Nationals Baseball: Tuesday's Quickie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Quickie

Long Road Update:

Early Games : Goal 19-16 Actual 12-22

Current Stretch : Goal 2-1 Actual 0-1

There's no way around it. The Nats really blew it. They managed to hold onto a decent record for a good 20+ games or so in this "long road", but in a stretch of games against the bottom half of the NL and AL they managed to barely eek out a couple of wins. 8-5 was the goal for Pirates, Mets, Orioles, Brewers and Padres, 3-9 ended up being the reality (rainout vs the Pirates lost a game). If not for the horrific Astros and the "What the hell is going on there" Twins, the Nats would be fighting for last place overall as well. Who knows, maybe if we give them enough time they'll crash harder.

This shouldn't be a surprise though. The team was relying on Zimmerman, Werth, and LaRoche to provide the core of the offense. Zimmerman has been out over a month, LaRoche might as well have been. Without offense the team is going to have a hard time winning regardless of how well the pitching staff is doing. There's little to do right now other than throw up your hands and take whatever happens between now and Zimm's return. No team can afford to lose a star bat.

This crash is reminiscent of last year, but there is a clear distinction. Last year the team was near .500 and had a star coming in with Strasburg. This year's team has been hanging on by it's fingernails while the ledge falls apart. Last year, oddly enough, there was real hope that they could go on a decent run. This year it was more of a pipe dream. How long could the Nats last without Zimmerman? Can they make one last push to stay relevant until he gets back?

About 20 games and no. Those are the answers we have now. Focus on Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, and ZNN. Don't worry about wins and losses until Zimmerman returns.

LinkOther Notes:
Maya was roughed up in his first outing of 2011. If you're an optimist, then he faltered because of a combination of weather, nerves, and a high pitch count outing in his last minor league game. If you're a pessimist, then the weak-hitting Padres solved him the second time through the line-up. (The realist has no opinion - it's one game)

As bad as Bernadina has been in the past week, Ankiel has been worse. Coming back from injury or not, he should be doing nothing more than providing the random night off to Roger.

For all the complaints about Riggleman, at least he is not overworking the bullpen. It's strange as someone who follows the Nats to look at an "Appearances" leaderboard and see the top Nat listed as tied for 14th.


Bryan said...

As an out of towner with other things to do, I don't watch the games unless, like this week, they are in Philly. I follow through blogs and box scores. But did I see Ankiel leading off the other day? Leading off!? I hope that was an error or I misread something.

I'm not one who thinks managers make a big impact, but if Ankiel was leading off, that is about the strangest decision I've ever seen in baseball.

test said...

Is it time to officially consider Zimmerman injury prone? And if so, should we start taking him off the pedestal we've placed him on because we can't count on him for a full season?

Harper said...

Bryan - Was he playing CF? Because if he was playing CF he leads off. THAT'S WHAT CFs DO!

cks - I'd give it one more major injury or a couple 20+ game missing seasons in the next few years. I kind of doubt this is wholly unrelated to the injury at the end of last year.

DSK said...

At the beginning of the season, I said this year was about Desmond, Espinosa, and Zimmerman. Subsequently, you said much the same thing, but substituting Ramos for Desmond. Now you have split the difference and that is fair. However, I think that the upward trend in wins and losses will not begin to be significant at least until Strasburg returns and possibly until Harper(the other one) makes his appearance. (I think that if wins and losses was important to the Nats this year, they would have kept Willingham.) Meanwhile, they are mostly re-arranging deck chairs.

Mark said...

Agreed that the development of Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, and ZNN are reasons to watch and be optimistic for 2012/13. Plus Storen.

But isn't there another reason for optimism: isn't having so many one-run and two-run losses at least partially due to bad luck? If so, at some point isn't that luck bound change?

If the Nats were 11-5 in one-run games, wouldn't you (correctly) be warning everyone that the worm would turn before season's end?

Harper said...

DSK - this was the table setting year. Maybe get a few wins better while setting things up for Straburg, Bryce, and maybe a big FA pitcher in the next year or two. Unfortunately Zimm's injury makes a step back more likely than a small step foward, but I still like what next year holds.

Mark - you're right. Last time I looked at 1-run losses it was reasonable but they've packed a bunch in the past week haven't they? 5-12 now... 7-10 would probably be the even luck record. They should start to see that even out.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Espinosa is coming on!! Marquis has 6 (6!!) wins, and we put a big whupping on Halliday and Lee, winning 1 (should have been could a been...2). I stand by 79 wins.