Nationals Baseball: Pivot point

Friday, June 29, 2018

Pivot point

Last night's low-effort loss feels like a turning point. Not for the Nats but for me. This is when the Nats' fans' confidence has fallen so much that my attempt at middle of the road analysis seems more positive than them rather than less.

The Nats are not out of it and in fact have a golden opportunity to stay in the hunt, if not get back into first, before the All-Star Break. It's those 11 games against mostly the dregs of the NL East. They can dominate those games. Two four game sets that are crying out for no worse than a 6-2 run. Add in that winnable series with Pittsburgh and you have a stretch that is almost certain to make up a couple games, if not more. If they can simply not get swept by Philly, and/or Boston I can see a scenario where a 7 game deficit after July 4th becomes a 3 game one by the break. Three games with two + months to go and lots of H2H remaining is not anywhere near impossible. And if they can split Philly and hold their own vs Boston then you are looking at likely ~5 game deficit on July 4th which then could be closed to around 1 before the break.

There is certainly a scenario though where the Nats are dead in the water come July 15th. If they do get swept out of Philly and lose the Boston series and sit ~7 games out on July 4th and then they sort of split the next 11 games, then you can give up the ghost. Then they are probably sitting 7 games out and have to play like the best team in baseball for two months to come back. Though not impossible, that is somewhere in the vicinity.

What do the Nats need to do to make this 11 game stretch, and honestly the rest of the season, work? They need to win at like a high 90s pace.  You know who won at a high 90s pace? Last year's Nats! So what did they have that the current Nats are lacking?

They had four players providing three and a half seasons of high-level offense (there were some missed games). They had another two seasons of above average batting from a mix of three players. They had a trade deadline deal bring in another bat that was good.  So basically they need a mix of six bats that range from great to above average. They can span that range but they have to hit all parts of it.

They also had three starters who pitched like they were among the Top 10 in the game and a mix of others that were bad but not terrible. (The bullpen was a mess last year for most of it and so they are probably at where that was in general right now - congrats?)

How do we turn this into the Nats of today? Well six batters need to range from great to above average.  It's not going to be Severino. It's not going to be Difo. So you are going to have to pull those bats from Soto, Bryce, Rendon, Eaton, Murphy, Turner, and Taylor. It almost works for the season right now. Soto has been great. Bryce and Rendon good, Eaton and Turner above or at average. But Soto and Eaton have played about a month a piece, and Bryce and Rendon and Eaton and Turner are all a half-step worse than the Nats of last year. So moving forward those four at least need to step it forward a little compared to the season so far AND the five need to stay healthy. They also need to be joined by a sixth and I'm not sure who that is going to be. First up would be Murphy but he looks like a shell of himself. He may be able to single his way to above averageness but without power he's probably going to forever remain a half-step behind where they need him to be. MAT has that potential, but is historically not a good all around hitter and if you are getting what you need from Soto, Eaton, and Bryce won't have enough at bats to be that sixth guy.  Zimmerman? Let him get back first.  So it almost feels necessary to make that trade and to make it for a hitting catcher (or second baseman if Murphy sticks at first). That's the only way to be sure you have six bats capable of being what you need this year, even if they don't do it.

Pitching wise is simpler. Two of Strasburg, Gio, and Roark need to pitch a lot better. That's it. You could trade for an arm, but it cost you a ton to get a pitcher in here you feel sure will dominate.  There may not even be that type available (Archer isn't this type. Stroman can be but is hurt. Hamels skirts that level. Fullmer is a better bet but isn't necessarily on the block) So this fix needs to come from within and watching these guys pitch (or not in Strasburg's case) over the past few weeks doesn't fill me with confidence.

That's where the Nats stand. They have a chance. A good one in a week and if they can not fall out of contention now, a decent one going forward. But they need at least 6 major players to do better than they have. They need their phenom and their ace to keep doing what they are doing and they probably need something more. A surprise trade, a miracle recovery, someone doing MUCH better, something.

If you ask me the way forward I'm looking for is this :
Soto hits almost as well as he has so far. Bryce becomes BRYCE again. Rendon hits like an MVP. Eaton hits like he has in the past. This takes a burden off the back end of the six if these four are all firing like All-Stars or better. Then Turner, Taylor, Murphy - two of them (or some catcher traded for) can be merely around average.  Pitching wise Strasburg does pitch as well as last year and while neither Gio and Roark hit that high standard they both are well above average moving forward - basically kind of like they were in April and May.

I'm not saying the above is likely, but I think it's the path of least resistance. You want to avoid relying on a lot of multiple events, so fewer batters are better. You want to avoid relying on things that haven't reliably happened before - so no Soto hits better than this going forward or Turner is a superstar. This asks for neither. It's all stuff we've seen before, either this year or in recent past. But it's still a lot of stuff going right.

But hey - back to the beginning. Split the Phillies, survive the Sox, be the team we just talked about above after that and dominate the 11 over two weeks. Then maybe the division breaks in your favor and you don't need ALL this for the entire second half. Do the work in front of you Nats. 

36 comments:

Edge said...

There is definitely a lack of fire, culture issue going on. Davey is running out of time with his laissez-faire approach. This team seems leaderless. It's not Zimmerman, its not Murphy, its not Bryce, its not Rendon, its not Turner, its not Severino, its not Soto. Is it Max? Can he even be that sort of leader only playing every 5 days? Davey could be the leader, but i'm not seeing it yet.

Chas R said...

Good analysis Harper. The Braves also have a much harder schedule up to the ASB than the Nats, although Phillies schedule seems about the same level of easier. I think they can live with Difo at 2B if we get a hitting catcher. Rizzo has got to see that Severino/Kieboom are not MLB level and relying on Wieters is to come back 100% and produce seems very unlikely

Gabe Roark said...

side note that Raudy reed comes back from his suspension this week. He has consistently shown power in the minor leagues. I think i could live with a backup catcher hitting 220 if he could pop a few out of the park. Just a thought...

Ty Miller said...

The Braves blew a great chance to do damage vs Os and Reds 2-4. Their manager Snitker has about the in game intelligence of an amoeba and probably lost 2-3 of those games himself. His faulty decision making exposed how weak the Braves bullpen is. Winkler, Minter, Carle and Vizcaino have been reliable but anyone else has been sketchy and Viz is on the DL.

Newcomb is the only starter who has been healthy throughout the year. Soroka, Sanchez, McCarthy, Fotynewicz, Gohara and Teheran have all been on the DL at some point.

The offense has stopped hitting home runs, maybe with Acuna Jr's return that will change. Their schedule is getting more difficult and going on a great run right now seems very unlikely.

Not sure how the Phillies look going forward but I can't imagine Nats out of it at all by mid July.

SM said...

One of your more memorable posts--from last season?--continues to hover over this Nats team like an indecisive ghost.


It was the Go-All-In argument vs Field-A-Contender-Each-Year-And-Hope-You-Win.


After reading today's post, I suspect--and you do too, unless I misunderstood--that the Go-All-In option is off the table. The organization doesn't have enough assets to right the starting staff (I agree there aren't any real difference-makers available); nor are there enough trade assets, and too many underperforming/injured/hopeless players in the lineup, to rectify their offensive woes. Expiring contracts at season's end complicate matters even more.

But to remain future contenders, these converging factors point to a reasoned, thoughtful sell-off if the Nats expect to contend in the immediate future.

But if I read you correctly, there is a third--to me, dubious, pie-in-the-sky--argument: the On-Switch theory. You know: if the boys just turn it on from here on in, the world is at their feet.

That's a thin gruel to sustain us.



Fries said...

I'm so tired of the pathetic catching situation. I love Severino's passion, but he can't hit and even when he is hitting, it's all singles. Kieboom is the same. Wieters will be an upgrade if he comes back healthy, but he has to shake off the rust and even then will still be a below average hitter.

I get not wanting to pay for Realmuto, but what would it take to get someone like AJ Ellis or Wilson Ramos? Rentals for this year having solid seasons. It couldn't cost more than a couple mediocre prospects and some cash right?

Jay said...

I'm beginning to think Davey is a nice version of Matt Williams. Isn't all of this we'll hit eventually, the runs will come, the boys fought hard basically the same thing as that's baseball, and we have another game tomorrow. It is basically the "hey, I have no idea why we're losing, but it'll come around bc I said so" excuse.

I'm hoping they'll bounce back but it is hard to see it happening at this point. I'm holding out hope, but that is not based on any evidence or facts just like Davey's "the boys fought till the end" line.

G Cracka X said...

Good post, as usual. Sort of the 'soulless automaton' version of the St. Crispin's Day speech.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." - Churchill

Ole PBN said...

We already had a manager named "Davey." Let's call this guy "Martinez," "Dave," or whatever - it's confusing. I'm not sure where all the hate for this guy comes from. Matt Williams lost the locker room. I don't see any signs of that here. Here's what the guy has had to deal with: If you told me that we'd be missing Eaton, Murphy, Zimmerman, Kendrick, Glover, Robles, Wieters, Strasburg, and Goodwin for significant time; that when Murphy did come back, he sucks; that the catching situation behind Wieters is worse than imaginable; that AJ Cole sucked; Tanner is wildly inconsistent; and the only player representing us at the ASG on our home turf is Max (Bryce shouldn't be there)... would you have been surprised? I sure would have. Sounds like last place to me. But we're not. Thanks to Matt Adams, Mark Reynolds, Juan Soto, early Gio, lately Taylor, Hellickson, and Doolittle... we're within striking distance. None of the above negatives are "Dave's" fault, and to say Dusty would have done better is a stretch. We have a manager who is willing to alter a lineup, not pitch guys because “he’s our 8th inning guy.” Based on Dusty’s preference to veterans over youngsters, I don’t think Soto would have gotten the chance that he has – Dusty probably would have preferred De Aza or Ryan Rayburn instead. The bullpen (outside of Doo) have been iffy at best. And those who have been healthy (Turner, Rendon, Taylor) have been exactly what we thought they would be at this point. Players play, and our guys aren’t. What is our manager supposed to do? Give a war speech?

Jay said...

He can put up motivational posters. Matt Williams was good at that. However, you make good points. I guess I was looking for someone to blame. Hopefully, they will turn it around.

egoodman8 said...

"There is definitely a lack of fire, culture issue going on."

No there isn't. The team isn't hitting and players are underperforming. Will they get the bats going? Who knows. If they do, the Nats can win the division. If Harper et al continue to have down years, we will be on the outside looking in during October.

PotomacFan said...

@old PBN. Very well said. I've wanted to post the same thought for the past week, but you said it better. Dave Martinez has actually done a good job with the bullpen, e.g. successfully using Doo in high leverage situations. Dusty never would have done that. Dave Martinez has given Soto the chance to play every day, and Soto has thrived. Dusty probably would not have done that. Dave Martinez has shuffled the batting order, moving Bryce around to try to get him started (not successful, because Bryce cannot currently hit in any slot), moving around Trea (to 6th, which sort of worked), and moving the pitcher to 8th on some nights (e.g. when Max pitches). I think Martinez has stolen a few games for the Nats. And he hasn't lost the team, at least not yet. I am worried, though, that if the slump continues through July, that there will be dissension in the clubhouse. Not sure any manager could ward that off. At least Werth isn't there to feed that dissension.

JE34 said...

I'm with the PBN... I can't point to any serious or recurring strategic blunders on Martinez' part. What is he to do if players aren't executing?

Maybe he should try Homer's approach to management:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8miwsWtzRw

JE34 said...

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2018-pitches-batting.shtml

You know that feeling when you think you know something, then you look at the data and see the opposite? And then you find some vindication that you're not crazy?

In the NL, Atlanta scores the most runs per game, sees the fewest pitches per PA, and swings at the first pitch most often. Contrary to what I expected, they don't wait around. They tend to get to hackin.

They also have the fewest swinging strikeouts, and second fewest Ks total. (The Mets have the fewest.) They have the highest percentage of foul ball strikes. So... they get to hackin, and they make contact more than other teams.

After seeing Philly play, I got the sense that those jerks are some tough outs, guys who make pitchers work. The team data doesn't seem to defend it... but then I noticed that they have 3 guys in the top 10 in pitches per PA...among qualified every day players (Hoskins is #1.)

and that's my story.

W. Patterson said...

I think the key to winning is to score more runs than your opponent. So far, that's not happening.

These guys are professionals, been playing this glorious game all their lives, so know what to do.

It'll be interesting when "Dave" or Rizzo weigh in here.

Johnny Callison said...

Got some runz tonight, though. Yay. But, yikes, Fedde coughed up almost half the lead. Still think they can win with 11 runs, however. Soto just boggles. Those left field homers!

Huzzah! said...

Even with the game at 12-5 I am nervous about coughing up 7 runs

BxJaycobb said...

What is Davey supposed to say if people don’t produce up to their track records exactly? You say they are going to eventually hit better and the effort is there. There’s nothing else to say. Fans always think that what’s important is what you say to the media which is always cliched nonsense. What’s important is what managers and coaches do in games tactically and what they say to players. Who cares what they say to the media.

BxJaycobb said...

Bryce has been heating up for over a week. FYI. And I don’t think he will cool down again this year.

BxJaycobb said...

Just wanted to share something, because I think sometimes we miss these things. Either Trea Turner has become an elite defensive shortstop (as in top 3 in the league) or the defensive metrics are wrong so far this season. He has more defensive WAR than basically anybody in the NL (see bWAR). More value than Taylor. And he has 3.0 WAR total. Which is about what Freddie Freeman has been worth this year. In other words, if you buy into WAR, Turner has been one of the best all around players in the National League (to be precise, 3rd best position player). I’ve posted this before....but Trea Turner is a crazy unique player that honestly baseball is borderline unfamiliar with....and that’s even when he has a low BABIP like he does this year. A guy who is an excellent defensive shortstop....the best base runner in the league....and an above average hitter? He hasn’t even hit up to his potential this year and he’s on track for like 5-6 WAR. I get what you’re thinking and I sort of agree. I don’t think Trea Turner has been as valuable as Freddie Freeman this year and I think WAR probably should be downgraded when it relies more on defense than offense, since it’s fuzzier and less reliable (why I would play Taylor 4th after the other 3 OF right now even though his WAR is highest of all of them). But let’s be very clear. I would argue that Trea Turner has about as high a ceiling as anybody in the NL if he can make a 3rd/4th year leap with the bat (leap defined as from 115 wRC+ to 130). That’s including Harper, if Bryce’s defensive deterioration is ongoing and a trajectory not a blip this year. Because this is the quietest “very excellent first half” I think I can remember from Trea. If he gets hot in the second half (let’s say...spitballing....he hits .340 with 10-15 homers and 30 bags) he would be a legit MVP candidate. As it is he’s likely to end up at about .280 with 20 HR and 40 SB and elite D. Get those closer to .300, 22-24 HR and 50 SB and were talking an 8 win MVP campaign.

nattydread said...

One game. So there's no need to see too much into it. But THAT is the offence Rizzo constructed. It would be a good pivot point, you are right, Harper. Who is this guy, Soto?

BxJaycobb said...

To answer your question, ND, you’re looking at the best first 100 PA/first month by a teenager at the plate in baseball history. Actually.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper (and others): Soto’s slash line is currently .336/.445/.621. The consensus Fangraphs ROS projected line: .293/.377/.493. Discuss. Under? Over? About right? My view: I’ll take the (respectively) Under .293 AVG. Over .377 OBP (I bet he walks even more with fewer fastballs). Over .493 SLG.

dc rl said...

@Bx, re Trea: Funny you start with the hedge "or the defensive metrics are wrong," because in one sense those defensive metrics clearly ARE wrong, simply because the Baseball-reference version (bWAR) often comes up with different numbers than the Fangraphs version (fWAR). So one of them is wrong - or maybe they both are - or at the very least, you can't buy into either one of them 100% when they come out differently.

That said, Trea shows pretty well in the Fangraphs defensive metrics too -- it's just not nearly as dramatic as what BBref shows. In Fangraphs dWAR, Trea is 4th among NL shortstops, behind Addison Russell, Miguel Rojas, and dansby Swanson, and 8th overall in MLB, with the top 4 all being AL guys - Iglesias, Simmons, Lindor, Semien. (Interestingly, the guy BBRef says is the NL dWAR leader, Freddy Galvis, is only the 7th best defensive ss in the Fangraphs list.) So it's reasonable to start to talk about Trea as being in the top third of defensive SS in baseball, although you might want to wait until you have a full season of numbers before arguing that case too vehemently.

Overall, and after last night's offensive explosion, Fangraphs puts Trea currently at 7th on their NL WAR leaderboard -- up from 13th just before last night's game. Sure, if he hits .340 with 10-15 HRs in the second half, he'd be a legit MVP candidate -- but then there are a lot of other guys who'd be legit MVP candidates if they had similarly great second halfs.

Donald said...

Is it possible that Victor Robles is as good or better than Soto? He was ahead of him in the minor league rankings, but that may just be an age thing. He is supposed to be a better defender and base runner, though, and it sounded like the Nats were counting on him to replace Harper. If he's anywhere near the hype, the Nat's outfield could be scary good.

G Cracka X said...

I feel like fWAR is more reliable than bWAR, but that may just be because of how they calculate pitcher WAR. I doubt Robles is as good as 1st 100 PA Soto, but I'm thinking Soto will cool off some, and Robles might end up being more valuable long term due to superior defense and baserunning. I feel like current MAT is Robles' floor (assuming health) and his ceiling is quite high.

I definitely think that TT is underrated. I don't think he'll end up as an MVP candidate, but I think he'll likely lead the Nats in position player fWAR. Its easy to forget how good he is with all the other names on the roster.

Anybody know what it would take from the Nats to get W Ramos back on the team?

Ole PBN said...

Fedde and change to get Ramos. But the caveat is that he can’t pitch for us again. Don’t want the Rays to know they’re getting garbage in return :)

Johnny Callison said...

What do folks think of giving Max the extra day so he faces the Bosox instead of pitching him on regular rest against our division rivals? Aren't division games more important?

Huzzah! said...

did anyone see Murphy go from 1st to 3rd on that Reynolds single? Yikes his running motion is scary...what is up with that knee of his!

Jay said...

6 out on July 1. Worst June W-L record in 8 years. Team doesn't perform the little things well. Got runners on in later innings multiple times in late innings today. Stuck with Justin Miller pitching 3 innings on his 3rd day in a row of work. Adam Eaton possibly throwing guys under the bus post game. (of course he was one of the guys that didn't bunt someone over. I agree with Ray Knight - it's discouraging. Doesn't seem like the Nats need to worry about the trade deadline this year. We've seen this movie before. 2012 Nats. Davey Martinez seems way over his head to me. Maybe the O's will be dumb enough to let go of Showalter and he can move south.

Ole PBN said...

I thought we just covered this? Again, tell me how their current situation is a reflection on the manager? You just outlined our lack of scoring late, our inablility to bunt guys over, leaving multiple guys on, and Miller pitching on his 3rd day in a row and going multiple innings. All of that is player execution. Buck hasn’t done jack in Baltimore and wouldn’t make a difference with this group. The guy is a more hard-nosed version of Dusty Baker with similar accolades. We went the “drill sergeant” route before with Williams and how’d that wrk out? Like Buck, he was more of a disciplinarian than a motivator. I see Dave having similar qualities to Dusty, with a side of willingness to change and an open mind. Like Dusty, he has the players back and is only concerned with that locker room and isn’t about to throw anyone under the bus (like Buck does on many occasions). Earlier this season, Buck yanked Kevin Gausman before the opposing player was even done rounding the bases. Tell me how the manager from the worst team in the league (both now and since he got there), who treats his own like that, is going to help this injury-riddled group in DC? That’s delusional. EVERYTHING is due to our slow start out of the gate because of half our roster on DL. Worst record in June? Who is back and contributing as expected? No, just Rendon, a teenager, and Max every fifth day. The day that Barry Svrluga reports in November about Dave losing the locker room is the only time we will revisit the bogus narrative. Look elsewhere, like the sloppy bunch actually swinging the bat.

Jay said...

I disagree. There weren't even attempts to bunt people over. Which means Davey didn't want a bunt there. Severino can't hit, so why would you not have him bunt in the 9th. Eaton can actually bunt, so why not have him bunt in the 13th. Having Max not pitch a game against the Phillies when they played them 7 in 9 games is on Davey. You don't want to use Max up, then push him back a day and have someone else pitch against the Rays so Max starts the Phills series. I don't blame Miller for the loss yesterday. He was pitching for the 3rd day in a row. Had thrown 30+ pitches in that game. And if he had actually gotten through his second inning of work and the Nats had scored in the 14th he would have had to close out the game as well. That game was over before the homer it was just a matter of how they lost. The game before they had runners at 1st and 2nd with no one out late and didn't move them. Murphy can't pinch hit in the 8th of Saturday's game bc he is only available for "an emergency", yet he starts at 2nd less than 12 hours later.

I'll admit you aren't as good as you look when you're winning and not as bad as you look when you are losing. However, to say that none of this is Davey's fault is delusional as well. I agree that Showalter may not be the answer. I'll agree that players are to blame as well. However, I think Davey has looked unprepared and in over his head the last 3-4 weeks.

JE34 said...

When this team isn't pressing, they can hit. It's almost like they hit when it doesn't matter.

blovy8 said...

This is just a .500 team. They could easily continue to lose a bunch of one-run games, because they're just not that good. Look at the players' ops stats and tell me who is supposed to do better? Soto is almost making up for the catchers right now, but that won't last, his monster numbers are settling down to probably just very good. Everyone seems to be about where you'd expect except Murphy, and his running does not inspire confidence that his power will come back anytime soon. Harper isn't hitting for average, but the HR and walks have him in a decent spot slightly below his career numbers. Sure, Adams, Zim, and Wieters are out, but how much does that change things? It's the LH pitching that's killing the team - will Zim totally cure that on his own? Wieters was maybe the worst catcher in baseball last year. I bet they're desperate enough to bring Adams back too fast and his pinky affects his hitting. The continuing display of inept offense during yesterday's game makes me think the June swoon will be in danger of becoming the July goodbye.

Johnny Callison said...

Why do some folks get so angry and dismissive if you question the manager's strategy? The "it's ONLY the guys on the field" thing seems a little overused. Most times it's a bit of both or a bit of everything--injuries, personnel (depth), strategy, hard-headed players unable to get out of slumps.

Showalter MIGHT be good for the Nats, but I can't believe the Lerners would go for a guy like Buck who expects a certain amount of power to accompany the job. Or they might go for him if next year also goes poorly, since they have a pattern of hiring veteran, productive managers then canning them after a couple of years and replacing them with younger, cheaper, more easily controlled guys, who, with the exception of Matt Williams's first year, do not succeed.

I get that Martinez is dealing with some things no one expected, like Eaton still rounding into shape (he's basically contributed little for half a season--no one saw that happening) and Murphy being a shadow of himself. Kendrick getting hurt has forced Difo to play regularly. And everyone said, "Bryce is so focused this year; he's going to have a monster year." Then he had a monster month followed by about six weeks of mediocre/bad, and now about ten days of better. And his D has been bad.

Letting Zim have that mystery ST was weird for a rookie manager; not a good look, but might have happened BECAUSE DM is a rookie. That might have "won" the clubhouse, but not in a good way or for the right reason.

Thomas Boswell, of all people, has expressed doubts about Martinez (not so much lately). The team DOES seems to get thrown out on the bases way too much, and I figure that's coaching. And the hitting issues, in part, could be coaching due to approach or strategy.

Ole PBN said...

I understand your perspective, and it does have some merit. The manager is there so someone has a finger to point as to why we're losing. I get it. Each game, with its separate intricacies and missed opportunities, are far too complex to call a single player "the reason we're losing." Just say it's the manager, easy. Your statement about "you aren't as good as you look when you're winning and not as bad as you look when you're losing" couldn't be more true. We have seen what a manager that is in over his head looks like. It was terrible, infuriating, and almost laughable all at the same time. You think this looks the same? Alright then... But do you think that our current situation could be a whole lot worse with someone else at the helm? Like, not even close to relevant contention, given everything this team has been hit with this year? We'll never know. But what we do know is that we don't have a hitter in our lineup hitting over .300 (aside from Soto who has only played 37 games this year).

I have to go back to your previous post where you cited the worst W-L record in June in 8 years. In that span: the lineup hasn't a scored a single run in 3 of the 5 Scherzer starts, Gio is slipping (8.44 ERA/1.83 WHIP and given up 6 HR - 9 total on the season). Roark too (1-4 w/ 5.65 ERA).Strasburg is out, and Fedde hasn't filled the shoes even modestly. Hellickson has been out a month and it's been patchwork the entire time trying to find a guy to pitch there too. Bryce hit .188/.333/.341 with 2 HR 33 K's in 24 games compared to 17 walks. Do I need to go on? When you look at it that way, June seems pretty explainable. So why are we blaming the manager again? Name me one game that Dave lost us. No, give me 6 games that HE lost that would put us back in first place. I have a running list, covering each game, that includes no fewer than 5 mental errors each time we put up an "L." That tells me that we hardly ever get beat. We beat ourselves. This list focuses on called 3rd strikes in pitcher-friendly counts, overthrowing the cutoff man, poor baserunning, etc. It's our players man, as talented as they are, they have yet to prove any consistency this year (or in past years).

The only proof that any of us would have that the manager has lost this team and that we made a mistake in hiring him would be the day that someone in that locker room comes out and says just that. Hasn't happened yet (and I don't think it will). And while anyone against this guy is scrolling baseball reference for the "one game Dave lost for us this year" just remember what people were saying about Gabe Kapler (the guy who's team just took 5 of 7 from us) at the beginning of the season. That, my friends, was a manager in over his head. Players playing well will right that ship, just as it did for them, just as it hopefully will for us. But I guess Gabe really started "managing" better...??