is this" shoe dropping that haunts the offense, makes you feel real good about the pitching. Maybe Kelley is dominant. Maybe Treinen has turned a corner. Maye Burnett is back and Rep can get all the lefties. Maybe Scherzer is the guy to carry the team in the playoffs. He is in the argument for Cy Young. Maybe Roark is good enough to be that 2nd up. He has a 2.38 ERA since his 2nd start after the All-Star break. Maybe Gio is ready to shutdown the lefty bats of a Los Angeles or San Francisco. He had a 3.16 ERA in July and August and just gave you one of his best starts of the year.

The Nats have always been a pitching first team. This year is no different. That was almost good enough in 2012, when it took some terrible bullpen mismanagement to lose that final game. That was almost good enough in 2014 when the Nats lost three one-run games in the NLDS. We can and should talk about the offense but as long as the pitching is doing this well the Nats have more than a fair chance to move further in the playoffs.

Back to today - I hope Dusty treats this game like a playoff game. Why shouldn't he? It's the last game versus a team with anything to play for until October. Tomorrow is meaningless and you have pitchers to burn. So make this a test run. Put in the line-up you'd have in the playoffs. Aim to manufacture runs if that's the way the game seems to be going. Score a handful against Gsellman. Keep the Mets, a surging team, down for the third game in a row.  Pivot the imaginary series your way. That's the way I'd look at today. 

57 comments:

PotomacFan said...

With apologies for going off-topic, on a slow day can we discuss why the audio on CSN is so terrible. The background crowd noise is amplified, making it difficult to hear the announcers. (Some might say this is not such a bad thing.) Why can't CSN fix this? It's the same for the Orioles games, too.

BxJaycobb said...

I think I would argue (and will argue) that no team in baseball besides the Cubs can expect (or even reasonably hope) to beat Syndergaard with a fill-in starter. At least not when Syndergaard is on his game. Nats have faced Syndergaard twice in a week and thrown AJ Cole against him. They won one of the games and came within a single of winning the other, and rallied (sort of) against a top 5 closer to send game to extras. I personally was fine with the showing. Syndergaard is arguably the second best starter in baseball. He's just really really tough to scratch out more than a run or two against. To beat a pitcher like that (in the playoffs or not) you have to get lucky and throw at least one of your 2-3 best starters at him.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper: question. Did the offense tank when Zim came back? Because...sorry....it REALLY seems that way. Like..I'm almost positive that's the correlation. The guy just has a tremendous negative energy this year and it's almost awkward. I wouldn't be surprised if it's affecting everybody else. He is now hurting the team in brand new ways (whiffing on groundball that scored 2 runs instead of DP). More importantly though, he is a dependable out when we can't afford to have a dependable out at 1B. And no, Clint Robinson is not the same sort of dependable out. He's a singly Joe type but he puts together good ABs and at least makes the pitcher work for gods sake and advances runners and knocks in people from 3rd with less than 2 outs and would probably hit like .260. Ryan Zimmerman to be clear is not just the worst first baseman in baseball. He is the worst infield regular in the national league....at this point when he comes up in key situations (like...Zim can you literally get a bunt down. Or Zim...can you literally not strike out....or hey maybe a single?) every player on the team and every fan knows he will fail. It's just a negative energy that feels like it is spreading throughout offense.

Harper said...

about a week after he came back. But really it's been a 3-pronged attack. Zimm never getting going. Espinosa drifting into one of his extended periods of terrible hitting. Ramos tanking instead of drifting to a more normal level. At that point any single other batter doing poorly or not enough doing well and the offense is hard pressed to score. (currently no one is particularly hot and Werth is also hitting poorly)

John C. said...

All the "negative energy" around Zim that I've seen is from fans - who then often project their frustration and angst onto the Nationals. Every reporter that I've seen comment on it has mentioned that the team is wholly behind Zim and trusts him. Oh, wait, we only believe reporters when they say things that agree with our views. Nevermind. Zim is hurting morale so much on the Nationals that when he smoked a double into LF off of an ace pitcher at the top of his game to lead off an inning, the rest of the team collectively had a seizure and failed to get him in over, much less in. Clearly Zim's fault!

In happier news, on the "no one is particularly hot" for the offense I respectfully submit Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon. Murphy has pretty much held up his production; which apparently we've gotten used to so that "really good" becomes "not particularly hot."

Harper said...

JC - Yes, Murphy has to literally be on fire for him to be hot.

OK I did miss him but Rendon and Turner are "hot" like Bryce is "cold". The way I look at it is if a single + homer taken away or added would completely change my view on how you were doing then I just let it go. Basically .600 to .900 OPS I ignore.

Harper said...

*When looking at two week period

BxJaycobb said...

I have no inside information on how the team feels about a guy playing every day who has shown little to no signs of being able to hit over the last 2.5 years. Everybody thinks Zim is a great guy. And no player will say a bad word against him of course. But I don't think there should be a rule against benching a guy who is simply not producing because he makes lots of money and was once "face of the franchise." My god. How long do we have to watch a guy at FIRST BASE have an OBP of like .260. I mean that is devastating to an offense. And this idea that he is outstanding on defense just isn't true according to all defensive metrics. He's fine on defense. Nor is it true that we don't have a better option. By putting Murphy at 1B and Drew at 2B you improve dramatically on defense (because of Murphy not being at second) and I'm willing to bet Drew is able to provide more pop and OBP than THIS version of Zim. At the very least he should be playing against righties. Or give Difo a chance at 2B. At least he has speed and provides better defense. I've watched Zim be a below replacement level player over the last couple years and there's no indication it's getting better.

BxJaycobb said...

I think what it comes down to is for this team to be dangerous offensively in the playoffs one of two things have to happen. Either Bryce needs to approximate BRYCE. Or Ramos needs to hit closer to how he was hitting earlier in the year. If neither happens, there is way less room for error.

BxJaycobb said...

I'm not saying other people's failures are Zim's fault, and the negative energy is speculation admittedly. But it can't be great for a clubhouse that is desperate to get over the hump and win a playoff game to watch somebody play every day who is simply failing over and over in virtually every important situation. Since that Cubs series it's been almost impossible to watch Zim. I don't think he has gotten a truly high leverage late and close hit this year. I'm not kidding. Every truly huge situation he has come up in he hasn't come through. Honestly I feel bad for him because yes DC fans are uncommonly patient and nice, and it seems the clubhouse is supportive at least verbally. I mean @Harper can tell me if I'm wrong, but if Zim played in New York, he would have been booed literally like 2 years ago and would no longer be playing. If this continues I don't see how he starts in the playoffs.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper: also. A longer term concern about Turner (I know. We should be concerned about other people). It's been pretty insane how little he has walked. I worry that his plate discipline and lack of patience will lead to pitchers exploring his aggressiveness big time. Of course right now let's all just enjoy him. But with no BBs, he's definitely somebody who could be prone to slumps being more painful than usual.

Anonymous said...

I said this on other blog. Blame it on Hayden, who was born June 3. He was hot for 2 months and poor after her birth. He is not getting enough sleep.

By Day/Month AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
April 73 13 16 3 0 1 7 8 1 19 0 0 .219 .301 .301 .602
May 107 15 28 7 1 7 17 8 1 22 1 0 .262 .316 .542 .858
June 80 13 15 3 0 3 12 6 0 26 0 1 .188 .236 .338 .574
July 42 7 8 1 0 1 2 2 2 5 1 0 .190 .261 .286 .547
August 44 5 8 1 0 1 2 2 0 11 1 0 .182 .213 .273 .486
September 38 1 7 1 0 1 2 1 0 13 0 0 .184 .205 .289 .494

Sammy Kent said...

Are we finally reaching a consensus that the offense is anemic? Well, it's OK. We got the Braves, the blankety blank Marlins, and the D'Backs ready to help out. Probably we'll get one more chance to prove ourselves against a really good pitcher Tuesday night against Fernandez.

Zim needs to sit. Period. If Dusty won't sit him, Zim ought to be man enough and big enough to go to him and say take me out, I'm killing the team....because that's exactly what he's doing and why he needs to sit. You think the clubhouse talk is sis boom rah go get 'em Zim? It's more like geez, you know, if Clint or Ben or Chris or I was out there playing that bad we'd be sitting. We love you Zim, but it's time you fell on your sword for the team.

The most demoralizing thing about last night's loss, after making a heroic comeback against a Class A closer, tying the game, and having the winning run on second WITH NOBODY OUT, was seeing Ryan Zimmerman come to the plate. Here was the chance to silence all his doubters, prove once again he was still Mr. Walkoff, the most dependable guy in the clutch. Though we all wished and rooted and begged for a hit, 25,000 people at the stadium, thousands more watching on TV, and the whole Nationals dugout knew Ryan Zimmerman was NOT going to be the hero. The second most demoralizing thing is that if the situation presents itself again, Dusty will not pinch hit for him even if he's been O-fer for a month. He's become the Little Leaguer that sucks but whose daddy is the coach.

On the positive side, A.J. Cole was awfully dang good last night. Bryce and Trea avoided a catastrophic collision in the first inning. The ninth inning rally was exciting for a while, but ultimately disappointing.

Anonymous said...

"Back to today - I hope Dusty treats this game like a playoff game. Why shouldn't he? It's the last game versus a team with anything to play for until October. Tomorrow is meaningless and you have pitchers to burn. So make this a test run. Put in the line-up you'd have in the playoffs. Aim to manufacture runs if that's the way the game seems to be going. Score a handful against Gsellman. Keep the Mets, a surging team, down for the third game in a row. Pivot the imaginary series your way. That's the way I'd look at today"

This!

Anonymous said...

Glass is always half-full for some people. Give him a break Sammy Kent. Baseball is just a game, not the end of...

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of the comments about Zim - he stinks, and he's stunk for a while. Clint and/or Drew are definitely better options right now.

I have a different view about what should be done about it. There are 17 games left before the playoffs. They're all meaningless (including today; Ramos SHOULD NOT be starting day game after a night game in what amounts to an exhibition game for the Nats no matter if it's their last game against a decent team until the playoffs; Ramos should play no more than 2/3 games from here on out). Zim has a history/pedigree that suggests a much higher (offensive) ceiling than Drew or Clint. I think Dusty should use the next two weeks of games to see if Zim can get right and pull the plug if he's not showing signs of life. But right now, and for the next two weeks, Zim should play.

JE34 said...

/|\
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This.

WiredHK said...

If you're still behind Zim in the lineup, it's purely based on hope against hope vs anything concrete with any remote recency to it. If we submitted an NCAA-bracket style blind resume for him when deciding playoff starters, there is just zero chance he'd get a starting spot. Zero.

I love the guy for all he has done. And now it's time for him to do one last heroic thing - sit down and give the team a better chance to win in October.

I don't even like giving him these last 20 games to try to get "not frozen cold" at the plate. You're creating opportunity cost with his spot instead of trying some other rotations/options out to see if they are viable. It sucks to say all of this, but it is what it is....

JE34 said...

Zim and Espi back to back in the order is particularly painful right now. I think Espi is worse at the plate, striking out every 3rd at bat. He's exhibiting the worst of Desmond's habits from last year - big crazy uppercut swings, regardless of situation or pitch location.

It makes Trea's contribution so much more important. Bx makes a very important point - kid needs to work some walks!

blovy8 said...

If they're dumb enough to keep throwing him strikes, Turner should keep swinging at them.

If Zim hits, most of this crowd will say it was because of facing crappy pitching so nothing will ever be solved by playing time. As for clutchiness, pretty much everybody who has more walk-off homers than Zim already is or should be in the hall of fame, and he's only got 214 homers to get his 10. Calling him not clutch is silly, as is the BS clubhouse philosophy going on, and I really just don't understand this rush to be the guy who has to write that a player "done" or "can't do" a particular thing. Span can't hit, Ramos can't hit, Werth can't hit, Gio can't pitch. Strasburg is getting another TJ. It's ridiculous.

There's actually a chance the guy will, you know, HIT, at some point, because he has done it. And much, much better than Clint Robinson ever has.

JE34 said...

I learn from history... when our commenting community turns on a guy, he catches fire. Where is Robot with his faux-troll post?

Josh Higham said...

Robot, we need you!

Richard Parker said...

Harper's just mad because he predicted the Nats would win only 90 games, lose the NL East and miss the playoffs. That's what I call a big, fat O-fer.

Harper said...

Mad?

Ric said...

Sammy Kent said: Are we finally reaching a consensus that the offense is anemic? "

No. And you need to consult a dictionary.

BxJaycobb said...

Blovy: So....What exactly is wrong with pointing out that a guy with enormous injury problems has suffered a continuous downward spiral in production since 2012? Zimmerman's WAR according to Fangraphs: 2.7(2013), 1.2 (2014), 0.6 (2015), -1.0 (2016). That is a consistent downward collapse in value to a baseball team, which has coincided with age and an arthritic shoulder. This isn't being hysterical fans (incidentally....Gio is not a very good pitcher. Why is that one of your data points?)....this is just surrendering to the obvious. Ryan Zimmerman is almost certainly done as an above average major league starter. It gives me no pleasure to say that. But look at the history here and the direction his numbers have gone.

Richard Parker said...

Kidding. Although you seem to be nit-picking a lot lately on a team that has exceeded most expectations despite quite a bit going wrong/players who haven't played up to par this year. I think they'll be just fine when it gets down to the playoffs, or at least as better off than most teams.

BxJaycobb said...

Ps Ric. Why does he have to consult a dictionary? Anemic isn't just a medical term; its commonly used to mean lifeless--as in lifeless offense....Making jokes about word choice when you don't know a word is....absurd. (Absurd= worthy of ridicule or comical to the point of farce).

Froggy said...

For the group:

Who do you keep in the lineup if you have the choice, Zim or Espy?

For me, inspite of the passionate / statistically valid points made above, it's Zimmerman.

Harper said...

RP - I think the Nats have had pretty neutral luck this year, maybe even positive. Yes Bryce underperforms and Zimm/CF really underperforms, but Murphy, Ramos, and Turner really over perform. Starting pitching loses about 24 games to injury - that's probably on the low side (not even one full season), and get no bad performances. RP has no major injury.

I looked at that prediction and I'll have a post about it sometime before we get into playoff planning. Basically I undersold the Nats a little and oversold the entire NL.

BxJaycobb said...

Froggy: Espy, because he's an excellent defender at the most important position, so his horrible offense is tolerable. Horrible offense at First Base is just brutal. If you mean who would I rather like pinch hit (meaning defense and position aside), Zim.

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: To me the key to that prediction/outcome was injury luck. They've overall been quite lucky compared to past years. They've had no catastrophic injuries (Strasburg and Ross were both partial time), and almost no injuries period to lineup OR bullpen which is totally insane. I think the Harper, Zim, Revere, Taylor downer balances out the Ramos, Rendon, Murphy, Turner surprises more or less.

BxJaycobb said...

And then of course the mets have gotten absolutely destroyed by injuries. Probably worse than Nats last year.

Harper said...

Froggy - it's not clear cut. When Danny is like this he doesn't make contact at all. You probably go Danny bc defense but if you were just talking about at the plate I'd go Zimm.

Harper said...

bx - yeah - post spoiler. I did say something like "With the Nats at 90 that means if anything happens to the Mets they should take the east easily" so there's that.

Ric said...

BxJaycobb said, "Anemic isn't just a medical term; its commonly used to mean lifeless--as in lifeless offense....Making jokes about word choice when you don't know a word is....absurd. (Absurd= worthy of ridicule or comical to the point of farce)."

Faulty assumption; I do know the definition of "anemic. And you answered your own question on why he should not use the word: the Nationals offense is NOT lifeless. It is above average By almost every offensive metric there is. And that includes if we just measure from the All-Star break to now.

Richard Parker said...

@Bx: Rendon was a surprise, batting .276/.354/.782? Seems to me that's about what most people would have expected from a healthy Tony. Maybe that he was healthy most of the year? He certainly took a lot longer than expected to get going.

Ric said...

BxJaycobb said: "And then of course the mets have gotten absolutely destroyed by injuries. Probably worse than Nats last year."

Yes. And the delicious irony is, a lot of it was the Mets' own doing. They went polar opposite of the Nats strategy of conservatism, and marched multiple pitchers out for more innings than any time in their career.

Froggy said...

Yes, I was thinking of who I want at the plate in any situation and past history shows Zim has hit and despite his current slump he could do so again. Espy just doesn't inspire confidence in me that he will do something he has never done (with any consistency).

Defensively, yes Espy plays the heck out of a tough position but we also have other options for SS defensively.

BxJaycobb said...

I think merely that he was healthy the entire year is a surprise. The only other year as a college player or pro he has played a full healthy season was I believe 2014, where he had very similar numbers.

BxJaycobb said...

K. Your comment suggested that the person was using a word he didn't know the definition to. Clearly he does, since we've been discussing whether or not the offense has been lifeless recently (see example first five innings today against a mediocre to bad pitcher).

Josh Higham said...

Things getting a little feisty.

Note: In the last 30 days, the Nats team wRC+ is 97, which is "above average" in the NL, but 21st in MLB, and is definitely not above average by definition of wRC+. For 30 days, the offense hasn't been anemic exactly, but not good. In the last 14 days, team wRC+ is 81. Not good. 10th in the NL and behind several teams that have only draft position and spoiling to play for.

Ric said...

BxJaycobb, I understand that he knows what the definition of anemic is. As do I. And you. Again, my point, is that the Nationals offense is not lifeless recently. Looking at a five-inning sample is just not a good idea when determine if a line-up is lifeless or not.

Per ESPN, since the All-Star break, the the Nats are hitting 21 points higher (.271, up from .250). They’re averaging nearly half a run more per game (4.64 to 5.05). In the last five games the Nats have scored 22 runs.

Should the Nats be hitting higher than .271? No. That average leads the NL since the ASG.
Should we be scoring more than 5.05 runs a game? Maybe. But is that "anemic"? No.

Richard Parker said...

It seems like everyone is playing "the Boz game," as Harper might call it, using any convenient X number of games to make their point as to how well or badly the Nats offense is performing.

Ric said...

Agreed. Although, in fairness, I'm not saying the offense is performing well. Just saying that the Nats are (at minimum) average in just about every offensive metric, as Josh Higham commented.

Weighing in on Zimmerman: I think he should be benched for Robinson. I don't think Baker should use the next two weeks to see if he can "get right." He's had 103 games to "get right". Robinson is hitting .250 as a spot starter, and it is reasonable to expect him to do slightly better with regular starts.

Richard Parker said...

@Ric I'm actually more in the camp that people are over-reacting to the lack of offensive production lately (today's game won't help, despite the win). I also think Dusty will make the right decision when it comes to Zimm in due course, when it matters, and after all chances have been given. You don't yank someone like Ryan easily, especially considering all he's done for the team. If it were a close division race, that would be a different matter, but I think if things stay the same after another week or so, Dusty will make a change.

Ric said...

@Richard, I might not trust Dusty as much as you, but I was encouraged that he pinch hit for Espinosa last night. So maybe you're right.

BxJaycobb said...

@Ric. To be clear, I was never saying the Nats offense should fairly be described as anemic in general. Bad? Yes, it has been bad quite recently. I was saying that there's no reason to say something like "you need to check out a dictionary." It's just like....dismissive. Particularly if that's not what you mean. Just say "I don't think the offense has been anemic. I think it's too small a sample size and overall they've been quite good this year." Or whatever. I was never challenging the nature of the offense. Just the tone.

Sammy Kent said...

From dictionary.com:

adjective
1.
Pathology. suffering from anemia.
2.
lacking power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness; listless; weak:

As I have said for two years, put all the metrics and convoluted stats and averages away. Watch the games and apply the simplest metric of all: 1. how many runs were scored today, and 2. how many runs failed to score today stranded on second or third?

I'm dang happy, and frankly I was just giddy as crap when Melancon got the last out yesterday. I'm still giddy on this fine Thursday morning. I just wanted to win, and I didn't care how we did it. But it doesn't change the fact that yesterday another weasel-eyed rookie held us scoreless for six innings, and all we could manage was one solo dinger. Fortunately, it was enough, but it hardly illustrates an offensive juggernaut. To expand on Harper's observation the other day, the number of runs scored in our last 13 non-Atlanta games: 4, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, 5, 3, 3, 8, 3, 1. That's an average of 2.76 runs per game, and even that number is inflated by Monday's singular eight run explosion that sticks out like a sore thumb. The average score for the LOSING team in an average MLB game is slightly less than three runs.

We'll probably pad those scoring stats against Atlanta, Miami, and Arizona and everybody will jump with glee over the rejuvenated offense. I'm sure I'll be just as gleeful as the next one, but we ain't gonna be facing Atlanta, Miami, or Arizona pitching in the post-season. I'll be VERY interested to see what we do against Jose Fernandez. He's the only guy we have left to face that remotely compares to what we'll be seeing against the Dodgers or Giants.

Jay said...

I still think that winning changes everything. Since the Nats won most of the games Sammy listed in those games (they went 9-4 over that stretch that Sammy points to), then it doesn't feel as ominous. If the Nats score 2 runs a game in the playoffs, but their pitching keeps doing what they have for most of the year, then it could still be fine. Yesterday is a great example. We shut out the Mets and win 1-0 on a "clutch" home run by Ramos in the 7th. If we're trailing most of that game 3-0 and then Ramos hits one out in the 7th and they lose 3-1. Well then the offense sucks and Ramos got lucky and "ran into one" to avoid the Nats being shut out.

The good thing is that there are players on the team that try to have professional at bats - Werth, Murphy, Harper to a degree, Rendon, and even Revere. During the off season Rizzo stated that he was tying to have some more contact hitters and few HR or K guys. What killed the Nats in 2014 was not just lack of offense, but a total inability to even put the ball in play. I think that was the end of the Ian Desmond era for the Nats then. Even then they still almost won that series. If Storen gets the one out he comes in for in game 2. If a real manager uses someone other than Barrett and Thornton in game 4. The frustrating thing about their offense is that they beat Bumgarner in that series and couldn't hit Peavy, Hudson, or Vogelsong. Back in 2012 the problem was our pitching and bullpen. In game 5 up 6-0 at home - you should win that game 90% of the time. Instead Gio walked in a run and was a bit of a mess. Still almost won. If Storen closes out that game like you would expect with a 2 run lead, but I think he never got over the lead off double off the wall that Beltran hit. It was sort of like, "Oh no, I could actually cost us this game".

Anyway, we'll see how the playoffs go. I'm sure everyone will have a hot take then too. I don't disagree with Sammy that the offense has been worrisome for the last few weeks. If Murphy or Harper get hot and carry the team to the World Series (like last year's playoffs) it won't matter. I mean Pete Kozma was a big contributor when the Cards beat the Nats in 2012. Travis Ishikawa, a first baseman that was playing LF, was a big contributor when the Giants beat the Nats. Who knows. Maybe Espinosa will get hot and carry the day. We'll be selling Danny the K shirts next year.

Flapjack said...

Yikes. I must be bored because I read (okay, skimmed) all of these comments. Didn't see Straus mentioned, which is curious, since this team relies so heavily on pitching. I did see one good idea, though: Drew.

For what (little) it's worth, I think the grind-it-out grittiness of the 2016 Nats is a positive intangible not present in either of the previous two division winners -- a sign of maturity, perhaps. Then again, there was that easy division schedule. We'll see.

Fries said...

Late to the party, but here's my take: I agree with Sammy, the offense is pretty ugly right now BUT the Nats have a propensity for playing to the level of their competition so I won't completely throw the offense under the bus. You want to fix the offense, you stick Murphy at 1st and then a combination of Drew/Turner/Revere/MAT/John Q Bats at 2nd and CF (or slide Harper to CF and stick Heisey or something in RF). I don't bet on Robinson to produce any more than Zimm given that teams are finally starting to get a book on him and we're watching his numbers slide rapidly. But as Jay pointed out, anyone can get hot and all we can really do is hope that someone gets hot for us and not for the Los Angeles Vin Scullies (Scullys?)

NotBobby said...

can't watch the games, but I do follow them on mlb.com and try to listen to radio feed when i can. didn't listen last night but noticed that Smoker walked Murphy to get to Bryce. That had to anger Bryce something fierce. Then he strikes out looking? doesn't bode well for me. This team needs Bryce to be the kind of batter that pitchers NEVER walk someone to get to...

Ric said...

BxJaycobb said: "Making jokes about word choice when you don't know a word is....absurd. (Absurd= worthy of ridicule or comical to the point of farce)."

Maybe don't lecture others about being dismissive of others. It reeks of hypocrisy.

Check your tone, before you attempt to check others' tone?

Josh Higham said...

@NotBobby, strike 3 was a bad call by the Ump. Charlie and Dave were very surprised by the call and pitchtrack had it well outside. However, it was the 6th inning of a game full of really pitcher-generous calls by the ump and with two strikes Bryce can't be banking on the umpires agreeing with him like they did when he was the best hitter on earth last year. But at the same time, Bryce has whiffed on a lot of outside pitches this year and was showing plate discipline. There's no winning. Either he swings at a bad pitch and probably strikes out or he takes a ball and gets called out. I think we accidentally tuned in to the CB Bucknor show yesterday.

Ric said...

@SammyKent said: "The number of runs scored in our last 13 non-Atlanta games: 4, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, 5, 3, 3, 8, 3, 1. That's an average of 2.76 runs per game."

Sure, but now you are cherry-picking. Look at the number of runs in our last six games: 5, 3, 3, 8, 3, and 1. Thats an average of 3.83 runs per game. So by your own observations, we are trending up.

Again, we are averaging over 5 runs a game since the ASG. We "should" be scoring more runs this last two weeks. But "anemic"? Come on.

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