Nationals Baseball: This time it counts!

Monday, May 21, 2012

This time it counts!

Losing the series at home to the O's was not what anyone wanted. But it's also not that big a deal.  Losing games to your inter-league opponent is like losing games to the dregs of your own league. These losses only hurt you in one way, since they aren't helping a team fighting for your playoff spot. The Orioles (and Yanks, Sox, & Rays) are the Padres or Cubs for all the Nats care. 

Now though, things change. Any loss here is a game picked up by a direct competitor. Lose here and you are definitely losing ground.  Up first are the Phillies, who squeaked back over .500 only to get knocked around by the Red Sox the last two games.  They are at .500 right now, 3.5 games back of the Nats. The Nats don't get as lucky as last time, this time it's Kendrick, Halladay, and Hamels. Given the Phillies offensive woes, though, this is the series to win on the road.

Two goals - (1) stay close to the Braves (1.5 games up) so the weekend series (where they likely catch both Delgado and Minor) can get them back to first (2) stay up in the WC (2.0 up on the Marlins/Mets). 

Notes -
  • The Nats have found some power.  They've hit 21 homers in the past 13 games, after hitting only 18 in their first 28. 
  • Morse wants to come back a week earlier than currently scheduled.  I wouldn't expect it (the Nats would be smart to work him in slowly as only a DH - they can't afford to lose him for any more time this year) but they do desperately need his bat. That last OF spot is killing the Nats. In their last 43 at bats Bernadina/Nady/Ankiel /Moore have a total of 5 hits. Whatever you think of Morse - he's better than that.
  • Detwiler has not looked good the last couple times out and hasn't been great since start #3. He's given the Nats every excuse to switch him out with Wang. One more bad start and he could be done.  Worse yet for Detwiler he misses the Phillies B-team offense and catches the Braves.
  • Despite a bump or two, the bullpen still very very good.  Even Drew Storen's professional seat warmer Ryan Perry looked ok.


DCNatty said...

Im looking forward to them plunking Hammels. Need to ramp this up even more.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

I would have bet anything on Friday, that the NATS take two from the birds. Good Edwin shows up but the NATS can't score 2. Detwiler gets awarded the 5th slot and goes out for a so-so to lousy start the last 2 run homer is the killer. Sunday the real NATS and O's show up (who knew Stras has power?)but the damage is done. This road trip will tell the tale.

Well, all that was promised by this team was good baseball for the first time since '05.

By the way, I drank some kool-aid after Sunday's game and bought tickets for the Saturdy re-run in Camden Yards. Will rock the red there and root for the second win of a sweep.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Natty, the hp Ump will warn both benches before Hammels thows a pitch. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Game 1 loss is 100% on Johnson mismanaging the last few innings of the game. Should have been a win.

Donald said...

On Wednesday when Hamels is pitching, the Nats should start HRod and have him drill the first batter he faces, drawing an ejection. EJax can then come in and pitch as he would. Hamels would have almost no choice but to retaliate after all of his old-school tough-guy talk and would get the boot too.

blovy8 said...

Hitting batters is a BS way to settle things. Why put a mare on base at all?

Kenny B. said...

I was disappointed by the record against the O's, but we're still only a game and a half behind the Braves, and we're still in the wild card lead. If you would have offered me that before the season started, I wouldn't think twice about taking it.

I've also noticed the uptick in power lately. It's a nice change of pace. If the pitchers can get back to early season form for a few games while the power continues a surge, we might survive this NL East road stretch in good standing. It would be great to see the bats and the arms get hot at the same time.

Shane said...

The hitting and the pitching are showing up at the same time. When the pitching is great, we don't need to waste the hitting with 8 runs! We have to find a way to bank those hits until the pitching gives up a lot of runs.

Anonymous said...

Im not gonna say how good I think this team could be if they were healthy, but in all honesty it would be a VERY balanced team that would be a handful in the NL. You add Morse, Werth, and Ramos to the lineup, Storen, Lidge, Kimball, and Gonzalez to the bullpen, with Derosa and Leon back to the bench, it would be very interesting. We have lost 3 games this year after having the lead after 8 and 2/3 innings and lost 8 games overall by one run. I wish we were healthy.

Anonymous said...

"Kimball and Gonzalez to the bullpen"

What? Gonzalez's career is over. Gorzo and Burnett are better and we don't need another lefty anyway. And Kimball is nothing more than H-Rod lite, so I don't see how he would be an improvement in the pen.

Donald said...

Just thought I'd mention that in the comments to your May 11 post, I recommended using Burnett in the closer role more. An anonymous responder said how wrong I was because closers had to be strikeout pitchers. Beside the fact that he has 15 K's in 12.2 innings, I think he really may be the best option at the moment.

Harper said...

DC Natty - I'll bet against that

Sec 204 - Don't kind yourself. Those were the real Nats and O's FRI and SAT, too.

Anon - it'll happen, history favors davey as a good manager.

Donald - Do that and you're begging the league to come in a do something stupid like suspend Davey for 20 games.

blovy8 - that's what men do! Arrr! Grrr!

Kenny B - You'll see it sometime I'm sure. This team has another 14-4 esque streak in them.

Shane - good luck banking those hits.

Anon - It would have been nice to follow up the lucky start with the team at full strength instead of this squad that's about a .500 team, but hopefully we'll see the whole thing come together right when it's needed.

Don't forget though the Nats have won 11 1-run games and I'm sure their share of 9th inning comebacks.

Anons - Agree with 2nd Anon about the pen. Gonzalez is just insurance. No plans/need to call him up anytime soon. Kimball could replace H-Rod but right now it's a wash.

Donald - not a bad idea, though personally I'm still hoping for "whoever is best for this exact moment"

Shane said...

H-Rod hates the fans. That's the only thing I can think. On MLB radio this AM they debated whether or not he needed to throw anything off speed with 100 mph on his fast ball. Just slow down the fast ball to 90. I worry when I see #63 warming up.

Anonymous said...

History shows Johnson as a good manager. In the 80's. Different game now, sorry. He manages like it's still the 80's, it's not.

He needs to take some notes from LaRussa and change with the times.