Nationals Baseball: 10 days!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

10 days!

Werth Watch : 0-3 with a walk and  2 K.  So he did follow it with an 0-fer. Great. He's struck out 11 times in the last 5 games which is not how Werth hits. I don't think he's actually having issues. He was normal Werth about strikeouts up until this stretch. I think he's pressing and trying to get those hits and force his way out of this slump. It's not happening. This is going to get awkward.

Bryce Watch : 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout. Hit some balls hard, just not fair. Seemed fine to me.

Robles Watch : 0-1 with a K, came in the game for Bryce who they are working back slowly.

I didn't re-visit it but going into last Thursday the Nats had a real shot at that 100 wins.  They had gone 3-2 since I noted that if they went 4-2 I'd start paying attention. They had a game against Atlanta, then the Mets, Phillies, and Pirates. 8-3 would be tough, but win the last ATL game and make it 7-3? You start seeing a path forward pretty easily.

Of course the Nats didn't win that game, or the next one, and with the loss last night the Nats have to go 5-0 to end the year to finish with 100 wins. Certainly possibly but no leeway remains. What's more is that they'll have to go at least 4-1 to take the best record away from the 2012 Nats. I kind of want them too because this is a better team, in my opinion.

100 wins is hard. You can't really afford more than a month of off a .600 win pace. In 2012 team had the best shot. They had started super hot 14-4, and kept playing pretty well that when they took off a little after the All-Star break they were set up well. Of course when I say "took off" I mean TOOK OFF going a a run of 24-7. They nearly lost it losing 5 in a row but immediately came back with another great run 12-3.  That's 36-15 or a 114 win pace for almost 2 months. At 89-54 they only had to go 11-8 to get to 100.  But the team stumbled to a 9-10 finish and came up just short.

2014 was never that close. They sat at 63-53, an 88 win pace, in early August. They needed to sprint and go 33-13, including a 12-3 finish, just to be close.

After another fast start of 14-4, 2016 was never that type of season where 100 seemed possible. The team floated along with a short stretch of good play, followed by a short stretch of bad play. Very even keel three steps forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back, 5 steps foward, 4 steps back kind of thing, all the way to the end of the year. That meant there was never a time where a mediocre run would get to 100. It always was a good, long, stretch of great baseball away.

Another thing to note here is the Nats have seen these division winning seasons end three ways. A great team having a middling finish, an OK team crushing it through the tape, a very good team keeping up the same pace until the end. Three different experiences. Three NLDS losses. How you finish doesn't matter. It may not matter regardless but it certainly won't matter once you set up nearly a week between the end of the season and the playoffs. There is no momentum good or bad after a week off.

What is 2017? Sort of like last year writ large. The strong stretches are long, that's why 100 was out there. A great April into the very beginning of June. A month of mediocre play. A great July into early September.  The finish is still up in the air. 8-8 over their last 16 games but 6-3 over last nine. Is that showing us a strong finish or just a blip before another .500 type ending? We'll find out and then we'll move onto the playoffs knowing that whatever happened it probably has no carryover into the next series.


Karl Kolchak said...

Interesting decision coming up on lefties in the bullpen. Solis has now gone a month without allowing a run, Romero just gave up his first run in September last night and Grace is on a run of 5 consecutive perfect innings. Unless they opt to not go with Perez, which would seem unlikely given their preference for experienced veterans, one of those guys is going to be the odd man out.

PhthePhillies said...

I dunno, Harper. Take away a month of 6-man rotation and maybe they get to 100. That is not to say that I do not agree with Dusty's approach. I think it has left the Nats in the best shape they've ever been going into the postseason.
Assuming Bryce can be Bryce, of course.

Nattydread said...

Dusty Baker has taken his foot off the pedal. Wisely or not, he is resting his starters through a 6 man rotation and he is testing the youngsters. There have been at least three games where the team could have and should have won --- except that Dusty chose not to use his big guns. It made sense not to play the top starters during the Dodgers series --- let LA learn them during the playoffs. 100 wins has not been a priority.

blovy8 said...

Exactly. What does it matter if a guy is in a groove when he has to sit around for five days? I'll admit that last night didn't seem like a whole lot of energy was displayed. But part of this pattern seems to be about the particular guys involved. Murphy has some minor injuries. Harper needs to be eased back into action, so there are some innings left out there. Werth is getting as much time as feasible to get his timing back, and he did he did have a line drive right at third that was just a loud out. Doesn't mean much, but it was something squared up. Lind, Kendrick, and Difo are playing enough to hope they're sharp enough to have decent swings against a good postseason pitcher. Look at how often Dusty's playing Taylor and Turner. Seems like fall training.

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