Nationals Baseball: Did it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Did it!

The bullpen didn't blow a game! That's the first time in like a week!

Ross didn't have a great game. He got through five a lot on luck, with some key double plays and lineouts going his way. But eventually nine hits and three walks will catch up with you. The bullpen then did its job. I'm not exactly sure why you bother to pull Kelley with 2 outs in the 9th with a 5 run lead. But then again I'm not sure why you use Kelley two days in a row and three times in four days. Yeah - it's a limiting situation, but you don't create bad situations on purpose to prove a point.

Zimm homered twice back. Much like yesterdays "I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN" guys, Zimm's "I'm just healthy" is a take that makes all the sense to him but can't be true. Zimm has never hit like this. Not in his history. So something has changed or he has literally never been healthy since being drafted. I'm going to guess the former.

Today should be an easy win. Roark's favorite team to pitch against by far is the Braves (at least that's what the results say). Teheran has had constant trouble with the Nats, including being crushed by them earlier this year. Remember before these series started I said the Braves/Mets had to kind of go 6-1 over these 7 game stretches to set up a possible post ASG threat. That's hard to do if you lose 2 in the first series. Maybe I stretch it to 5-2 if I feel good about the team closing in but the Braves would fall 12 games out and there isn't a compelling reason to think they'll surge in the second half. I'm not sure even a 4 game sweep going into the break would sway me. So I'd officially stick a fork in them if they don't win today. Making them the 2nd NL East team that's done, the other being the Phillies who have spent two months sticking forks in themselves going 10-33 since the third week of the season.

Miami has pushed it's way back into the same area that the Braves and the Mets were at thanks to a recent run. They don't have the same 7 game but they do have a 3 game set coming up. They probably need to sweep it but we'll see.

Honestly this is all leading up to the four game Mets series this weekend. It probably won't decide it all (I have more reason to believe the Mets could surge given their talent and recent history) but a sweep by the Nats should do it, and a sweep by the Mets would dramatically change the feel of the season. But more about this tomorrow.

24 comments:

G Cracka X said...

I agree that they should win today, but 538 only has them at 63%. So the Nats 'should' win, but very easily could lose.

Speaking of Zim, does anyone in the history of baseball have his career arc? Up early, very successful for years, then not successful for several years, then all of the sudden MVP-level offense in the early 30s, immediately after a negative WAR season? Seems fairly unique to me.

Shane said...

I hope this surge by Zim has nothing to do with the allegations that came out last year against him and Ryan Howard. I don't think it does, but just saying . . .

Robot said...

Well, I think it'd be weird if Zim started juicing after the allegations came out, wouldn't it?

Anyway, the internet says it's all just launch angles.

Robot said...

Unless...

Maybe he's been stocking up on the 'roids, waiting until the scandal broke, let his name get cleared and now that the suspicion is completely gone, he's taking all of the steroids!

John C. said...

On Zim, I will note that he's been mashing the ball all along - last I looked, his exit velocity was actually (very slightly) down from last season. It's all in the launch angle. Whether that's a different approach or not I can't say; Zim denies it. It's at least possible that he's healthy, and this is the guy he would have been at this age all along but for the series of injuries that he suffered from 2012 onwards. It's not unusual for players to increase power in their early 30's even as other aspects of their game begin to fade.

And sometimes there's not a cause, it just sort of happens. Because baseball. No matter what it is, I'm going to enjoy every second of it!

Fries said...

@GCX, not to shoot you down, but 63% is quite high generally for 538. Most win%'s lie in the 40-60 range. That's just baseball, it's not cut and dry like other major sports

@Shane/Robot....yeahhhh I don't want to think about that issue either...

Josh Higham said...

Definitely can't rule out the possibility of steroids. The profile is just right: aging but not old player can't stay healthy--gets healthy, stays healthy, and wrecks baseballs.

But at the same time, it seems very unlikely he hasn't been "randomly selected" yet for testing. And he was cleared in the al-jazeera thing. I won't be surprised if it turns out he's juicing, but I (totally subjectively) think it's more likely he's not.

elchupinazo said...

I don't think steroids do much to explain it. Sure you had Bonds et. al. using them to bulk up, but Ryan didn't appear to come into the season any bigger than normal. I guess it's possible he could have used them to boost some kind of "functional" fitness routine in the offseason that didn't involve pumping a lot of iron, but steroids are most useful to athletes for things like injury recovery and durability. They certainly aren't helping him see the ball better, nor can they explain the launch angle.

I think despite what he says Murphy or someone got into his ear a little bit, and eyeballing it I'd say his swing looks just a little tighter all around. There's also the fact that HRs/inning are WAY up around the league, while the individual HR leaders aren't really on pace for anything historic. Instead, it's guys who might normally be on pace for 10-15 now being on pace for 15-20. There's a lot of talk about the ball flying better this year (which MLB denies), or maybe the pitching he's faced has been lackluster.

I think you take a guy who already hits the ball hard, and get him to hit a (maybe) livelier ball a little higher and with a little more patience, and Zim is what you get.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, I just found out that Aaron Judge is older than Bryce Harper, which is insane.

Ole PBN said...

^^ I think I recall hearing mid-last season that Bryce, at 23 years old, for the first time in his career faced a team with someone younger than him in its starting lineup. With credentials like ROY, MVP, and a 3x all-star - THAT is insane.

Robot said...

I believe it was the first time that he faced a pitcher younger than him, but I may be mistaken.

Harper said...

I'll chalk Zimm up to "that's baseball" Weird stretches happen - though rarer the longer you go. Derek Lee, Chris Davis, Ray Lankford... you can find weird 1st halves if you look for it. A weird season is very rare but not out of the question. I'll only begin to question... supplemental help... if Zimm hits like this (.350+ w league leading power) straight through the first couple months of next year.

Ole PBN said...

Just read something in the Svrluga article that was very eye-opening:
--------------
Another established position player noted that, on more than one occasion, the Nats have come off the field in the middle innings, already with five or six runs on the board, and Baker has exhorted them with something along the lines of, “Let’s get some more.” The need is implied.

“That drives us crazy,” the player said. “Get some more? Come on. We’ve done our job.”
--------------
Are you serious? Are. You. Serious?!

To be honest though, that does sound familiar. That sounds like a culture in the dugout (lead by who, I'm not sure) that has predated Dusty Baker. It's been here since at least 2012. This lazy, elitist, individualistic attitue that has seemed pervasive with this team for the last several years. It's been exploited again and again in the postseason.

What that quote from the unknown player says, is that this is NOT a team that is relentless in striving toward a goal. They beat teams on talent alone. Always have. Not with drive, not with grit. Talent will take you to a division title in the weakest division in baseball. Talent will get you multiple all-stars, awesome stats, perhaps an MVP. But talent doesn't get you far in the playoffs when the playing field is neutralized and opposing teams stack up fairly evenly. Tim Hudson's quote: "...talent can take you a long ways, but do you have between your legs? That's going to take you real far" spoke volumes of my favorite team that I was utterly embarrassed with how spot-on he was.

The Nats are collection of individually talented players with no collective desire to "get some more." True drive means "enough" is never enough. If I were Dusty, I'd find the player who provided that sound bite and knock him down a few pegs. Pompous jerk.

Josh Higham said...

@Ole PBN, I thought that bit was odd too. Like, are the hitters content to go 0-the rest of the game once they get 5 runs? You should ALWAYS be trying to get some more. I'm really curious who would say this. Is it Bryce, brash and overconfident? He's maybe the most likely, but I don't think he'd say it because he visibly always wants more. Hard to believe it's gonna be the uniquely pleasant Rendon or Murphy. It's an established guy, not a new guy, so Wieters is probably out. Zimm is so vanilla. Werth, maybe, but isn't he supposed to be the big bad vet, keeping everyone accountable? Is it some young kid, MAT or Trea? This is a bizarre quote coming from seriously any regular on the team. So I've ruled everyone out, but clearly one of them said it. I'm perplexed.

I totally get that it would wear on you to consistently build a lead and then build on it to avoid an embarrassing loss rather than to inflict an embarrassing loss on the other guys. Of course that would be a lousy feeling. But who on earth is gonna talk about that to a reporter?

Ole PBN said...

Who is going to talk to a reporter? A team with poor clubhouse culture, thats who. I don't think the Patriots partake in this stuff do they? If Svrluga (who I like reading) were a Pats reporter, he'd come out of the locker room with "Hey Barry" as the only soundbite.

Ole PBN said...

And Josh...if you're wondering who would say something like that... it might be this guy:

http://nypost.com/2015/02/20/jail-time-cant-convince-jayson-werth-driving-105-is-dangerous/

"On some level, in our society, people want you to be sorry — say sorry and apologize — that sort of thing,” Werth said. “I would think that I’m sorry if I let anybody down. But I don’t feel like I put anybody in danger."

...the type of guy that does something like this a looks around, like "whaaattt???"

Josh Higham said...

Yeah. He seems one of the likeliest.

Robot said...

Yeah, my first guess would be Werth. By almost all accounts, the guy's kind of an asshole.

blovy8 said...

Somebody hit ALL the relievers with an ugly stick. OK, there's always one guy not embarassing himself completely, but I cannot believe Enny Romero is currently the most reliable arm out there.

Froggy said...

Are people REALLY considering steroids as the reason for Zimmerman's Comeback Player of The Year resurgence? Seriously?

Josh Higham said...

@Froggy - it's really just jealous rumblings for the most part. Like this Mets forum thread: http://www.forums.mlb.com/discussions/New_York_Mets/General/Ryan_Zimmerman_is_on_Steroids/ml-mets/619382.1?redirCnt=1&nav=messages

I've had a couple of friends (O's fans) suggest it to me. No actual baseball reporters seem to be hinting at it though.

Robot said...

Lest there be any confusion, my comment was intended to be a joke. Ryan Zimmerman certainly has not taken all of the steroids.

JE34 said...

Mets fans can be funny! Observe, from the aforementioned forum thread:


" Ryan Zimmerman is on Steroids"

You spelled Aaron Judge wrong.

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