Nationals Baseball: Shouldn't have loved Blanton

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shouldn't have loved Blanton

The Nats were stymied by Leake.  It'll happen though if you want to be worried, I'm pretty sure Leake is the first lefty starter the ninth righty starter the Nats have faced this year. In these cases Murphy and Harper can't shoulder the load, and the rest of the team has to step it up.  It's not a big deal today, but in October when you can play match-ups more it may matter. worry about why I always think Leake is a lefty in my head. (I am still curious how Nats v lefties will play out)

The bullpen still stinks but there will be some sort pf problem during your season and really what you care about isn't the bullpen being good. What you care about is winning. This is all a prelude until those Mets games. Stay close to the Mets, win the H2H battle, and play like we think they should and everything else should take care of itself. Why did the Nats fail in the past? Because they didn't do these things (for various reasons)

In 2013, the Braves started out 15-6.  The Nats were 10-11.  We knew this could be an issue, but assumed the Nats could make it up later, as long as they didn't lose anymore ground. But the Nats didn't play like they should. They floundered playing .500 ball almost through the end of August. They also didn't keep the Braves close in H2H games (at the time 0-3, they'd go 6-10 the rest of the year).

In 2015 the Mets started out 13-3. The Nats were 7-6.  Even early on that's a lot of games to make up. We assumed the Mets weren't as good as they turned out to be, and the Nats were better. Based on that information the Nats had time to make it up, especially with the H2H games left. But the two teams were closer in talent than expected. Despite seemingly taking a firm lead in the division by July 4th, the Nats couldn't get separation and didn't overcome the Mets one on one, going 8-11. One extended bad stretch put the Nats behind and unable to make up ground

The Nats are currently one game behind the Mets.  That's fine. It's super early so there isn't much separation to be had, but it's a good sign the Mets haven't started super hot nor the Nats super cold. It could turn in these next 5-10 games but let's hope not.

I don't feel panic and that's good because there shouldn't be any today. It's a middling start but a middling start in the face of nothing scary so far. The Mets haven't run away. No team in the NL East has shown signs of being a super surprise team. That's the realist take. If you're an optimist, then it's a start that puts us 9 games in basically where we were at the beginning of the year. So if you like the Nats then, you still like the Nats now. If you're a pessimist it's a start that doesn't eliminate the chance of the scary becoming reality in the next week or two.

5% of the season down ok, 95% to go.


Anonymous said...

Leake is a righty.

mike k said...

Well, yesterday sure was a rebuttal to my "feeling" that the pen will get average before the offense cools off, wasn't it?

I still feel good about this team. Considering the competition they've faced, they're only one game behind where you'd like them to be...and the Guthrie debacle won't happen again, so there you go. The Mets have faced easy competition, and it looks like they'll face easy competition until summer ('s all divisional games for them into May, and they don't face a truly good team besides the Nats until June). So it might be close until then, and if it is, I like the Nats' chances.

Josh Higham said...

It's worth noting that although 5-4 against bad/underperforming competition is decidedly middling, if the Nats improve a little bit from here and go 5-4 in every set of 9 games remaining they'll hit 90 wins on the nose. If the bullpen evens out to mediocre instead of horrible and the offense cools off to good but not red-hot I'd expect the Nats to do a at least a couple of games better than that.

It's a little crazy to me that a division is won by winning at a rate just being a tiny bit better than a coin flip, but to quote my favorite ever manager, "that's baseball."

Anonymous said...

I really hate the uber-optimistic approach by this organization when it comes to players' health. 100% of time, it turns about to be way worse than reported. I predict we dont see Ross or Turner before the end of April...

And another thing about Ross, how is he not conditioned to handle a full season yet? If thats true, then why were we penciling in a baby arm as our 5th man in the rotation? Shouldn't be counted on. We overhype our prospects/strengths and downplay our injuries/weaknesses. Bravo guys.

Anonymous said...

1. I have no idea what, but something was off with Max before he even threw the first pitch yesterday. He never really looked quite right, and he and Wieters seemed they weren't on the same page at all. Hopefully it's nothing big and just a one day one off.

2. Horrible home plate ump yesterday. I can live with a strike zone that's a bit wrong if it's consistent, but I can't stand it when the strike zone expands and contracts and floats around. He played a huge role in killing two of our best chances to make a comeback late before it got blown open.

3. We all knew coming into the season the defense wouldn't be great, but this is starting to get a little ridiculous now. The ongoing level of sloppy field play should be embarrassing these guys.

And Rendon, I don't know what's going on with you, but you need to get your head out of your rear end immediately.

Fries said...

@anon 9:21 fully agree. I'm getting tired of the way the trainers treat injuries. Granted, they are consistent, so whenever they announce a DL trip, I just tack on a bit extra in my head

i'm not worried yet. The Nats are going to lose almost as many as they win, and yesterday wasn't a horrible loss per se. I'm worried about the pen, but I recognize that they should be able to turn it around

Ole PBN said...

It is still early. But think about the positive performances (Eaton, Weiters, Bryce, Murph, Zimm, Werth, Lind off the bench, Gio). Think about how many of those we were sure were to happen... Bryce and Murphy, maybe Murphy? Now look at the negative: Rendon, Turner (albeit an injury, so we'll leave him aside), Glover, Blanton, Romero, Treinen, Kelley. How many of those did we see coming? About all of them except for Rendon? Aren't the Nats about where we thought they would be? You can say the offense won't stay this hot, but how are you sure the pitching will stay this bad? Ebbs and flows man, it'll all equal out to career norms in the end.

Although I am convinced Murphy is a changed man. More needs to be said about his turnaround offensively. Guys don't stay hot for a year and a half. Very impressive approach all together. Hopefully his perspective is shared amongst the other guys in the clubhouse.

BxJaycobb said...

Anon: what didn't you like about Max yesterday? He struck out 10 and would have thrown 7 innings of 1 run ball if the defense plays like a major league defense (it's rare u see a major league shortstop make an error like difos on a big hop. I mean good heavens.) That's Cy Young level pitching.

The two big problems I see with this team is the defense and bullpen. Both have been not just bad but atrocious. I'm in a place right now where routine ground balls I am expecting to get booted or thrown away. That should improve a bit when turner returns, but still.

Harper: I would gently disagree on the Mets looking like we expected they would. If you're a Mets fan u have to love what you've seen so far. Harvey looks if not dominant then very very good. Degrom looks fully healthy and has all his velocity back after a down year. It looks like they may get a 30-40 home run Bruce. Duda is healthy and hitting. It's not a great sign that the Nats have everybody hitting like crazy (wieters, Werth, and Zim are all going to calm down soon), basically besides rendon, and they're 5-4 against middling competition. I like the Mets a bit more than I did to start the year, just because the Nats pen and D look worse than expected. And nothing on mets looks worse than expected.

G Cracka X said...

I agee with Bx. Still early though. I think, as has been stated, that the deciding factor for winning the NL East will be injuries.

Harper said...

mike k - 1.5 games, now. PANIC!

Josh - Yeah - I think our natural tendency is to think in a grade sense. 90% is great, 80% is good, 70% is just ok. But in sports 70% is fantastic. 55% is generally good (playoff worthy in your more restrictive sports - NFL, MLB)

Anon @ 9;21 - The more I've thought about it the more it's a team that's realistic about it that is the outlier. On the upside - I haven't seen anything about Ross/Turner that suggests they won't be ready when expected (18th for Trea, I think sometime over that weekend for Ross)

Ross isn't ready for full year bc he keeps getting hurt. Plan would have been scale him up for full season (200+ IP) by 2016. But in 2014 when he should have been up to 150 he missed the last month of the season. He got up to 150 in 2015 instead. Last year should have been around 180, but he got hurt. So this year he'll be in the 150+ area, and probably an iffy 2018 full season chance. I agree we shouldn't count on him but as a 5th arm giving you 160 IP of good pitching? That;s good.

Anon @ 9:31 - Losing Turner and getting Difo seems to be the D breaking point.

Ole PBN - Yeah right now the Nats are pretty balanced hot and cold, though the concentrations are weird. All the bad is pretty much in the pen. All the right in the line-up. Those types of imbalances can create streaks. Nats kind of fighting being really good or really bad right now.

Bx - Mets concerns are injuries. While everyone playing looks good they've basically reached the end of their vaunted SP depth, which was expected to carry them, by the 2nd week of April.

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