Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie : Dead in the water

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday Quickie : Dead in the water

5 Week Status
Record: 65-66
Ground gained/lost in division last wk : +1 games to PHI, -1.5 games to ATL
Ground gained/lost in WC race last wk : -2 to STL, -0.5 SFG, -1 MIL, 0 LAD, +2 PIT, 0 COL


You may not believe it but the fates have been kind to the Nationals. The NL East and the Wild Card have remained within reach (in theory) of the Nats. Currently the East would be won with 90-91 games and the wild card with 89-90.  If you told me that at the All-Star Break I would have taken it and run away and hide. The Nats still have a "they go .500, we're the best team in the majors" chance which is one step above "need a miracle" status. But just barely as the Nats run would have to match the best runs of the year.

Of course why would you trust the Nats to pull this off? You wouldn't.  The problem is no longer the situation around the Nats but the Nats themselves. The Nats didn't do what they needed to do (Sweep the Mets) and thus kept losing ground instead of gaining it. This continues the looooooooong pattern of the Nats failing to win when needed. They had their chance. After falling behind by 7 games the Nats had an easy stretch leading into the All-Star Break and could have made a move. Instead we got this : 

Beat the Pirates? No!
Beat the Mets? No!
Beat the Braves? No!
Beat the Brewers? No!
Beat the Marlins? No!
Take both from Mets? Yes!
Beat up the Reds? Yes!
Beat the Braves? No!
Beat the Cubs? No!
Beat the Cardinals? No!
Sweep the Marlins? No!
Beat the Phillies? Yes!
Sweep the Mets? No!

3 for 13 in series goals is how you end up .500 and not in first place. 

What now? I don't know. I guess we fritter around trying to find something to talk about until we dig into the post-mortem. They'll be a Max/Soto award update at some point. And update on some traded guys.

At some point when we dig into how the season failed it's going to be about paritioning blame between injuries, luck, roster construction, competition, and whatever else. There's certainly a sense that this was a decent team undone by injuries and some bad breaks but there's also a sense that isn't all.  We got all September to talk about it though.


PotomacFan said...

No injuries or bad breaks against the Mets. The starting pitchers were excellent (no walks for Gio!!). The relief pitchers were good enough. The power line-up (okay, without Murphy) was TERRIBLE. And then on Sunday they go out, and once gain, pad their stats with 14 useless runs in the 8th and 9th innings.

blovy8 said...

They have to start losing some ground against the Pirates and Giants if they want to get a better draft pick. Apparently, starting Rodriguez isn't even enough.

NavyYardSteve said...

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a prospect-hugger. However, I'm cautiously optimistic about Jefry Rodriguez? He's been thrust into a major league role he's not very ready for, but I think he's done well for himself. In my mind he's moved past Fedde on the depth chart. I guess we'll eventually get around to talking about 2019 roster construction eventually, but I don't think I'd be upset if he's the #6-7 starter next year who eventually gets called up when Stras goes on his annual DL trip.

G Cracka X said...

The Mets series was a microcosm of the season. They outscored their opponent 15-6, yet lost two out of three and suffered a weird injury to a key player.

Kevin Rusch said...

I'm with NavyYardSteve on this. I guess we should see how he does against decent teams, not just the Mets. But it's good to know he's there.

I'm wondering if the launch-angle approach only helps against bad pitching. Maybe it's an old-school thing, but grinding out at-bats to get on base and/or get a hit might be something the Nats need to focus on.

W. Patterson said...

@Kevin Rusch - I think the launch-angle approach works only if you've the guns to get the ball out anyway. Otherwise, you got a boatload of sky-high outs with plenty of time for the OF to motor over to catch the ball.

Kevin Long might be looking for a new home.

Kevin Rusch said...

"Kevin Long might be looking for a new home."
Maybe. I'm not sure that firing him is necessary (I'm getting worried about excessive turnover at coaching positions, and I really regret letting Mike Maddux go) but I do think that his approach is not working.

Nattydread said...

When the team has checked out as much as this team has, in one way or another, it has to be laid at the feet if the manager. Sure, its an intangible. But he is supposed to get the most out of the team and Davey is simply not doing it.

It is also the curse of Dusty Baker. Bad Karma all the way around.

JE34 said...

Interesting read about the Oakland A's surge, and the numbers behind it.