Nationals Baseball: It's not over until we say it's over

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It's not over until we say it's over

And the Nats have written the concession speech of two words "It's over." and are currently practicing intonation in the green room while their chief of staff is trying to get through to the other teams to congratulate them first before going on stage.

This is repetitive but true. The Nats are not out of it thanks to the general blahness of the NL. In the past 30 games (since game 90) the Nats have gone 15-15. But the Phillies only went 15-13, the Braves went 16-12 (streaking in the past couple of games, .500 before that), but had stumbled right before this. MIL went 14-18, SFG 15-16, LA and ARI both 16-15. PIT has played well but were far behind to begin with. So the only teams that have set themselves apart that the Nats are competing with are the Cardinals and the Rockies, both moving from the fringes of the WC race to a couple games behind.

So for playing mediocre baseball the Nats "punishment" has been a game or so lost in the NL East lead and a couple teams a couple more games ahead in the WC.  Not that big a difference.

But it's also been 30 games with no movement and the tick tock of the season has grown increasingly louder. "They'll get them later" is gone and we've moved to the point where any slip up will do it. The Nats lose the next two and the Braves, Phillies, and Brewers all win the next two? 9 games out of the East and 8 out of WC2? Even the craziest dreamer has to give it up.

Who's to blame for the season failures? We'll have plenty of time to go over that.

Who's to blame for the recent failures? It's a team effort.

You can blame Davey. He overworked the pen early in the season which may have contributed to injury. He seems to have a lack of communication with his bullpen. His inability to get the clubhouse where Rizzo liked it, caused him to jettison a couple of supposed bad apples in an attempt to set things right.

You can blame Rizzo. We talked about the pen being one arm short - better than it has been to start the season but also not set up to be as well as it could have been. We talked more urgently about the plan to have a 5th starter that would only go 2 times through a line-up set up the bullpen for a lot of work if something happened with the other starters.  We talked about the injuries forcing the need for moves and ended up getting a move. We then saw his macho razing of the pen of a couple of malcontents that at best showed mild disillusionment desperately searching for a way to fix the team for the manager as opposed to optimize the team itself.

You can blame the pen. Get some damn outs. It's your jobs.

Very little in sports can be laid at the feet of one individual. I lean toward Rizzo though because it's obvious the team needed more bullpen help and he chose to weaken it and then Doolittle going down smashed it to pieces and he still does nothing but bring in has beens like Holland.  If it's because the Lerners hamstring him with salary so be it but he has been in the job long enough to know that's what will happen. It's on him as much as it's on them.

Ok well. Sweep the 3 versus the Cardinals and then we can move off of season ending talk. Anything else and we're just arguing on what the time of death is or will be.  


50 comments:

Fries said...

Svrluga's piece says it all today. The Phils and Braves need to be middling the whole way to make the playoffs. Nats need to play about 11-12 games over .500 over 43 games. Now this team has the offense and SP to be able to do that, but the bullpen is atrocious. The only way the Nats get in is by pummeling teams into submission at this point and win all their games 7-5 with most of the opponents runs coming in the 7th-9th innings. And the reason I still have hope is that arguably the Nats have the potential to do that.

Given the next 3 matchups, there's still a solid chance of winning the Cards series. Then with a sweep of the Marlins the Nats are looking at being only like 4 games out heading into the Phils series. But that requires the offense firing on all cylinders, and that means manufacturing runs. That means Davey needs to make Weiters bunt. That means Soto needs to stand on top of 1st base until the pitch is thrown. That means Turner, Taylor, and Eaton need to run wild on the bases. It's possible, but it requires the team playing with a fire under their butts, and I unfortunately don't think they have it in them, not under Davey's leadership.

It's time for Zimm and Murph and Rendon to take over the clubhouse. It's time for Bryce to focus on what he does best and control the strike zone and murder mistakes. It's time for accountability to the team and playing for runs, not to hit dingers every AB. And that change isn't going to come from Davey with his (reportedly) atrocious communication skills to everyone but the elite players.

Rant over

Anonymous said...

Sammy Solis has to to be sent to minors to save this team. Move Tommy Milone to BP when Stras is back. We can win the BP we have, use it wisely. You have enough tools in the toolbox. If you can't see them, then we are done.

Froggy said...

It's over. Channeling Robot...

...come in Robot

Froggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Froggy said...

"What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Hell no!"

Who's with me...

https://m.imgur.com/r/johnbelushigifs/pESRN5u

Ole PBN said...

"We can win with the BP we have, use it wisely." ....??

Solis should be sent to minors, Glover gets a shot at closing and blows it, Holland is a has-been, Doolittle and Herrera are on the DL, and Madson tries to hide injuries from his manager, blows the game, and then reiterates that he has never been comfortable closing. Does that sound like a group of winners to you all? Harper said it best: the bullpen has to get some damn outs and do their job. Plain and simple. It's crazy to think that a SP (Max) can go out there and pitch shutout/1-run ball for 7-8 innings and one of the previously mentioned blockheads comes in and give up 2-3 runs in less than an inning of work. How bad do you honestly have to be?

Funny thing about the manager and pen, here's a goodie from last year:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/the-nationals-arent-just-losing-games-with-their-bullpen-theyre-losing-their-players/2017/06/13/7820074c-5062-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.85022373a329

“We feel like we have to win the game three times,” one Nationals position player said recently.

Another established position player noted that, on more than one occasion, the Nats have come off the field in the middle innings, already with five or six runs on the board, and Baker has exhorted them with something along the lines of, “Let’s get some more.” The need is implied.

“That drives us crazy,” the player said. “Get some more? Come on. We’ve done our job.”

PROBLEM #1: Accountability is foreign to this group. Regardless of who is at the helm. Fix that.

Silver Fox is Drunk said...

I blame the Lerners. I think Rizzo would have made the moves, but he's hamstrung by the contracts the Lerners essentially signed and the ones they refused to sign, coupled with their complete refusal to spend any money on a manager and go all in. The Wieters signing is particularly bad. I mean, this is a guy who's likely to be out of baseball next year and if they weren't on the hook for, would probably have done more to fix the issue in the offseason. Rizzo has also chased a number of the lights out closers, only to be outbid. If you're not going to spend, you can't follow the Red Sox/Cubs/Dodgers model, you've got to follow the Astros/Rays model. The Nats problem is that they try to do both, so they always put a flawed team out there that can win 90 games, but that also could win 80.

Anonymous said...

I am resigned to the fact that they will not make the playoffs. They are too far back. They don't have the bullpen to qualify even if they weren't too far back.

My hope is that the Nationals remain respectable, say finish with 88 wins. My fear is a total collapse with firings, disgruntled players, and nasty anonymous he/she said accusations in th media (see Redskins handling of the Scot McCloughan or Rizzo's handling Kintzler and Kelley).

The more of a laughingstock franchise you become, the harder it is to acquire and retain quality free agents and coaches. Nationals already have their fair share of notoriety over the years with the handling of Bud Black negotiations, the Harper/Papelbon fight, the firing of Dusty Baker, and the recent Kintzler/Kelley.

Losing => tilt => unwise actions => blowback => chaos => undesirable employer => long term losing


Hopefully they will stay composed and be ready to regroup in the offseason.

W. Patterson said...

On a positive note (yes, there is one) some of us go to bed and miss the last two innings of a game. It's nice to see the Nats leading going into the late innings.

On a negative note, some of us check the score before feeding the dogs in the morning and, well, there's the negative side of things.

PotomacFan said...

I'm calling it. I think we are fooling ourselves thinking that this team can go on a big run. They have the bats to do it, but they don't have the pitching -- and that includes starting pitching, as well as the bullpen. Gio hasn't been good, and even at his best, requires at least 3 innings from the bullpen. Hellickson requires 4 innings from the bullpen. Milone is barely a major league pitcher, and requires 4 - 5 innings from the bullpen. Given that the bullpen is exhausted, injured and generally terrible, the Nats just don't have the horses to do this.

And even though the batting order looks terrific (7 hitters over .750 OPS, with 5 over .800) they have too many games where no one hits. And then they pad the stats with 24 run outbursts.

Time to start lining up the ducks for 2019. Hey, maybe bring in Jayson Werth as a bench coach. (Just kidding, sort of. Davey M. would never want Werth in the dugout.) And someone needs to step up as a team leader. Max is great, but the pitcher can't be a true team leader. Any candidates? Zim: no. Rendon: no. Turner: no. Soto: no. Don't know anything about Eaton. Maybe if Bryce comes back he can step into that role.

#Werthquake (Formerly clip & store) said...

Potomac, not to rain on your parade, but it's not incredibly impressive to make such declaration (and ultimately be correct) at this point of the season =p lol

blovy8 said...

While I would in no way predict winning enough games in August to do this: IF the Nats could sort of get back into it (regardless of how badly they are now playing), the rotation should be a respectable Scherzer/Strasburg/Roark/Gio. If Doolittle returns, perhaps it frees up MATCHING up with batters, instead of "roles". If the 10 percent chance happens, Ross could give them a multiple inning stint in the playoffs when Gio uses 100 pitches to get through 4 1/3. A month of pennant race auditioning could reveal a better lefty like Edgin or Collins than Solis. Probably just have Grace and the RH who have anything left at that point.

The positive I would mention is Wieters hitting the ball better this past week.

Kubla said...

Please bring back Werth as manager so that the Nats can win (or lose) every game 2-1 and have multiple players injure themselves legging out hopeless infield grounders at full speed or getting smashed in the wrists trying to bunt. They will be playing The Right Way. He's got a cool beard+hit a HR that time.

G Cracka X said...

I don't blame Rizzo. He put together a (on paper) 92 win team this offseason, despite being given limited finances to work with. He added Herrera early, then did a light sell at the deadline given the team's middling results.

Davey's learning on the job, but he isn't the main problem.

The main problems have been:

1) Injuries (https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-disabled-list-tracker/)

2) Variance (https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=BaseRuns) Nats are 7 games better per Pythag

3) Braves/Phillies overperformance (https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds?date=2018-03-28&dateDelta=) Both teams projected to be under .500

Anonymous said...

Yea, it's over...

Cardinal Ximinez said...

i blame Davey for the Madsen fiasco. a hit? ok. a hit batter? it happens. 2 hit batters? you dont face #4 batter. Simple as that

ssln said...

Harper

You seem to desperately trying to keep you readers by putting out the same carrot that it is not really over. I hope that you don't actually believe what you are writing because if you do, then you are even crazier than I think you are. Trust me it is over, it just isn't totally official yet.
Here is the problem. You need the Braves and Phils to lose but they both have mucho games against the NL East dregs. Then they still have head to head against each other. They both can't lose that night.
In the WC it is worse. Everyone ahead of us is playing each other every night so both teams can't lose. I have said the only way for the Nats to get back in it is to win 11 straight because then you are sure to pick up games against everyone. But the reality is that this team can't win five straight let alone eleven. It won't be official until Sept. 20, but it looks as official as it can be.
As for blame, we are on the outside looking in. There is probably a whole group of reasons and I have touched on the ones you mentioned in previous posts. You are not turning new ground there. We will never know what mixture of problems caused the situation the team is in. Go ahead and speculate since none of us can prove you right or wrong.
Even if we found all the answer, it wouldn't make a difference. It won't change the season or the outcome. At some point even you have to face reality. It is time to be thinking about next year.
I always end by saying I hope I am wrong but so far I haven't been.

Anonymous said...

"i blame Davey for the Madsen fiasco. a hit? ok. a hit batter? it happens. 2 hit batters? you dont face #4 batter. Simple as that"

Madson was the closer. Should a team have back up relievers warming up so they can be call upon to pitch if the closer doesn't have it?

Martinez already has a bad rep for warming up guys without putting them in.

Max David said...

On one hand, after watching the debacles of the last 2 night's it's pretty clear to me that this team is not a championship contender and is likely 1 and done in the playoffs anyways, so I wouldn't mind missing out. That and they are unlikely to add a SP/catcher/relief help in waivers, so those are 3 positions that are severely lacking.

On second thought, playoffs are a crap shoot as we know, and we have the offense now and SP (sans Gio, good grief! Can someone just claim him already so we can be done with him once and for all??) where that run to get in can happen, and once there, anything can happen. And actually opening on the road which is where they'll likely be playing may not be bad less pressure, may just be what they need, hell look at the Caps in the Pens series where they won that game 6 in Pittsburgh, the Lightning series in the Eastern Conference Final, and the VGK in the Cup finals. But I agree Harper, as I said the other day I'll leave them with a fightning prayer if they can manage a split, but anything less than a split in this series OR anything less than 5-1 on the next homestand (Marlins/Phillies) and it maybe time to throw in the towel.

Cardinal Ximinez said...

you're damn right you get some one up and ready to go in. right after Madson hit his 1st batter. and then you stall. Madson is NOT the closer. he's a 5+ ERA relief guy who hasn't had "it". he's in position to close due to injuries to Doolittle and Herrera and a trade of Kintzler. he may have some closing experience, but he hasn't showed closer stuff all year. damn right i would have had someone up and getting hot.

Ole PBN said...

“You know what Gio? Thanks a lot man. Wow... Really appreciate that stellar performance that you took 5 days to prepare for. Really something. Thanks a lot buddy. Oh no, don’t get up. You just sit here with ice and a towel, maybe talk to yourself some more while the rest of the team gets a mop. What flavor Gatorade you want? Orange? Coming right up champ. Hey, better rest up. We neeeeeeeed you again in 5 days.”

I wish someone in the dugout would say this to him. After 20 minutes, I’d finally get up off the floor from laughing.

G Cracka X said...

On a positive note, Carter Kieboom went 4-5 for Harrisburg with a double, a triple, and 2 HR. He may be able to get to the show by mid-2019

G Cracka X said...

https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-carter-kieboom-leads-top-prospects/c-290401248

egoodman8 said...

I think that will do it unless we sweep the rest of our games against Philly. Goodnight moon.

Josh Higham said...

@ssln I'm pretty sure often busy blogger guy Harper could handle not having traffic on his ad-free blog.

G Cracka X said...

Wieters starting to find a rhythm:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/nationals-journal/wp/2018/08/15/the-nationals-are-struggling-but-matt-wieters-finally-is-finding-his-rhythm-at-the-plate/?utm_term=.75b63c708720

Also, looks like Raudy Reed is hitting nicely down in Harrisburg

Anonymous said...

"you're damn right you get some one up and ready to go in"

That will continue the practice of wearing out bullpen arms. Thats a big reason on how the bullpen got to this point, but lets continue doing it (that and Rizzo's trade deadline maneuvers)

Johnny Callison said...

I'm ready to accept it's over. Too many holes make it impossible for the team to be consistent, so they never get hot enough to win 10 out of 12, which would have put them in the thick of it had they had a run like that after the ASG. This is the first season where I'm seriously reconsidering my confidence in Rizzo. Trading Kintz and releasing Kelley back to back showed how precarious the BP's health was. In light of the fact that Doo was out with no clear return date and Herrera was unreliable, those two personnel moves were huge mistakes. If the BP is shaky, why weaken it at that moment? Greg Holland in place of Kintz? Koda in place of Kelley when he's been out all season?

I get that the Lerners make Rizzo's job harder (signing Wieters for way over what was necessary; vetoing Arrieta, refusing to add much payroll in-season which precludes any big moves), but in this case he let his own emotions dictate a choice, not logic. Bad moves made, and no good moves made to offset them.

I cannot imagine a scenario where they make the post-season. I thought they should sell in July and man, they really need to sell now and get what they can for Gio, Murphy, Reynolds/Adams and Herrera or Madson or if anyone is even interested.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that nice that Wieters 'has found his rhythm'. It only took two years and $20 million dollars. I wish him the best next season

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for Harper for a blog topic ... given that the Nats are not going to make the playoffs, how should the Nats play out the remainder of the season? Should they consider starting prospects and benching regulars, particularly in positions where the current position holder may not be with the Nationals next season? Kieboom (infielder) over Murphy? Voth and Rodriguez over Gio and Hellickson? Kieboom (catcher) over Wieters? Any bullpen guy under 30 over any bullpen guy over 30?

Robles would be slightly different. As Soto, Taylor, and Eaton will be back, and the Nationals seemingly want to keep on friendly terms with Harper, there is no optimal players to bench. So for outfield, have Robles join a five man outfield rotation where everybody plays 3/5 of the time.

SM said...

Here's a question perhaps better left for the rapidly approaching Hot Stove League:

Given how frequently Dave Martinez has been flayed--on this site particularly, but elsewhere, too--for being the cause of the demise/underperformance of this year's Nats, can anyone discern what, if any, his strengths are as a manager?

(Yes [sigh] comparisons to Dusty are permitted.)

Jay said...

I think Davey is a really nice guy. I think he gets along well with Bryce Harper. I think he knows a guy who can bring camels to Spring Training. I think that is the end of his strengths. Doesn't seem to know how to motivate the team. Doesn't seem to know how to handle SP. If both Gio and Hellickson can't be counted on to go 5 then why are they starting one after the other?? Doesn't seem to know how to handle a bullpen. He seems way over his head to me. I've read in three different spots that he could be in trouble after just 1 year. Heyman, Rosenthal, and I think Yahoo sports but not sure on that one.

PotomacFan said...

So, maybe we need a new manager. I don't think we'll miss the playoffs because of Davey Martinez, but I don't think he is up to the task, either. Here's the problem: the Lerners have repeatedly shown that they won't pay full price for an experienced manager -- and we need an experienced manager. No more first time managers. Will the Nats pay for Joe Girardi? Mike Metheny? Buck Schwolter? Those guys will all want $4+ million for multiple years.

As much as the Nats may need a new manager, I think they also definitely need a new pitching coach, and maybe a new batting coach. Of course, a new manager would probably insist on hiring his own folks. I haven't heard anyone say anything good about Derek Lilliquist.

And while we are at it, let's please get new coaches at first and third base.

Jay said...

I agree with PotomacFan on every point unfortunately. Hopefully, the Nats realize they have wasted a year for no reason. I agree they need an experienced manager and need to spend for an experienced manager. The Phils and the Braves are much better teams now. The days of coasting to an NL East title are over. Max is too good to waste on bad teams. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Max David said...

I’m still keeping the faith. As I said last week 3-4 on this road trip and that is still attainable. Win these next 2, sweep the Marlins, win 2 of 3 against the Phillies & Mets and they are right back in the race heading to last week of August.


I know it’s apples to oranges, but the A’s were 34-36 and 11.5 back of Houston after losing at home to the Angels, their 4th straight loss at home after the Astros started with a 3 game sweep. Since than, the A’s are 38-12, MLB’s best record at that time and if they beat the Mariners today and win the series against the Astros over the weekend they’ll be no worse than tied with the Astros for the AL West lead. The A’s have done this in about 7.5 weeks while the Nats only have about 6.5 weeks but the A’s cut 9.5 games in a 7.5 week span while the Nats only need to cut 6 games (8 games for division) in 6.5 weeks. Still a tough hit to climb, but don’t give up hope just yet. Wait to see how the rest of this series goes just like me! You can’t get them back all at once, but get series wins (especially against teams you are chasing), get sweeps, sweep the Marlins & Mets of the world and see where we are in a week’s time!

Anonymous said...

Even if the Lerner's were to fire Martinez and seek to add an experienced manager with a good track record, why would any experienced manager with a good track record want to join the Nationals?

- No manager has ever lasted two seasons with the Nationals. Davey Johnson and Dusty Baker weren't good enough

- Lerner's don't respect customary baseball courtesies, particularly in contract matters. They low balled Bud Black. They regularly allow managers to manage under the last year of their contracts (see Riggleman, Baker, and along similar lines, Rizzo). They lied to Dusty Baker, telling him they would resign him in the off season regardless of the team's post season performance, and then didn't resign him, against the recommendation of the General Manager.

- Teams at the start of their decline are the worst places to join because the expectations haven't been fully reset in many minds, at least unconsciously. Rebuilds take time and losing. The brand of the manager is bound to associated with that losing. Turnarounds don't always happen quickly (see Jim Leyland, Pittsburgh Pirates). If the turnaround starts to bloom, there is a chance you could get Riggleman'ed as management begins eyeing the trendier hot managers.

Johnny Callison said...

Manager-wise, I think a veteran manager is a great idea. If Showalter was managing this club, I think they'd be in the thick of it. And the nonsense on the bases would be nipped in the bud. The BP would be better managed. Gio would get pulled even when he wanted to stay in past his sell date.

But the problem is the Lerners seem to realize every so often that a veteran manager is a good idea and they cough up a two-year contract, grudgingly, then become annoyed when that manager feels entitled to input beyond the dugout. I think Showalter would be perfect for these guys, but the Lerners wouldn't meet his salary demands and Rizzo might not want to work with a manager as an equal.

Only one neophyte manager has had any success with the Nats--MW year one. The real successes have all been crusty vets like F Robby, Davey J, and Dusty. And those guys don't put up with nonsense from players or owners. But man, would I LOVE one of those guys.

I actually think Riggleman might have done okay if they'd kept him all those years ago. He seems like a manager. Davey M doesn't. In this situation, Earl Weaver would have lit a fire under his team or been out there on the field getting ejected (Dusty would have, too). I don't think getting along with Bryce should be the measuring stick, although that seems to be important to Riz and the Lerners.

Johnny Callison said...

As for Max D's optimism: I wish I could share it, but I'm done. The A's are a great story who sort of found themselves as the season went along. The Nats have not. I get that it's not just Davey Martinez, but he IS part of the problem. Rizzo's planning and trade deadline strategy is also part of it. The Lerners not quite being willing to go "all-in" during Bryce's walk year is part of it. And injuries are part of it (but picking up an Arrieta in the off-season would have helped that), a lot of it. It's a bunch of things, but when folks say it's on the players and only the players, I disagree. Martinez probably needs to go. Rizzo flunked the trade deadline. I think we'll hear a lot of stuff in the media about the real clubhouse and other problems after the Nats are eliminated.

Ole PBN said...

Here's a different way of looking at it. At the time of the Kintzler trade and letting Kelley go, was anyone confident that this team was capable of an ALCS or WS run? They've been tetering on .500 for most of the season as have largely remained 4+ games back of a leader we didn't see coming. Funny how the conversation was always about whether PHI or ATL were "for real" and not about whether we were smoke and mirrors (injuries I know, but the record speaks for itself, no what-ifs). While we're debating at how "real" PHI and ATL's record is, we're ignore the fact that we're 11-15 against them. That is good beating bad. And yes, Difo is bad because he is was our starting 2B for most of the year. Cole/JRod/Milone/etc is bad, and its what we played instead of quality arm.This team just didn't have it from the start. Injuries, star players not performing, the rotation, the bullpen, the manager, you name it. We did walkthrough celebrations of game-winning hits/homers in spring training. We have three walk-off wins, tied for 26th in the league. We've been shutout 11 times this year, more than any other team aside from DET. How was anyone confident?

So no, I wasn't mad about Kintzler or Kelley. Only interested in the return. I was for trading Bryce as well - if the return was good enough. This season is only for two things: watching Juan Soto and Max Scherzer doing amazing things. Thats it. So lets look at next year. I'm excited about the new faces and hopefully changed culture that might bring. A new wave of talent.

And about Rizzo. Enough with this wavering faith in one of the best GM's in the game. The guy is hamstrung by ownership. All this "the window is closing" garbage. Yeah the window with Bryce maybe. But a new window of Rendon, Turner, Kieboom, Soto, Robles, Eaton is opening. No reason to be pessimistic about 2019 and that is due entirely to Rizzo. The two trades I hear criticism for constantly is Vazquez (Rivero) for Melancon and Treinen/Luzardo for Doolittle/Madson. Both of those are the "all-in" maneuvers that fans say he should be making. Got us nothing. Meanwhile, we lost Souza only to get Turner and Ross in return. Lost Giolito/Lopez/Dunning for Eaton. A mediocre pitcher (McKenzie Mills) for Howie Kendrick. And so far, I like the return on Kintzler btw. Great cheap signings like Albers, Belisle, Lind, Adams, Reynolds, Hellickson, and the list goes on. For those who don't agree or think Rizzo is losing his touch, just remember who assembles a team worthy of even commenting on this blog about.

Ole PBN said...

One more thing about "all-in"... we went ALL-IN on our rotation in 2015. Scherzer, Stras, ZNN, Gio, Ross/Fister. A rotation for the ages. And we didn't even make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Max David said...
"I’m still keeping the faith"

How will this turnaround occur? Gio bombs 50% of the time. Hellickson can't get out of the sixth inning. Roark has had three consecutive stellar performances, but before that he was awful. Milone is below average.

The bullpen is in shambles. Doolittle is out. Kintzler and Kelley are gone. Madson and Herrera weren't doing great before they joined the DL.

I can't construct a scenario that would provide for a massive win streak giving the current state of the Nationals pitching. Getting Stras and Doolittle back will help, but thats not any where near sufficient.

Max David said...

After Gio imploded yesterday, the bullpen was good. Small sample size yes, but kept the Cards at bay and let the offense chip away. Of course they didn’t win and that’s what anyone cares about, but the fact they had the tying runs up in the 8th AND 9th innings after being down 0-5 and 1-6 and they fought back gives me at least some opptomism and really that’s all you can ask for. Lose tonight?? OK maybe time to throw in the towel, but IMO they have 9 innings to turn things around. 1 game at a time, 9 innings at a time, 1 series at a time!

Singing Fat Lady said...

^^ How far can ya throw that towel?

JE34 said...

And, another random lefty up from the minors looks like Cy Young... as the Nats go meekly into the night.

Anonymous said...

No collective buy in. A group of talented individuals out playing for themselves, regardless of their personalities. Maybe that’s the managers fault? Maybe that’s just the culture the preceded him?

JE34 said...

Judging from the twitters... I think Harper will be giving us his "Called" post here shortly, maybe?

Mr. T said...

Cherry on top: Wilson Ramos yesterday, 3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI, 2 doubles, a triple, sac fly, and throws out a runner at second.

Meanwhile Weiters' ground balls are finally sneaking through, now that the games don't matter.

blovy8 said...

This is the classic modern problem of being decent but not great in the wildcard era. By the time you can be sure you won't put it together in time, it's too late to get anything good in a trade. Eight starts of 2018 Gio will get you about a high-A starter with control issues and no reliable offspeed pitch. The offense Murphy brings is offset by his defense. Is he gonna bring back more than say, Justin Bour or the Buffalo did in value? Rizzo is maybe a good enough GM to get something, but it's going to be a diamond in the rough while what we see will be rough on the diamond. I think the pretense of "competing" and advertising Harper is probably worth more to the Lerners than a couple of 28th rated in their systems prospects.

They can't even really tank their way to a better draft pick, since Toronto is about the only team that could catch them. There are only 11 teams with a worse record right now.

ocw5000 said...

Yeah guys we need an experienced manager like (checks notes) Gabe Kapler.

Having said that, if you're gonna go cheap with a first-time MLB manager, at least get someone with minor league managing experience like Snitker and Lovullo

G. said...

May be 2 little 2 late.