Nationals Baseball: Pick the playoffs

Monday, October 03, 2016

Pick the playoffs

Let's get crazy

Giants over Mets

Dodgers over Nats
Cubs over Giants

Cubs over Dodgers

Blue Jays over Orioles

Indians over Red Sox
Blue Jays over Rangers

Blue Jays over Indians

Cubs over Blue Jays

I can't pick against Bumgarner in a one game. I think the Nats are falling apart at the wrong time (but will still take LA to 5). I think the Cubs are just clearly better than the Giants, especially if Bumgarner can't go 3 games. I think the Dodgers can overcome a game of Gio but not two of Lester. 

AL wise- here's the thing. I pick Wild Card by starter. We don't know the AL starters, do we? Until we have that info, I go with what I know. In general Toronto's starters are better than Baltimore's. Toronto is at home. After that I like the Sox bullpen to blow something and Cleveland is the best team they will likely face. The Rangers are more lucky than good, which can totally keep happening, I'm just not going to bet on it. So that leaves me with the made for TV final of Toronto and Cleveland, which I don't have a strong opinion on, but I'll pick against the whole Cubs vs "Believeland" storyline because that may kill me. 

For contrast my rooting interests go something like : 

Blue Jays
Red Sox

I get really torn on the Orioles because I want Buck to get his ring but any AL East team wins and as a Yankee fan I find them to get super super annoying. Sometimes I have them over the Dodgers, who I have a mild desire to see them win in the Vin retires year, and sometimes below the Rangers who I have like no feelings for. 

A rooting interest playoffs would go 

Mets over Giants

Nats over Dodgers
Cubs over Mets

Nats over Cubs

Orioles over Blue Jays

Indians over Red Sox 
Orioles over Rangers / Rangers over Orioles (like I said - not sure)

Indians over whoever

Nats over Indians

Let's get this going!   


Fries said...

Harper - I agree with a lot of this, though I can't let you root for Believeland because goddamn I'm tired of them. At least the Browns suck.

Is anybody else really disappointed that there wasn't a three way tie on either the NL or AL wild card? I wanted to see some crazy travel and double elimination going down over the next couple of days, oh well

Chas R said...

That feels right to me... unfortunately... as we previously discussed on here, many Nats fans will see another NLDS loss as an unsuccessful season.

Kenny B. said...

Been thinking who I want to win that NL wild card, and I think it's the Mets. I really hate the Mets, but I can't let this even year Giants storyline continue any longer, so I would like to nip that in the bud early.

Agree that there's not a lot of hope for the Nats in the playoffs, with virtually every solid 2016 player either injured or very recently injured. Just hoping for another awakening of BRYCE, and continued solid production from Turner. I have a feeling Scherzer is going to turn it up a notch, because that guy is one of the more intense competitors I think I've seen in MLB. Maybe Roark puts together another of his crazy consistent 1-run gems, but Gio probably goes off the rails quick under playoff pressure, and I don't really trust anyone else to get a W over the Dodgers. I also don't trust the offense to do much throughout the playoffs, because of injuries and 2014 recall bias.

Prove me wrong boys. Maybe those lowered expectations take the pressure off, and the bench decides to explode in a good way.

Still, we can all agree that it's cool to see Scherzer and Kershaw go head-to-head in a playoff game. Winner gets a Cy Young?

G Cracka X said...

Couldn't the Os just have whatever starter they put on the mound go 1 to 1.5 times through the order and then just make it a bullpen game from there? They've got Brach, O'Day, Givens, Britton

Mythra said...

I am very torn this year. I grew up in Des Moines, watching summers of the AAA Cubs and rushing home in the afternoon from school to watch Harry Carrey on WGN for Cubs day games. So, my inner 12 year old self is still a Cubs fan at heart. But I have been a Nats fan since I burned my Orioles hat and told Angelos to go to hell when the team moved here. I watch, listen, or attend almost every 162 during the season, and my wife has joined me along the way (She's native Arlington, born and raised.)

I am going to cheer for the Nats and Cubs and bite the bullet if they face each other. I'll promise myself that I'll root for the Cubs if the Nats are out of it.

Mets over Giants

Nats over the Dodgers in 5 (Playoffs Kershaw shows up and Hill hasn't gone more than 5.1 his last 3 starts - All losses.) Rendon or Turner are MVP

Cubs over Mets in 4. Mets never get hot like they did last year.

Cubs over Nats, but at least 3 games go to extras or 1 run games. Nats just can't beat the late injury bug. Heisey and/or Drew contribute big time off the bench.

Don't care about the AL. I will not cheer for an Angelos team. I will mildly cheer for Texas in hopes Desi gets a shot at the ring. I'll be cheering for the Nats or Cubs to win it all, regardless of AL opponent.

cass said...

Giants over Mets

Dodgers over Nats
Cubs over Giants

Cubs over Dodgers

Orioles over Blue Jays

Indians over Red Sox
Rangers over Orioles

Rangers over Indians

Rangers over Cubs

I literally just flipped a coin to decide every matchup. We'll see how my coinflip holds up. Weirdly, though, my penny predicted the NL the same as Harper. But the coin says Desi's gonna wear a ring.

This is how I've come to feel about the playoffs, though. When you have two good teams matched up in a short series, it's a fool's game to think you can predict anything. The Nats are banged up but who knows? Maeda and Scherzer both got shelled yesterday - Maeda worse, but he's their #3. Murphy may be injury hobbled but Turner might just score a run every time up via homer or single/sb/sb/sacfly ("The Trea Turner"). Espinosa might be hot and become a postseason hero or he might be a zero and bobble the ball, not even contributing his normal good defense.

The playoffs are a crapshoot.

cass said...

One more thing though, despite the coin-flipping business. I watched the Dodgers/Giants games this weekend and observed something:

Ty Blach and Matt Moore combined for 16 innings and a single run allowed in the Giants final two games. Do you know what those two pitchers have in common? Are they both aces? No. Are they both phenoms? No. Do they have proven records of success? No.

They're lefties. The Dodgers are utterly helpless against lefties. Even Puig didn't seem to be able to hit lefties and you know another thing Puig can't do? Field his position.


The Nats also need to make sure they got three lefties in the pen - I'd go with Zep, Burnett, and Solis.

But for the love of god, throw every lefty we have at the Dodgers for every inning that we can. To do otherwise would be malpractice. Bochy is a good manager and the Giants know what they're doing. They exploited the Dodgers' Achilles heel to ensure they got into the playoffs. The Nats need to do the same to get to the NLCS. It's a coin flip so it's no guarantee, but let's not lose with our lefties sitting in the pen or on the bench?

Harper said...

cass - A lot of Nats fans have said the same thing about the weekend series and I'm totally on board for Gio getting his start and filling pen with lefies BUT two things of note

1) Matt Moore is actually a pretty good pitcher. He was rounding into ace form when he had to get TJ. He's just now working his way back from that. I'd rather have him than Gio.

2) Blach is murder on lefties. They can't hit him at all.

I'm not saying Gio won't do well vs the Dodgers. I think he should. But it wasn't two scrubs shutting down the Dodgers just because they threw lefty.

Anonymous said...


1000% correct. My fiance's a Giants fan and kept talking about how Bochy is crazy for throwing a rookie out there during the most important series of the year. I quelled her fears when I showed her the Dodger's splits against lefties. It's ugly.

I seriously am on the Gio game 1/5 train, but I can't deny that Scherzer will be more than sufficient for Game 1. But that's only for this series, Gio should be last in the rotation if we're fortunate enough to be watching the Nats in the NLCS and/or WS

Anonymous said...

A couple end of season thoughts:
1) is max's contract already worth it? 2 years of stellar production of 7? Gotta figure that 3rd will be at least great, and 4th should be at least good. I guess the next few weeks will honestly determine it. Likewise, Murphy's contract must also be worth it already?

2.) re: max: Despite his credentials, it feel as though Jose is inevitably going to end up with the cy young, no? It's a nice gesture, but ill be mildly disappointed.

3) how cool is it that the nats have a legitimate contender for every season long accolade? MVP, ROY (well..), CY, Manager, Exec (dont really care at all about the last two, but still). What was the last team to have a team like that? (one could argue 2016 dodgers I guess)

4) I must say, I pleasantly smug with the way the season has turned out so far. Was amazed at how much everyone was low-balling the nats at the beginning of the season. last season was a bizarre fluke... the team is SOLID. Not even being a fanboy/homer. From a purely non-biased perspective, this team is as well balanced as any team. Ended up being that murphy replaced bryce's production, but can you imagine where we'd be if bryce was BRYCE??

with that being said... Sox look really good, I really wouldn't want to face them, and honestly i'm sick of the cubs narrative this year maybe theo continues the curse with the team he built coming to haunt him.
Sox over Cubs (sorry harper)

thanks for keeping us level headed all season

cass said...

The pitcher in Game 1 or 2 can pitch on full rest in game 5. If it comes to Game 5, I'd say the best two starters to have ready to go would be Gio and Scherzer. Roark needs to be saved for Game 3 - nothing against him, but he's not Scherzer and he's not a lefty. He'll be of more use against Chicago if they make it there.

Matt Moore, this year anyway, has an ERA and FIP both over 4.00 and an xFIP around 4.50. His ERA and FIP have been better the second half but his xFIP has still been horrid, so really, it's mostly just been his HR/FB ratio that's improved as far as I can tell. He's not nobody, but he's not good either, no?

Gio used to be an ace or near-ace himself. Maybe have a talk with Gio about just throwing in the zone and trusting the Dodgers can't hit his stuff to avoid walking too many. And, of course, have relievers ready to go if he starts imploding. But for the NLDS, I think we have to maximize lefties any way we can. Seeing it work in action gives me more confidence.

One final set of numbers:

Lefties vs Gio at home (2016):

Dodgers vs Lefties (2016):

Let's please give Gio a home start in Game 2?

W. Patterson said...

No analysis here, just hopes and dreams.

I grew up a Dodger fan so if it's not the Nats then Dodgers. If neither then Texas (my wife's aunt is a real fan).

After that, then it's the National League (just not the Giants).

W. Patterson said...

No analysis here, just hopes and dreams.

I grew up a Dodger fan so if it's not the Nats then Dodgers. If neither then Texas (my wife's aunt is a real fan).

After that, then it's the National League (just not the Giants).

Anonymous said...

What the heck! Let's use all 4 lefties in bullpen plus Gio to rattle these Dodgers. They are terrible against lefties. If I were Dusty I would create a lefty starter by combining 2and3 innings of Sean Burnnet and Perez.

And yes I will take Nats over Dodgers, Nats over Cubs, Nats over Indians. Go Nats!

NotBobby said...

Giants over Mets
Orioles over Blue Jays (but also reserve right to change mind when SPs announced)

Cubs over Giants
Dodgers over Nats
Red Sox over Indians
Rangers over Orioles (but would pick Blue Jays over Rangers if I switch WC game)

Cubs over Dodgers
Red Sox over Rangers

Red Sox over Cubs (I am a Doerr...)

Harper said...

1) Not yet for Max. It's like the Werth deal. I'd say your looking for "great, great, very good, very good, good, ok, whatever" in terms of yearly production. He's given you arguably better than "great, great" the first two years so there's some room for him to not keep up this pace. And of course if he leads the Nats to up to a WS appearance that's even more leeway. A title - then it's 100% worth it right now

I'd say the same for Murphy too but his bar is super low. Really if he can just show up and not be bad the next two years - it's worth it.

2) No I think it'll be Max now, outside chances for Hendricks or Lester, but there would have to be coalition around one.

3) Yeah I was thinking Dodgers as soon as you said it but if we separate the awards they don't have a singular MVP. The 2006 Twins were last to get MVP/CY Young (Morneau/Santana) had MOY 2nd and ROY 3rd. I'll look more into this.

4) Well they did win 83 last year (and 86 in 2013) Now really they were more of an 89 win team but if you didn't do the research and just said "they should be a few games better" then instead of 91/92 you get like 85-87. When you are looking at 30 teams you can be a little too dismissive.

cass - that's true on Moore. My opinion is more of a feeling. Like I fully expect him to be very good next year.

I'm all over the place on Gio the starter. Today I'd go Max, Gio, Roark. Few days ago I was set on Max, Roark, Gio

Robot said...

As I said in a previous comment section, the big question, in my mind, is whether the Cubs get swept in the NLDS or make it all the way to game 7 of the World Series before losing in some epically tragic fashion.

My picks:
Giants over Mets. This is a no-brainer with MadBum

Nats over Dodgers
Cubs over Giants

Cubs over Nats

O's over Jays (Okay, yeah, maybe I'm a bit of a homer in some of these picks)

Sox over Indians
Rangers over O's

Rangers over Sox

Rangers over Cubs

Come on. The Cubs can't win the series. We all know it won't happen.

Robot said...

If the Nats make it to the NLCS, it's possible that they'll have Stras available, too. That might change things.

cass said...

I'm as big a Strasburg fan as anyone, but he has yet to throw off a mound. The NLCS is only twelve days away.

Jay said...

I'd go Sherzer and Gio then Roark. At times I figure no way the Nats get it going in the playoffs. I worry the injuries are just too much. Then I think about Pete Kozma, Mark Lemke, Travis Ishikawa, Jake Peavy. The playoffs really are a big crap shoot. I mean even Daniel Murphy last year. It would be a lot of fun to see the Nats go on a run. Hopefully BRYCE shows up, Sherzer is a wild man, Gio surprises us, maybe Zimmerman or Espinosa get hot, and Melancon closes the door. Despite all of the Nats issues with "choking" they have put Storen in position to get the close and win beg games and even series in '12 and '14. I think if the Nats can be fortunate enough to put Melancon in that situation, he will close it out.

I figure as follows:
Giants over Mets
Nats over Dodgers (can't make an unbiased decision here sorry)
Giants over Cubs - I think Maddon just tries too hard here to "look smart"
Nats over Giants - again totally biased

Jays over O's - Angelos cries like a big baby (another biased decision I'll admit)
Sox over Indians
Jays over Rangers - they seem to come up short every year in some way
Sox over Jays

Nats over Sox???

Alan Wiecking said...

Over the last 2 years, I've adopted the Red Sox (and Patriots) as my girlfriend grew up in Danvers, MA. Really hoping for that Nats/Sox series. But in the meantime, you'll find me in Row B of 105. How can a fan miss Scherzer/Kershaw? 90 miles and as much for the ticket, who cares? ........but $180 for parking? I'll walk a couple miles before I go in for that nonsense. Rock the Red!


John C. said...

It's all coin flips - I say that not just as a Nats fan, but as a baseball fan of over 40 years. Even seven game series tend to give weird results, much less a five game series (and one game? I give you the Braves behind their 16-game-win-streak starter Medlen at home against the Cardinals in 2012). Even five game series give you results like the 102 win Phillies being knocked out by the Wild Card Cardinals, or the 82 win Mets taking out the 99 win Big Red Machine.

One question: why is it that the "Nats are falling apart at the wrong time" when the Dodgers have finished terribly, losing five of six with HFA (and a chance to knock out a hated rival) right there for the taking? Losing Ramos hurts, yes, but the Nats should have Murphy back. And there is a nonzero chance that Severino becomes one of those nutty postseason stories and the Nats don't miss Ramos at all. I'll say this: goodness, Severino has a cannon for an arm. He nailed a guy stealing on an inside breaking pitch that nearly hit the batter.

Anonymous said...

That was an astounding play and throw by Severino. And he nailed the runner by two feet, to boot.

egoodman8 said...

Does anyone know the possible start times for Game 1 and when we will find out?

Harper said...

egoodman8 - they should announce it today.

Fries said...


Nats will get the late game I've gotta think (so 8ish) with the Dodgers being the opponent and the other series being two eastern time zone teams (Bos and Cle)

Anonymous said...

Side prediction: Ian Desmond, wilting under the big pressure moments like he always does, strikes out at least 8 times, gets 0 extra base hits, and has to settle for another one year contract after his absolutely dismal end to the season.

Anonymous said...

The standard argument for starting Gio in game 2 is the Dodgers well documented struggles against left handed pitching.

Another argument would be to guard against the risk of tiring out the bullpen. Games 3 and 4 are on back to back days. There is a good chance Ross won't go beyond five innings in game 4 as he is still stretching out his arm, so you'll want a fresh bullpen going into game 4. If Gio melts down in game 3, and Gio is far more prone to do that than Roark, than the Nats will go into game 4 with a tired bullpen.

egoodman8 said...

Ok thanks very much Fries

Robot said...

I've adopted the Red Sox (and Patriots) as my girlfriend grew up in Danvers, MA.

You are a good boyfriend, but a bad human being.

prolestes said...

b/c I just can't stop watching this (and I'm sure there's others who agree)... Wilson who?

Fries said...

Dusty is worse than a monkey at managing a bullpen apparently

cass said...

Times are announced.

Friday's game is at 5:30 and Saturday's is at 4:00.

Both should be early enough to avoid Metro craziness, assuming Matthew doesn't affect Saturday's game.

Robot said...

@Fries - Perhaps, but he's still an improvement over Matt Williams.

Fries said...


Oh completely agree, I just found it kind of entertaining that 1) someone actually decided to create that metric and 2) Dusty is the only manager this year to perform worse than a supposed Monkey.

Granted, almost all those metrics are based on hindsight, what's more important is did he make the right decision in the moment, which I feel Dusty probably does a bit better than a monkey on. Maybe not league average, but serviceable

Anonymous said...

So if the hurricane delays game 2 until Sunday I guess there is no major impact on the pitching choices right?

Zimmerman11 said...

Section 116 for GM1. Agree you can't miss Kershaw/Scherzer...and agree that scalping parking passes is about as low as it gets. That's some pirate nonsense right there!

Richard Parker said...

Sweet!!! Since Harper has so far shown he has no idea what he's talking about, Nats beat the Dodgers! Sorry, Harper. Maybe get a new hobby?

Richard Parker said...

*As far as predictions, I mean. Otherwise Harper is Class A.

JE34 said...

I also grew up a Dodger fan, indoctrinated early in life by left coast relatives... became disillusioned with the rise of free agency and the loss of the steadiest infield ever (Cey/Russell/Lopes/Garvey... not to mention Dusty in the outfield)... finally had a chance to experience local MLB and hopped aboard right away. I'll always have a soft spot for the Dodgers though.

But whatever. Up theirs. Go Nats!

I'm betting that Dusty will go with rotation order based on "who's earned it" despite the L/R splits. My question: Do we want Gio muttering to himself on the road, or with a home crowd behind him?

JE34 said...

@Robot - You are a good boyfriend, but a bad human being.


(yesterday was pretty sweet... Go Bills)

Alan Wiecking said...

JE34 ......there are actually Bills fans? I thought they were a myth. "THURMAN! Where's your helmet?" ..........but I'm good. I drew the line at the Celtics, though

Chaos.......5:38 start puts Metro in play. I'll be a sardine before paying 3 figures to park.

PotomacFan said...

Good points about whether to go with Roark or Gio in Game 2. I've been in the Roark camp for weeks. But now I'm undecided. Gio is better at home, while Roark is a bulldog anywhere. (I hope the stats show this!). Also, good point that if Gio gets an early hook, the Nats can use the entire bullpen, because they have a day off between Games 2 and 3, and Roark will likely eat up at least 6 innings in Game 3 (if that's when he pitches).

And, FWIW, I think it was terrific that Dusty let Murphy pinch hit yesterday to try to win the batting title. Of course, if Murphy had aggravated his "gluteal" injury running to first, I'd be calling for Dusty's head.

Harper: when are you going to make roster predictions? Revere or Goodwin? Two lefties or three lefties in the bullpen, and who will they be? Is Lopez on the roster? He looked terrible on Sunday.

Sammy Kent said...

Been out of the loop for over a week (big family wedding). So now the season starts over and everybody's at 0-0 and I get to pretend that all the Nationals' weaknesses will disappear and they'll get back to playing above their heads (or back to normal if you believe May and June were normal). OK, I'll buy in, because no matter what my head says today, come Friday I'll be expecting to win 9-0. I am so tired from a week of traveling and wedding activity I'm just throwing out some random thoughts. I'll read everybody else's posts later.

Max made a case for Dusty using him as a pinch hitter if necessary.

I would love to see a Nationals vs Senators World Series.

I hope the blankety blank blank Orioles go down in catastrophic (for them) flames against the Blue Jays.

The strange penchant of the Giants to go from Wild Card to World Series Champions is almost enough to make one root for the Mets for one game. Almost.

Bjd1207 said...

Love 0-0 Sammy Kent