Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - If they all died

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Quickie - If they all died

This is a fun article. It basically notes that even if you decimate the remaining roster of the Nats removing nearly all guys who would be reasonable starters at the beginning of the year, that you still can't knock the Nats out of the playoffs. It's a testament to both how well the reserves have played, and how poorly the rest of the NL East has. Ok, well the Marlins have gone 17-8 in August, getting their heads above the .500 line but the Mets? 9-18.  The Braves? 9-15.   The Phillies? 9-17.  Three of the worst teams in the majors in August.

We're heading into the last of the dog days and into the start of the stretch run. Unfortunately the Nats don't have anything to stretch for (13 behind the Dodgers for #1 seed) nor can anyone stretch and reach them (9 ahead of the Cubs for #2 seed, 12 ahead of Marlins for NL East). September is therefore an extended dog days with nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs and wait for everyone to (hopefully) comeback. Luckily they should be back. Scherzer today.  Turner possibly tomorrow. Werth maybe soon after that.

Neither Werth nor Turner look 100%  ready for major league ball but read all the above. Bring them up and let them get ready. It's not going to hurt anything. It's important to get them back because the Bryce injury was the straw that broke the offense's back. Bryce (.330 / .380 / .691) and Rendon (.295 / .395 / .519) were carrying the offense in the 2nd half picking up contributions here and there from others (most notably a late arriving Howie Kendrick and platooner Adam Lind). With Bryce gone the offense has slowed way down. That doesn't mean the offense has been bad. The offense had been league-leading, slowing down from that is something more like average. But it had been carrying the team somewhate and the only reason the Nats are not playing .500 ball since his injury has been a mix of garbage opponents (Padres scored 6 runs in 4 games against Nats - outside of that series Nats have scored 44 runs and allowed 43), and some one-run luck (4-2).

The Nats have finally passed the guys that can surprise with some decent ABs (Goodwin, Difo) and are now onto the guys that can't (de Aza, Stevenson). The Nats need to get those guys out of the line-up and decent bats back in and ready before the playoffs start. There's over a month and Werth and Turner are right there so it shouldn't be an issue in having all the rest of the offense set up, other than Bryce.

The Nats did lose another player since I was out as Ryan Madson went out with a finger issue that sounds like it'll affect him the rest of this year. Remember the pen isn't lights out. It's very good and with the loss of Madson, maybe just good. Light years ahead of what it was, yes, but not really in the position to be losing arms that you liked. This hurts and it really would be nice if Kelley could find himself (heal himself?) or Glover could get back in time.

Am I saying the Nats in a bad spot? No. Or really more... Not yet and probably not going to be but ask me again in three weeks.

Since I'm sure someone will shout "NEGATIVE!" as you guys are want to do, what's going on positive for the Nats (other than no current injury recovery setbacks)? The starting pitching.

Strasburg didn't pitch on rotation, but instead went the 4 days rest standard and faced the Astros in Houston and looked perfectly normal. Assuming he makes it through his next start, we're pretty much back to where we were with Strasburg. Where's that? Well there's always going to be an injury fear with him, but we'd be back to assuming he's going to make it to the playoffs, which is all we're asking.Gio keeps rolling along in a bid to sneak in the back door of the Cy Young race while Scherzer and Kershaw battle injuries. Meanwhile Roark has had a decent August. Overall nothing to write home about, but the last two games he's thrown 1 walk against 16 strikeouts, which suggest better things to come. Even if he just keeps up his current streak you're looking at a 6 IP, 3 ER kind of guy. You'd throw that guy out in a G4 you didn't have to win and see how far he can go.  Everything here is lining up the way the Nats would like it for the playoffs. And if you're starting pitching lines up that's big.

14 comments:

ocw5000 said...

Dusty's lineup against the Mets on Friday was performance art. Just look at this thing! One opening day starter. Why perchance did they struggle to score against deGrom?

Andrew Stevenson RF (20 OPS+ in 2017)
Adrian Sanchez 3B (75)
Daniel Murphy 2B (134)
Adam Lind 1B (120)
Wilmer Difo SS (86)
Michael Taylor CF (97)
Alejandro De Aza LF (-7 !!!)
Jose Lobaton C (31)
A.J. Cole P (A.J)

JE34 said...

@ocw - LOLed at "performance art". I've been describing them as a triple-A lineup but your label is MUCH better.

Anonymous said...

Good show Harper. Looks like that bender you were on changed your attitude. It proves that even bloggers need to go on IR once in a while to get an attitude change.
Saw the ESPN article you were referring to at the open. It said the Nats could go like 7-29 and still win the division. Maybe but 500 the rest of the way.
You saw my comment yesterday that I am expecting the Marlins to overtake the Rockies for the second wild card spot. Rockies have seven left with LA and a last week series with the Fish. From there they upset Zona and face the Dodgers in a best of 5 (not 7) game series.
Would be interested on your thoughts about the Marlins making the playoffs.

Ole PBN said...

Found it hilarious when, during Friday's game, Dan Kolko pointed out that the Nationals have more Opening Day starters playing in Potomac right now (Werth, Turner) than the MLB club does (Murphy).

mike k said...

I'm not one to nitpick typos, but I'm a big fan of "somewhate". How did you manage that one Harper?

Anonymous said...

Even with all those injuries the Nats have a winning record against the Dodgers, Astros, Brewers, D Backs, Rockies, and Cubs. So I don't buy the whole NL East argument. If they just beat up on the NL East teams and lost to the good teams I would buy it. If they are healthy they are stacked, that's it.

Harper said...

Anon @ 11;17 - I'm not equating the Nats record to the NL East being terrible, but their lead. They win a lot - other teams lose a lot.

Anonymous said...

Werth in the starting lineup tonight. Turner tomorrow perhaps?

Hursty said...

I was surprised to read that the marlins have been the second best team in the league since May. Says a lot about this team that we're still up big on the fish. www.fangraphs.com/blogs/here-come-the-marlins-somehow/

PhthePhillies said...

Harper, would you elaborate on what you wrote about Madson's finger injury? By "affect him for the rest of the year", do you mean his return before the playoffs is doubtful? I've been out of the loop of late and have not heard any updates.
Madison is, in my opinion, key to the Nats' postseason success.

PhthePhillies said...

Or Madson.

BxJaycobb said...

Since it's important to worry about something, I'm choosing to worry about Bryce and Madson, two of the more important Nats to postseason success. Both look somewhat ominous.

Nattydread said...

Doesn't look ready you say? How about a 425ft HR? Werth defies predictions.

Anonymous said...

Any news on Bryce's return? It sounds grim...