Nationals Baseball: Mission Accomplished!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

Now we can get back to normal right?  Assuming they don't happen to lose the next two or anything crazy like that.

I find it helpful to look at the season in terms of home and away sets. You do sweep and you will get swept so if you rely on individual series you are going to constantly be elated or crushed. Home stands or road trips tend to let things even out without being too long a time period to recap. They also are sensible endpoints. As far as this season has gone it has been one disappointing set after another. The Marlins / Reds start was as expected, but then things started to fall apart. A 3-3 homestand when 4-2 was expected, followed by a  2-4 road trip when at least a 4-2 was wanted. Now they are 1-3 four games into a homestand where an unassuming 4-3 would have been the bar set.

But that means they can make it up. Sweep the next 3 against the Reds and they have righted the ship so to speak.  No, they haven't caught up to where they should be but they played a homestand like a division winner would, taking more games than they lost to a couple of contenders. It's a tall order true, and we should probably have our sights set on 3-4, but the ability to hit the initial goal is still out there.

Even better is that the Nats follow up this stand with 4 games at the Braves.  In theory it should be a split at best, but if the Nats can take 3 games well then you'd be standing on May 2nd with a 16-13 record and looking up at the Braves by only 2 games. That's not bad at all and would make all this angst seem like a distant memory.

The potential is there. Not only for a turnaround but for a quick one.  They are only at .500, they play the next 7 games against their expected rivals. Go 5-2 (or better) in those 7 and the season is pretty much reset. This is why everyone says to wait. Why I personally say Memorial Day is the time to evaluate. Things are still changing radically in the course of a week.

About last night :
  • Davey changed up the lineup ending the Rendon experiment by moving Werth to clean-up where Zimm was and putting Lombo in at 2nd. The end result? Really nothing. Lombo was the only regular not to get on base at all and Werth's single was with the bags empty. The lineup performed in spite of the changes, not because of them.
  • This is why you want Danny over Lombo.  Last year Lombo had 22 XBH.  Danny has 8 already. Add to that the fielding and either Danny has to hit under .200 or Lombo has to hit over .300 to make a change worthwhile (granted that IS what they were doing - but I doubt either will keep that up for a season)
  • Another thing to think of.  Danny has been terrible right?  He's still only 11th worst among 2nd basemen in OPS. Another good night and he'd likely be 9th. 
  • On the other hand it is as bad as you think with LaRoche. He's dead last among 1B which is even scarier when you think that we said he looked good last year because the position as a whole was slipping.
  • Lost in all this? Bryce Harper is 3rd in average, 4th in OBP, 2nd in SLG, and 2nd in homeruns.  MVP? 
  • The Reds might be the tonic for the Nats.  They themselves are in a hitting slump scoring 1, 3, 10!, 5 (in 13 innings), 2, 1, and 1 runs in their last 7 games. The Nats miss Latos and Cueto is still out, so after Bailey tonight they get the thoroughly average Leake and the rookie Cingrani. 


Booyah Suckah! said...

Agree 100%. Take 3 of 4 from the Reds and 3 of 4 from the Braves and all will be right with the world. And that Cubs-Dodgers-Padres stretch in mid-May is looking like it might be a nice tonic, too.

On another note, I noticed watching the game last night that Gio and LaRoche were laughing and joking after that first ground ball out to start the top of the 1st. Gio laughs all the time, but LaRoche is like an Easter Island stone head. Maybe some of the tension finally eased and that led to a looser, breezier ball club. Maybe the Nats fans burning sage on Half Street did it. Who cares. They finally looked like they were having fun getting paid millions of dollars to play a game. And the proof was in the shellacking.

Strasburger said...

In between last season and this, in one of your posts you had hoped with me that Danny would have a desmond-esque breakout year. I still keep the faith.. kid has so much power. He is just so impatient. Also, does switch hitting really even benefit him at the end of the day?

His fielding, however, has been awesome, again.

Plus there is something to be said for the fact that he can pack that big of a lip and still hit a baseball be thrown at speeds over 90 MPH ha.

Hoo said...

Seems reasonable from a macro perspective. OTOH, from a micro-perspective, Going 5-2 means that no one else can lose but Haren. Right now, he's one of the 10 worst SPs in baseball which you can't have on a contender.

For this to be realistic, at some pt Haren has to bounce back and be something like a 4.25 ERA going forward for Nats to have a chance in his games.

Donald said...

One win doesn't make a streak yet. I need to see them play like this for the next few games before thinking they've turned any corners. Still, it was very encouraging to see Gio pitch so well. I'm looking forward to tonight's game.

Eric said...

Agreed, the loud bats need to trend before putting too much stock in em.

Still, Gio dominating is a huge step forward. I think everyone, including Gio, needed to see him do that again in 2013.

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