Nationals Baseball: The perfect 85 win team

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The perfect 85 win team

Still on vacation but wanted to note that beating PHI and SF is what you should do. PHI is bad. SF is worse. On one hand that's good. You need to beat these teams. On the other hand doing this without beating actual good teams serves to put you in your place. 

The Nats can't beat playoff teams. 4-18 vs Braves, Dodgers, and Cardinals. They did go 4-3 vs the Reds (real early in the season) and stand at 2-1 vs the Dbacks so far but all the other non-losing records are vs losing teams. 

The Nats are seemingly noticeably better than the bad but noticeably worse than the good. That sets them up to finish exactly where they feel most likely to, a few games out of the playoffs. It's something to take account into planning for next year. It's not just about getting better its about enough getting better than the good teams to make a difference 


Nattydread said...

How did the Dodgers get so good (18 games above .500)? The Nats were even with them over the first three months of the season?

Anonymous said...

Every game with those contenders were super close games that didnt go our way. We faced the Dodgers 6 times and got Kershaw twice, Greinke twice, and Nolasco once (Braves played the Dodgers 7 times and missed Kershaw and only got Greinke once). I think all three games with the Cardinals were one run games. Plus the Braves games were torture, all winable games. Just not our year.

nicoxen said...


Agree that they need to find the right puzzle pieces to get better next year, but shouldn't we question what they failed to do this year.

The lineup was very porous last year. Hitters like Werth and Zimmerman and Harper got hot in the second half and carried the team, but that could not be counted this season with Zimm and Werth's injury history and Harper's youth. They should not have expected Laroche, Suzuki, Lombardozzi,and Bernadina to have near career years in 2013.

Also, not insisting the Espinosa have off-season surgery really held back the team. If Espinosa starts the season on the DL, he remains a respectable trade prospect. It would have also allowed Rizzo to shop for a 2nd baseman or let Rendon win the job in Spring training. Instead we got 50 games of swings and misses.

The sad thing is that this offseason will be used addressing the same problems as last offseason:

What to do about Laroche and 1B?
Is Espinosa our 2B?
Finding a leadoff hitter.
Finding a fifth starter.
Adding a power bat (the most overlooked and neglected issue in the lineup).

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Bird said...

Strange year in the National League. The teams have either very good records (Braves, Pirates, Dodgers, Cards, Reds), or the teams are well below .500. Aside from the DBacks (and maybe the Nats), there really aren't any middling teams.

How many wins did the Cards have last year when they qualified for the playoffs??

Chas R said...

I think it's more about inconsistency than just not being able to beat good teams. We have beat good teams this year, just not consistently. The pitching has been good, not as dominating as last year but good. I think lack of consistent offense has been the big contributor to the inconsistent season. I suppose there are lots of reasons for the- Espi, hideous bench performance, Harper's injuries, Span's under-performance, etc, etc...

I hate to get back on my poor RISP hitting soapbox (especially since Harper and others have proved me wrong), but last night the Nats hit .300, but .153 with RISP. No consistency.

cass said...


They went on the greatest stretch of winning almost every single game since the 1950s.

Was going to link you to an article about it, but I'm not sure where I read it. Probably either Fangraphs or Hardball Times.

Unknown said...

i watch these games and I do believe that once Davey retires and hopefully we get a manager who is willing to get these guys focused. I think he allows Harper to pretty much do what he wants not to say he doesnt make pretty good decisions and he by all means is trying to do his best but I think he may be trying to do to much for a 20yr old. Werth on the other hand is out of this world right now. I only hope his hitting will be as contagous as the strikeouts and poor hitting has been. That being said we have won 4 in a row and gained a 1/2 game on the Braves and in the wildcard i do believe. However at least they are showing a little heart and that means a lot to me as a fan. have a great day gentleman I truly enjoy ready all of the post on here.

Froggy said...

Personally, I thought I had seen the writing on the wall with the away San Diego series and predicted (hoped for) 85 wins back then. If things didn't change.

They haven't.

Nicoxen has identified the gaps that President and all-mighty Rizzo has done a miserable job of shoring up. I think he basically wrote off the season by gambling that we would get hot in July. We got hot enough for him to get a contract extension and then promptly lost 6 games in a row. Only thing missing is a rodeo clown with the Rizzo mask on and a broom handle stuck up his butt.

Good news is, if Ro-ark, Jordan and Ohlendorf play well the remainder of the season, they might help as trade bait to land a power hitter.

BTW, going to the game tonight to root for my Nats.

Chas R said...

Totally agree with nicoxen, seems like we are in the same place as last year. Regardless of what happens, I will still be a Nats fan and still go to games until the end of the season.

Hey, what about that Abreu kid? I heard Rizzo talking a little about him on 106.7 today. He's a big power hitting 1B.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gang-Zendo here
Yeah, Cass-me too...i can't remember where i read it, either.Mebbe Sweetspot on ESPN or StrikeZone?I read way too many sites!(I DO remember what is written on THIS one, though- as well as where i read it!)
BTW-to tout another Nats article, Posnanski on NBC has an OK piece on "What went Wrong".Not too bad for an outsider. Sorry,i don't know how to "link" to stuff.
Another good piece is up at Grantland, by Keri.It's on Miggy....remember when the Tigers had to give up...Maybin?Miller? to get him(along with Dontrelle)?I know this is a Nats space, but one can dream, eh?Especially since the advanced metrics say he is a BETTER fielder than our dear FOF. That brings me NO joy, but I'm burdened by my thoughts on Ryan going forward.
I suppose i thought of Miggy because, to also 2nd nicoxen and others-WHOM do WE have (B.Harper?)to look to/for as a monster masher? Maybe it's just been the overall level of mediocre play this year, but suddenly the future does not look quite so rosy.Harpers' take on this years bunch (an OK/85-87 win team if they play to their abilities) is sorta lurking in my mental cellar. I don't wanna go DOWN there! This comes from someone who has consistently made crazily optimistic predictions for the Nats.Of course, it's easy to fall prey to the "gotta have a..." syndrome. The Giants have done OK without a lot of "stars". And we DO hope to have great pitching.
OK...i'm just musing...Great reading you all, thanks

mwyche said...

If we can finish this sweep & somehow win the series against ATL were set up very nicely to go on a run thru sept. 15 where the best team we play during that period is the royals. We may still be too late but trying to find a reason to be optimistic

blovy8 said...

This is better than 85-win talent, it just hasn't played like it.

You can't complain too much about the pitching depth, when guys like Ohlendorf and Jordan come through for you, or Krol and Abad in the bullpen.

They went out and got the extra OF in Hairston, who has stunk. I imagine there will be a big offseason move for offense. A quality OF who is better than a fourth would be nice.

Froggy said...

Last night Span was the greatest CF ever, ever!

Mattheus gives me heart attacks. I'd bet he isn't up here much longer.

Kenny B. said...

Span seems to have this way of getting your attention when he's good, but flying under the radar when he's bad. Maybe it's just a CF thing because he gets the opportunity to play good defense and make web gem plays, which are probably overrated in player evaluations. Personally, I would rather see him miss that catch last night and have decent on-base stats for the year.

At least last night Span bailed out Soriano, who seems to rarely get through a 1-2-3 ninth, but is accruing enough saves to make him a valuable bargaining chip if need be. Soriano's WHIP (1.2) is better than the league average (1.3), but I swear I always feel danger brewing when he's on the mound.

Mattheus is not right. And I saw a line from Davey that seemed to convey some consternation, namely that he doesn't seem to have a lot of reliable relievers. Something to the effect of "I can't pitch Clippard and Soriano every night." Not sure what to do, but Mattheus seems to have gone the way of the Storen and completely flamed out.

All that is to say, as far as addressing next year, I think you can expect a decent bounceback for most of the starters, but the bench and the bullpen each need a large-scale makeover. Bullpens in particular are prone to being erratic, and it might be time for a general refresh, hanging onto a few of the guys who have been more or less solid for a long time (Stammen, Clippard, etc.). You can get decent guys for not too much money.

As far as bench, I don't really know how you shop for bench guys if you don't already have the pieces you need in the system. I mean, you want your bench to be better, but you don't want overpaid guys who barely play next year if the injury bug never bites. And you have so little information upon which to base an evaluation.

Anyway, that does it for my stream of consciousness on the Nats non-starters.

Nattydread said...

"I can't pitch Clippard and Soriano every night." Amen

Booyah Suckah! said...

Was at the game last night. Watched that ball sail into the second deck, and honestly, wasn't that surprised. I've hated that Soriano deal since the moment it happened. I've never seen him go 1-2-3 in an inning. For a closer to have a 3.48 ERA is absolutely unacceptable.

Kenny B. said...

I would like this comment to serve as an homage to my prescient comment above.