Nationals Baseball: Tired, Dirty, but will they be Happy?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tired, Dirty, but will they be Happy?

The Nats are staring at the half-way point of what could be the breaking point of their season. After tonight they will have played 23 games in 24 days and have antother 23 games in 24 days to go.  It's a hard road made necessary by an unfortunate "rainout" make-up with the Orioles, but them's the brakes. What the Nats need to do is buckle down and forge on through. What they are doing is sniping and infighting. I'd say it's up to the manager and team leader to get them through this but both are known for using the media to play up their unhappiness and, let's be honest, that bullpen issue, and not getting paid, are things that are reasonable to be unhappy about. In other words, don't expect it to get better through force of personality.

The Nats have honestly had only one bad stretch of games so far, if you can call it that, where they lost the last two games at the Pirates then the opening two at the Braves. But it came after a stretch of 4 wins (2 walk-offs) in 5 games so the Nats weren't at all reeling. They also had things lining up in their favor. They had a day off after that first win of three. They came back home to face two West Coast teams making East Coast swings, a mediocre Mariners team made for the AL and a terrible Padres team. It was set up nicely for a bounce back and they did.

The Nats now don't have the same situation. It's a longer, more pronounced stretch of bad play (2-6) that does feel a little bit like reeling. They now head away from home for 7 games and rest is a week away. It'll be a test.

How can it get better in the fact of this if the team can't rally? Through force of talent. The Nats have a team that's very good all it tekes is a couple of great pitcher performances (Scherzer and Strasburg back to back) or offensive bust outs (They scored 10 in two of the last three games) to get the team feeling good again and back on track. This team could easily reel of a 5-2 stretch without an ounce of luck.

They don't need a 5-2, though. They don't need to thrive, they just need to survive. Thanks to their great start and the NL East's terrible one they still maintain a healthy lead. A split, at home and with some measure of momentum, would be a loss for the Mets.  A winning series, which would put them 6.5 out, is a bare minimum. They Mets still really need to sweep just to get that lead down to something workable (4.5) and change the feel that this is the Nats division to lose. The onus is still all on the Mets.

Go out tonight and kill that any thinking that this is a race game one. Win tonight, put the Mets 9.5 games out and desperate to hang onto the last threads of hope. Make them think about .500 and a Wild Card. Keep things where they have been all year.  This can be where the season changes but far more easily it can be where nothing changes. Let's make sure of it ASAP.

8 comments:

G Cracka X said...

If the Mets can get it to 6.5 by end of series, they may feel like they can get it to something manageable by the ASB, say 4 or so. That might turn them into buyers rather than sellers.

Could that be a good thing as it would likely weaken them in the future? I want the Nats to win the division no doubt, but maybe there is a silver lining to a division race.

Fries said...

@GCX but then the Nats DEFINITELY need to be big buyers as well at the deadline, weakening them in the future as well...maybe it pushes Rizzo to put Robles on the trading block

Anonymous said...

The Mets are still plagued by injuries, and while no one wants any player to be hurt, it isn't terrible to possibly have Cabrera and Conforto out for the series (plus possibly Neil Walker who had a recent leg injury).

I'm hoping for Goodwin in LF, only because he seems to have a hot bat (especially compared to Raburn) and has decent speed to play there as the 4th OF until Werth and his big toe get back. Actually, the time off is probably good for Werth at his age anyway.

So my prediction is Nats take at least two (maybe even three as they have been stellar on the road this year!)

JE34 said...

Harper: what's your take on Tanner Roark at this point? I think you had posted some time ago about expecting some regression from him, but his best weapon -- the runback fastball -- seems to have disappeared from his arsenal. LH hitters would get jammed when fighting off the runback on the inside corner, and righties would swing at bad pitches more, for fear of the fastball backing in over the outside corner.

Without that late movement, he *seems* to be getting barreled up more, and seems to be getting fewer swings at pitches off the plate. Inducing weak contact was his thing, and it no longer seems to be his thing. Is there fancy stat backing for my feels?

Josh Higham said...

With Anon, Walker out with torn hammy, Harvey out with stress fractured scapula (though honestly he's been so bad it's almost good for the Mets that he isn't available), and Thor won't even start throwing for another month. Even with a recent hot streak, things look grim for those guys. A split in this series is a huge loss for them.

mike k said...

@Fries - if there's one thing you can say about Rizzo, it's that he's never succumbed to the mid-season pressure of buying overpriced pieces. Some will criticize him for this, some will exalt him. Regardless, I don't think Rizzo would buy overpriced pieces at the deadline even if the Nats were 2 behind.

Keith Watts said...

This post from the soulless automaton reads suspiciously like a pep talk. Miss your calling as a motivational speaker, Mr. Gordek?

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