Nationals Baseball: Cusp-ed-ed!

Monday, June 09, 2014



There isn't another word to use to describe the Nats starting pitching right now. In the past 2 weeks, Strasburg has allowed 2 earned runs in 2 games, struck out 20 and issued 1 walk.  You could pretty easily argue he's been the WORST (Top 4) starter on the Nats during this time frame. Fister probably takes the title with his "shield your eyes" ERA of 2.77 (THE HORROR!) but he leads the starters in WHIP at 0.692.  Roark Leads in ERA (0.60), Zimmermann doesn't lead in anything but is 2nd in much of everything and has thrown one more start.

All in all here's how Roazburster has done over the past 2 weeks

 63 IP, 46 H, 6BB, 65K, 10ER

which leads to
  • 0.825 WHIP
  • 1.42 ERA
  • 9.28 K/9 ratio
  • 0.85 BB/9 ratio
  • 10.833 K/BB ratio
If that was a single pitcher they would be just a few innings from qualifying for league titles. They would lead the lead in ERA, lead in BB/9, be 2nd in WHIP (to Johnny Cueto), be 2nd in K/BB (to David Price), and 13th in K/9.  With a respectable 7 wins, you're looking at an early favorite for the Cy Young. 

The key to the complete turn around has been Zimmermann seemingly righting himself. Don't let the smiley joes tell you different, there was reason to be worried. Prior to the last 2 starts Zimm hadn't had a good start since April and had thrown up four straight bad ones. A month of bad pitching is certainly enough to raise an eyebrow. Especially since the competition was lacking and the other starters were showing that. Doug Fister had a bad start on May the 9th. The next bad one that wasn't ZNN or the injured Gio? We're still waiting on it.

Of course, now's the time for a little bit of cold water. There are 6 teams other than the Nats over .500 in the NL and they'll play four of them in the next few weeks.The Nats are at the Giants for four, then the Cards for three, after a day off and two more days off (Astros at home), they host the Braves for four, then head to Milwaukee for three.  They haven't been off for a week now so fatigue may set in right as they start this important stretch.

Rememeber last year 6-13 vs ATL, 1-5 vs LA, 0-6 vs STL. This year vs teams above .500?  1-5 vs ATL, 5-3 vs MIA, 2-1 vs LAD, 2-2 vs STL, 0-3 vs OAK, 1-2 vs Angels.  No one will truly buy into the Nats unless they can beat good teams. Now's the time to prove they can.


DezoPenguin said...

Well, we're tied for first in early June, despite getting reamed by injuries. Fister is pitching like the guy we thought we were getting when we traded for him. Roark refuses to turn into a regression pumpkin. LaRoche thinks it's two years ago. Span is on a hot streak that has rendered him average. Zim's not only picked up where he left off on the hitting, but also showed class in being willing to play a brand new position to help the team.

Unfortunately, we're probably not still going to be in first after the next two series, where we play some of the top teams in the NL (SF, of course, has the best record in baseball, and the Cardinals are the Cardinals) while our competition does not. But given the injury luck through the first two months, to be here and not 5-6 games back like we could have been makes all the difference. We have room to slip back a game or three here without ending up hopelessly buried. And hey, maybe we get a little luck, go 4-3 or 5-2, and maybe even keep pace or gain ground?

Bluntly, after everything that has gone wrong on the season so far, I'm just happy to be here.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited about this upcoming stretch. We get to see the nats square off against some quality opponents and we are really hitting on all cylinders. Had we been starting this road trip a couple weeks ago I might have been dreading, but I think we will hold our own.

Donald said...

The Giants are just as hot as the Nats right now, so it's going to be a tough series. I think anyone would be happy coming out with 2 wins. Getting one of them tonight would be great with Strasburg on the mound. As well as the Nats have been pitching, I think the only game in the series where we look over-matched is the last one with Trienen against Hudson.

Chas R said...

I have been anxiously eyeing this patch on the schedule since the season began. I knew this was going to be a bit of a gauntlet. The next 2 weeks will tell us a lot about the 2014 Nats. I'm optimistic given their new found hitting and pitching, but concerned as they have not maintained it yet for very long.

cass said...

I'm going to two Nats games in Atlanta in August, so I'm hoping the Nats can stay close to the Braves until then. Can't wait to cheer loudly for the Nats at Turner Field.

The pitching's been good and the hitting's been good. Can't ask for anything more except to do it against good opponents.

blovy8 said...

Yeah, you can't really ask for more at this point. You get a soft western trip landing in San Diego, and even with losing one, they're playing about as well as they have all year. They hit well enough there to believe SF's heavy air won't be able knock down one of Desmond's bombs at this point if a mistake pitch happens, and Zimm's start resets the bullpen. It seems to be all about fastball command with that guy. Really, the only guy who seems gets away without that element is Gio though. Unless he's in the minors.

I look forward to hearing about how we are still missing Morse after this series.

John C. said...

With the Nats on a 7-2 run that has lifted them into a first place tie, we have to look forward for dark clouds rather than back. Not to worry, we can do this!

As I noted in the last thread, on the morning of June 9 last year the Nats were 29-32 and 8 games out of first. So maybe 2014 isn't simply a replay of 2013 after all. It clearly isn't a replay of 2012. So it looks like 2014 gets another 16 weeks to write its own story.

Speaking of stories, the "the Nats can't beat the good teams" meme is really getting stretched. It's really "the Nats can't beat the Braves." The Nats are essentially .500 (10-11) against the other five teams that you list. The formula for the dominant Yankee teams of the 40's, 50's and early 60's was to split with the good teams and destroy the bad ones. Even with the lousy 1-5 versus Atlanta the Nats have battled back to tie the Braves. 61 down, 101 to go. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Bote Man said...

The Giants have been hitting on all cylinders lately so the Nats are facing them while both teams are hot. Being that the Giants will have home field advantage I'm honestly thinking it's acceptable that they come away winning a measly 1 out of the 4 games. Splitting the series is a win and anything above that is icing on an ice cream cake sitting on a chocolate volcano.

I'm less worried about the Cardinals nowadays than I might have been a couple weeks ago. Cards faithful observe that their offense has taken a vacation, even with the callup of Taveras who is a true slugger.

Even the Barves don't seem so fearsome right now. Although I think it's arrogant to think the Astros is a "break", as they have turned on the engines and have been hitting better in the last couple weeks.

Things have changed, but overall I think this won't be the hellish road trip that was envisioned only a 2 weeks ago and I'm hoping I won't have to break out the Curly L too many times.

Zimmerman11 said...

prediction... mike morse beats our sorry @sses all over san francisco... and i'll still get super happy when i hear A-HA come on during his walk-up.

Donald said...

Nice to get the first one under our belts. I hope the Nats can stay hot tonight as Fister's been great and we've been hitting lefties very well.

Still a ways off, but it's starting to look more and more likely that Zimm will have to return to 3rd when Harper comes back. Hard to see sitting Span with the way he's been playing.

Eric said...

"Still a ways off, but it's starting to look more and more likely that Zimm will have to return to 3rd when Harper comes back. Hard to see sitting Span with the way he's been playing."

Harper to 2nd! ;)

Great, great game last night. What a pleasure that was to watch.

Anyone else think Morse was plunked intentionally due to expressing negative opinions about the Stras shutdown and saying the Giants fans do Take On Me better than Nats fans did? Either way, the crickets that greeted it when he walked up in the 7th were great.