Nationals Baseball: Four Weeks

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Four Weeks

That's all that stands between today and the playoffs. Not for the Nats mind you. Four weeks from today the Wild Card games start. The Nats won't be in those. For the Nats it's four weeks from Friday.

But still we're past the Labor Day weekend so we're getting our last couple of weeks where non-obviously injury related streaks can be worried about or gotten excited about. Everyone, EVERYONE, has 2 weeks of great or terrible baseball in them during a season. Usually multiple such stretches. Once we get to the 18th or so we can't really get to hung up on whether a non-injured guy finishes the season hot or not. Not only because of the whole, "it's hard to pull meaning from something that everyone does" but there will be almost a week off, they will face the better players on the better teams, they will do this in high pressure situations. It's different, almost too different to expect normal streaks to carry over.

So before we get to those last two weeks, we look for extended streaks that may carry into them. Are there any such issues for the Nats? Anyone have a bad/great August and has had it carry (so far) into September?

Batting- None.

No really. Kendrick was the only one (not counting Turner's brief set of games) to do really well in August. He hasn't done well in the first four games. Maybe you like Difo's good showing. He's also not doing well. But guys you might worry about, Zimm, Murphy - they are hitting better. I suppose Lind didn't have a great August and hasn't hit in Sept but it's only been 3 ABs.  Wieters hasn't hit in August, but he's also been sit down and plus Wieters isn't an "August" thing. He hasn't hit all year.

This isn't writing off the issues of August, or giving up on the hot bats. One good or bad game can throw September out of whack. However there isn't anything that seems that is "focus on" rather than "check in on" as of today, outside of Turner and Werth's continued on the job rehab. (Both had slow weekends)

Pitching : Roark, Scherzer, Kintzler, Doolittle

The pitching carried the Nats in August and it continues to do well. I'm very heartened at this point by Tanner Roark's re-emergence as a solid starter after a rough first half. Scherzer is still Scherzer. The back of the pen are the only guys who have pitched in multiple games so far and Madson was out most of August so he falls into the Werth/Turner rehab group. Kintzler and Doolittle keep looking good.

There was barely anyone who was doing bad in August - Cole, Matt Grace. And barely anyone bad so far in Sept - Perez had a bad outing. Same thing as above. We'll check in, in two weeks or so when more games are being played to see the long-term trends heading into the post-season.

Where's Bryce? When's Bryce? How's Bryce?

We don't really know, but a little less than a week ago he wasn't close to running. If he can't run, he can't play. He basically trying to keep every part of his body that isn't that leg in top condition so as soon as that leg is ready he can jump back into action. We don't know when that will be but we'd probably ideally want to see him back on the field in less than 2 weeks, the chances of that seems slim unless we hear something soon about his progress that suggests otherwise. That same date probably marks the playoff delineation line. For now he can still be back, even if it's for just a game or two of swings before the regular season ends. If we get to the 16th/17th weekend and there still is no clarity on his return then you can probably kiss the NLDS goodbye.

But remember - the playoffs are LONG. The last day of the regular season is the 1st of October. The first day of the NLDS is the 6th. That means Bryce still has a full month to heal to play in that (though yes you'd like him to get some swings in first). The first day of the NLCS is the 14th. That's 39 days from now. That's a lot of time.


Anonymous said...

Lots of good content here, Harper, but you fail to mention the single most important development for the Nats' postseason chances (arguably even more important than Bryce coming back): Strasburg is back, looking healthy and looking dominant - 3 starts, 21 IP, 13 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 23 K. And this includes two starts against good lineups, Houston and Miami. I think this is MUCH more important than Roark regaining his form (which is great, of course).

Harper said...

Hasn't pitched yet in September so I couldn't say anything about him based on what I was looking at, but he has been all that

Chas R said...

Does anyone here see Bryce missing the playoffs absent serious debilitating injury? Me thinks it would take ALOT to hold him back.

Meanwhile, not it matters in anyway for the Nats and the postseason- isn't it great to see the Invincible Dodgers getting their butts kicked day after day?

Harper- how do you think the Nats will play the Dodgers- best players all out, or more like a Spring Training game since the games really don't matter for either team?

Harper said...

Closer to the latter. The best players will play but I can't imagine Dusty (or Dave Roberts) will be pushing anyone

Anonymous said...

in other good news harper played catch in the outfield today. while still a long way from running and playing full speed he is not just sitting

PhthePhillies said...

Hi guys. Just a reminder. Strasburg was out for the season after September 8 last year. Wilson Ramos after September 27.
Sorry to ruin the party. 25 more games to play.
Go Nats!

BxJaycobb said...

Anon. Sure. If the playoffs started today Bryce would not play in them. I.e. If he doesn't improve until then (unfortunately this is possible,it's a bad bone bruise....there isn't like an established timeline), he won't play.

Ole PBN said...

Any idea if Wander Suero is going to get the call? Dude has been impressive at all levels (1.79 ERA at Syracuse this year). I have to think he's preferable to Kelly, Gott, Adams, Blanton or any of these other clowns that keep getting opportunities... What do you think Harper?

Harper said...

Ole PBN - probably not. If you aren't up by now I imagine you aren't coming up.

BxJaycobb said...

@harper: does anybody else fully expect MAT to be an automatic K vs consistently good pitching in October? He has literally no chance against any pitcher who can drop a breaking ball for strikes or near strikes on the outer half of the plate. I know this is not going to happen and fully understand he could be overmatched anyway, but part of me wonders how Robles would do as a Xander bogaerts type playoffs boost in CF. we all know how good a defender MAT is, but this team MAY* (if Bryce is out or not close to 100%) have the worst offensive outfield in recent playoffs memory....we really won't have offense to spare. I totally get Robles is too young and not ready in the Nats eyes, and this is more just ruminating. But fact is, a lot of highly touted position prospects actually do really well out of the box (turner, Bellinger, Hoskins, happ, story, just off top of my head) before the league gets scouting report on them....and Robles isn't one of these moderately heavy strike out guys. Scouts consistently love his approach at the plate. I wonder if even if he's not technically "ready" he could give them a boost. I honestly don't think it would take much to improve on whatever offense MAT will offer in playoffs. Nobody besides wieters has been as consistently useless against polished pitching this year (MAT basically hammers fastball location mistakes, which is good, but man...anything else and he might as well just not stand in the box...)

Sammy Kent said...

When the magic number was 23, (Aug 27, I think) I got tickets to next week's Thursday night game against the Braves, thinking it might be the clinching game. If anything, I thought it would almost surely happen later, either against the Dodgers or even more likely on the road in Atlanta. Now I'm scolding myself for being so pessimistic. I honestly never thought we'd sweep the Marlins at home, much less take the first two in Miami. It's going to be a real shame if Gio doesn't win this one tonight in front of the home folks. As much as I want my game to be the clincher, I'd much rather wrap things up as early as possible, and I especially want Gio to win this one tonight.