Nationals Baseball: It's Over

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

It's Over

Pop the champagne! Pull up the banners! Print out the T-Shirts! Re-dust that spot on the mantle and put out the trophy!  (They get a trophy right? They should get trophies.)

The Nats are NL East Champions!*

*According to me. 

Say what you want about how this or that happened in the past. You remember that because it was unique.  The most common thing to happen with a big lead is you maintain it or expand on it. There are two other good teams in the NL East right now. One has a mental block that prevents them from succeeding, the other dug themselves such a big hole they only recently crawled past the dreck into 3rd.  If the Nats crash and go 7-20 the Braves still have to go 14-12. The NATS HAVE THIS. 

I don't have much to say about the games going on. The Cubs stink, and they rolled out a bad pitcher last night He had a 4.55 ERA in AAA this year. 4.00 ERA last year. He walks too many. He doesn't strike out that much. He gives up hits. He gives up home runs. He's here to fill a rotation spot because there is no one else to do so.  He's Mike Bacsik.  The pre-2011 Nats used to roll this guy out and hope he'd do just well enough that they'd somehow squeak out a win.  The post-2011 Nats pound guys like this. The NATS HAVE THIS.

What happens now? Stay healthy. That's about it. Keep playing hard, obviously, but stay healthy. Keep pitchers well rested. Give everyone some days off. Start thinking about getting these guys ready for that first playoff game.


calindc said...

Thanks Harper, now we're screwed.

Harper said...

Did you hear the Nats were also on the cover of Madden '13?

Harper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eatthelump said...

So long as the guys playing the games don't believe it's over, the Nats will be fine.

My problem is that I want to enjoy every game the rest of the way... meaningful baseball in September and all that. If I buy into this it's over stuff, then I am missing out on some of that.

So, are there no new blog posts until the postseason, now that the division title has been settled?

calindc said...


I think I just saw some 1985 footage of Zimmerman wearing a Skin's jersey about to get sacked by Lawrence Taylor. I didn't see the end of that film, but I'm sure he's alright.

calindc said...


Naw, we have have plenty of secondary issues to fuss over. Like: Stras' shutdown, Gio's attempt at 20 wins/Cy Young consideration, home field advantage race with the Reds, playoff roster, etc.

It's much much better than the usualal September discussions of "let's blow up the team and start over".

ags said...

We're in a dead heat with the Reds for homefield, we can't let up for a game if that matters at all.

But it feels good to breath a sigh of relief for today and soak it in. NATITUDE!

eatthelump said...

Have you seen the Nats' road record? I'm not worried about home field advantage... besides, the NL won the All Star game, so ... with some great play and a little luck, THOSE games would be in DC :)

WiredHK said...

14-13 from here gets us to 97 wins. Since that was an artificial goal I set for this team at the start of the year, I'm still hanging on the edge of every game. :) That and it's just fun to watch these guys play -- every single day.

blovy8 said...

I was one of the few at the game last night. Seeing the Cubs pitcher go out there with Scott Olsen-type stuff, I definitely felt a little playing-out-the-string Nats of the past deja vu about it as he needed Morse to forget he was slow to even get out of the first. Even EJax was clobbering his stuff. There was a brief point where the Cubs' cf just jogged after one, which made me think of many softball games on the mall, where the "ah, the hell with it" feeling takes hold of you.

I think I can finally agree that they've got the division won and nothing I say can stop that.

Luck or not, the talent is there, and even more than health, the quality of their depth has been better than expected. I think all four major bench guys are somewhat surprising in playing to their potential at once as you've posted before. The depth was always there for pitching, partially because they knew Strasburg would be on a limit, Wang would probably not be a full season sort of guy, Detwiler hadn't shown the stamina or staying power for 6-inning starts, Zimm was still kind of coming back, Gio's control was still in doubt so maybe you'd expect shorter outings, inconsistent EJ might have a few short starts, Lannan would burn through pitches to get 5/6 innings in if he were going to be used, etc. They had capable replacement-level starters in Duke and Maya to be 8/9 on the SP depth chart. It would really be hard to do better than that in AAA. If they had to use those fellows for 6-8 starts, this would be a closer race, but I believe the Nats would still be ahead.

Gorzelanny seems to be the only guy really struggling in a disturbing way, but even that wildness you can chalk up to disuse lately. Maybe Davey will have to go a little easier on Mattheus, and bring Garcia along. I have no idea how they're going to use Wang at all. Even in a blowout, I wonder if he can get anything but accidental outs at this point.

There are plenty of team goals, and a few individual ones that'll be going on, so Davey will have to juggle the priorities a bit game by game. I think he's going to have to accept Desmond and Espinosa getting pissed at him and get Lombo some work. The middle infield spots are demanding, and Desmond already has his 20 homers.

cass said...

Let's go Nats!

I can't wait to see the 2012 flag flying at Nats park.

And Divsion Champion, League Champion or Wold Champion shirts? Wow! Haven't bought one of those since I was a Braves fan in the early 90s. This is exciting!

Jeff Hayes said...

I've noticed a subtle shift in my obsession. Increasingly I have started to look for the results of Reds games before I look for the results of Braves game. I sometimes read Braves blogs for fans reactions. They have all but given up watching for the results of our games. Instead, they spend most of their time worrying about how the Giants, Cardinals, and Dodgers are doing. I'm glad to see Harper has endorsed this approach with his announcement that the Division race is (essentially) over.

calindc said...


Wang's not really a reliever-type option since he takes forever to warm up. They will probably start him in the inconsequential games at regular season's end.

Donald said...

Maybe I'm superstitious, but I'm holding off on popping the cork just yet. I'm 95% sure we'll win the division, but I don't want to jinx it. For me, it all comes down to the Braves series. If they manage to pull within 2-3 at the end of that, which would require that they sweep, all bets are off. At that point, the Braves would have all the momentum and the easier schedule.

I'm not saying that's going to happen, mind you, but I can keep the champagne on ice for another week or two. For me, the tipping point will be the first game we win in Atlanta during that series. That will ensure we drop no more than 1 game and should seal the deal. Just don't want to get swept, like we were in Philly just a week or so ago.

Mythical Monkey said...

In the bag or not, I sat through too many terrible, meaningless games from 2005 to 2011 to be blase about anything at this point. Even if we clinched the division and home field advantage tomorrow, I'd still be hanging on every pitch.

By the way, was I the only one wondering whether the Cubs would trot out Levale Spiegner at some point last night -- it was like watching the 2008 Nats in an alternate universe.

Froggy said...

Oh you have done it Harper!

I'm with @Donald, I'm superstitious. Going to Thur, Fri (Strasburg's last home game...Sniff!) and Saturday's games, then and only then will I pop the cork on anything.

And last night was ridiculous. I actually started feeling bad for the Cubbies until Soriano jacked one out.

Section 222 said...

No Lavelle Spiegner, but I could have sworn I saw Jason Simontacci lurking near the bullpen.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

I agree with everyone that seeing the Cubs last night (on TV, I go tomorow night) was like seeing the a typical NATS games the 100 + loss seasons. Nothing is truly decided until the magic number is reached. Hope was can beat the Reds for the number one seed.

JWLumley said...

Thanks Harper, you know, you could very well join Steve Bartman if this goes poorly. Not saying, just saying.

Kenny B. said...

*pinches self repeatedly*

Anonymous said...

My own like-to-see-it, if irrelevant, goal for the last 27 games of the season is that every one of the big 5 SP finishes with double digit wins and above .500. It's meaningless but another nice testimony to the performances they put in, and with JZimm at 9-8 (.529), EJax at 9-9 (.500), and Det at 9-6 (.600), it certainly seems possible.

Donald said...

So has Bryce Harper reinjected himself into the ROY discussion over the last three weeks?

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