Nationals Baseball: Three game streak

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Three game streak

Gain a game.  One bag at a time. One truck at a time. Remember the pre home stand goal.  6-4 and beat the Phillies.

You want an impossible thing to root for this year? How about Max Scherzer and the quest for 30 wins. Max pitches well pretty much every game. The team is scoring for him. Of course this is a nearly impossible task for a modern rotation. Guys in a year where you are trying to finagle as many starts as possible only top out at like 36. Guys don't pitch games to completion ruling out any chances of late comebacks giving them the W. But hey, it's not impossible today. Why not dream?

While the Nats are having a run finally go their way the NL East is reshaping a bit.  The Braves have basically caught the Mets and the next couple of games between the two will determine who the Nats and Phillies will be chasing when they meet up.  Acuna looks like every bit the player the Nats hope Robles will be and Albies is one behind the league leader in homers. If these guys keep it up there will be enough offense after Markakis and Suzuki wake-up from their dream starts to carry the team until all those young guns are ready to chip in.  Meanwhile, the Mets are watching the pitching blow-up every few games which is eating up a pen that's good but not 8 man deep. Conforto and Cespedes aren't carrying the team like they need them to. The tide is turning toward the Braves right now, but feelings in baseball can change every other day.  Let's see the Braves beat deGrom tonight before you get too excited.

The Phillies / Nationals series looks to be important (well pretty much every NL East non Marlins series is going to be important for a while) in both keeping the Phillies a major player in the division or in setting up the Nationals as resurgent and ready to get back into it. The Phillies pitching has been sort of good enough to keep things up but they can't get the offense going to help and are quickly coming down. They might be ready for a staggering blow if the Nats can deliver. unfortunately that's going to have to be a still depleted team as it looks like Rendon will be heading to a rehab assignment first.  If that happens you can write him off for the rest of this home stand.

It's kind of fun having important games every week. Let's finish up this Pirates thing so we can get to it


BxJaycobb said...

30 wins. I think it actually is impossible. I’ll root for 25 wins. That’s something that actually has an (utterly minuscule but plausible) chance.
Acuña and “the hoped for Robles outcome” seem like different players. Acuña appears to have more power—30-35 HR power if it works out—and Robles seems to have more speed and defensive excellence. Unless I’m mistaken I don’t think Acuna is supposed to be a star CF defender and 30 SB guy. More like a hitting beast who also is fast and athletic and can play CF in early part of career. But yeah, he’s a stud. I would wait on Albies to see how good he is once the league adjusts. He might be phenomenal, like an Altuve-ish player. Or he might be a Rougned Odor player who suddenly starts getting pitched to. But I agree given his age that Odor seems like the floor. Meanwhile let’s not forget Dansby Swanson’s year last year. These two might be the next Jeter/Cano. Or they might be a solid not star middle infield. Hard to say just now.

Ole PBN said...

I think this Braves team is due for a crash. Way too many guys hitting right now. Suzuki is not a .300 hitter. Albies is unproven just like the 25 AB Acuna (though he does look impressive, I still don't see 30-35 HR power. I just see 1 in 6 games). Ryan Flaherty hitting .313? Ha. And Swanson isn't a .300 hitter either - just like Trea Turner isn't really the .340 hitter we saw a couple years ago. Fans see more of a fantasized version of Swanson because of what the potential could be because he's so young. Well... still waiting on that. Please, the only close Jeter/Cano combo is happening right now in Houston - not it ATL. The only guys I can say will maintain is Freeman (the lone real proven beast/Nats killer on this team), Inciarte (who is performing as expected), and Markakis (a solid vet who I wouldn't be surprised to see hitting .290-.300). The rotation? Not a single guy with a WHIP under 1.200 Teheran is bum, Folty is unproven, Newcomb is garbage, yet McCarthy is respectable. The only kudos that I can say may last over the course of the season is the bullpen. A lot of young arms that are throwing well right now.

In a nutshell, all this sounds like the same tune as the Mets raving about their rotation and the Yankees raving about their roster: its all young, cheap talent. And proud they should be - very exciting to watch. Indeed this team is no doubt better than last year's Braves (73-89, mind you). And I expect them to be around .500 this year, potentially over .500 given the hot start they've had. However, I still see this as the Nat's division if they get healthy. Big "IF" considering that we may not see our starting 9 on the field at once for a while - at which point it will be too late and one of these 3 mediocre teams takes the division. More of the Nats missing an opportunity than Mets/Phils/Braves.

PotomacFan said...

I think it would be great if Max could win 20 games. In only one season has Max started 34 games. Typically, he starts 31 - 33 games. He's not going to pitch great in every single game, and he's not always going to get run support. If he's facing a really good pitcher, the Nats might not score either -- and Max can always give up a home run or two.

Let's also give Max some credit for hitting. I think I'd rather have him up at the plate with RISP than RZim. Max has hit over 0.200 in all but one season in his career.

cass said...

A shame Max wasted all those years in the AL. I guess the Tigers never thought to DH him on the days he wasn't pitching.

Odds of winning the division up to 59%. Postseaon 75%. Nights like this are what the cold numbers foresaw. Let's hope there are many more.

cass said...

Also, to answer your question, Fangraphs has humans determine playing time and uses a blend of Steamer and ZiPS to calculate rest of reason stats, then simulates the schedule based on that.

You can see the playing time projections here:

The staff usually divides up the teams between them so each person is responsible for a few teams. There's definitely some lag. The injured players are penciled in for too many games. Really, though, none of us know cause most of our players were supposed to be back by now. The Nats communication about injuries sure doesn't help.

Despite the quibbles, I'd still say it's pretty reasonable.

Anonymous said...

I want to jump in on this one...because it looks like it might become just a more detailed version of yesterday's column: it's May 1 and with three teams ahead of can we ever get to first place? May 1 and people are conceding that a wild card is our only chance because we can't win the division. This is such nonsense--we are 4.5 games back and it wouldn't take more than one hot streak to be back on top. Not saying that happens, just it is a reasonable probability...not 13%.

Which leads me to question some of the numbers being bandied around. Does the analysis take account of the possibility that a team 5 games back on May 1, later took the lead and then lost it before play-off time? Does the idea that it is much harder to take back the lead with three teams ahead of us....take account of the dozens of games yet to be played among the teams? That would involve complex math, but is a key variable.

Bjd1207 said...

@Anon 8:09 - So that 13% number was based on historical measures I think Harper said from like 2000 onward? But it's important to note that if you go back through the comments I don't think anyone was SURE we'd get a wildcard, or SURE we'd win the Division. So saying that collectively we've conceded to a wild card only option I don't think is fair to the many scenarios that were put out there.

Of course it's still possible to win the Division, and yea our chances today look better than they did a couple days ago. That doesn't mean that 13% was WRONG, it was just a historical survey. It's hard or maybe impossible to tell whether we're currently "part of" that 13% or not. A team 5.5 games out on May 1st can gain 3 games in their next series and be 2.5 games out on May 4th.

I'm sure the historical numbers for 2.5 games back on May 4th are WAYYYYYY better than 5.5 games back on May 1st. But again, that doesn't make that 13% number inaccurate. 13% of teams that were that far back on May 1st made the playoffs.

You're right about the hotstreak, but it breaks the other way too. "4.5 games back is an EASY comeback" Then we slide 3 games, is 7.5 games back on May 4th a serious obstacle or still nonsense? Each of us probably has a slightly different feeling on it. But the historical percentages are meant to give us context, not map out our seasonal probabilities

Jay said...

Sunday - Scherzer vs. Arrieta. That should be fun.

I still don't see any of the three teams in front of the Nats finishing with more than 88 wins max. I think the Mets are currently coming back to the pack - 6-9 since 11-1 start. The Phils don't have the offense in my opinion, and I think their SP falters as the year goes along. Did anyone see Arrieta's I'm the greatest ever interview on ESPN posted today. He doesn't lack for confidence. Anyway, I think the Braves don't have the SP. The question is can the Nats consistently start winning series and make up ground and will they get healthy. Rendon seems close. Is it me or does it seem Murphy might beat Eaton back? Strasburg seems just a little off to me lately - doing well but hopefully he can get hot and like the second half of last year. Hopefully, Stras can win tonight and the Nats can keep it going.

sirc said...

The rest of the east had their chance to run away the way the D-Backs have from the Dodgers out west. Instead they tussled amongst themselves for 2 weeks and nobody jumped ahead. Oh well. They can't say the Nats never gave them the chance.

Nattydread said...

Boswell makes the point that, for good teams, seasons are made up mostly of 'middling periods' but defined by a few hot streaks. Last year, the Nats came out of the gates with a hot streak and it built them a margin for the entire season. This year, they started off with a decidedly weak period. One or two ten game streaks would change the narrative. If I haven't seen a 14-4 streak by the All Star Game, I will pass judgement, but until them I'll wait. They are still, minus three good hitters, the team expected by 95% of the pundits to take the division.

JDBrew said...

I stand by my statement in the last thread, July 4th Nats will be first in this division.