The Nats win and... that's it!
This is the hardest part of the first few weeks of the year. Unlike Spring Training data, these stats aren't meaningless. It's the best players trying their hardest to win. The question, though, exists every season. What do these stats mean? Are they signs of a trend that is new to this season? Or are they only as meaningful as X number of games pulled from any point in the year?
We all set our timelines for deciding when to pay attention to these stats. For me I wait about 3 weeks. That feels right to me. I'm sure we'll talk about it before then but hopefully I can stop myself from putting any real importance on them.
So what happened yesterday that I want to talk about? I have a couple things that I noticed.
On the negative side, I don't like Werth striking out three times. While he's not afraid to swing and miss he generally only strikes out 3 or more times a little more than once a month. To start the year with it, against at best a fair strikeout pitcher, bothers me. I'll probably be watching Werth a little more closely the rest of the series.
On the positive side, there was the whole Lind PH home run thing. There's actually two positives here. The first, and obvious one, is that the Nats have a true lefty power option on the bench now. Lind can't do much else but he can hit and he has hit for most of his career. Drew, Lind, Heisey, and Turner make up a great combination of players to have on a bench featuring some D, some speed, some power. All that's lacking is a true contact hitter but I'm not going to fault Rizzo for not having a perfect bench.
The other positive is the flaw in one of the teams they'll face 19 times this year. The Marlins have no lefites in the pen. I looked it up yesterday and while Lind can hit, Lind can't hit lefties. That isn't surprising. Most lefties have trouble with LHP and Lind wasn't brought in here to hit lefties. But the difference, especially in power, is stark. Only 11 homers in 693 PAs over the course of 7 seasons. He's Roger Bernandina's bat in Adam Dunn's body facing lefties. But the Marlins couldn't counter. Instead they had to leave out a RHP and Lind, as he does, crushed it. The Marlins will eventually correct this and bring in a LHP, but the Nats don't have just one good lefty bat off the bench. They have Bryce and Murphy sitting at the top of the lineup and competent hitters in Weiters at catcher and Drew on the bench. The Marlins will have trouble matching up with the Nats in late innings all year long. As good as I think their pen may be (and I still think that) this is a serious flaw that almost negates that talent.
On to game 2!