Nationals Baseball: Season Back On!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Season Back On!

A win! Everything is better now. Until they lose again. But then they can win again!

Escobar had a hit. Ramos had a hit. Storen looked good. Treinen looked... well he did his job. Nothing going.

The most interesting thing going on right now is the fact that the supposed best challenger to the Nats, the Marlins, got swept by the supposed door mat to the Nats, the dismantled Braves. It's just 3 games but every game does matter and if you liked the Nats to be say... 8 games better than the Marlins over 162, with a win today they'd only have to be 6 games better over 159 to do it.

Of course you're saying "that's a real long time" and you're right. That's part of the fun of baseball, this double hope thing it has every season. In the beginning of the year you have an idea of where these teams will end up and a long season should help smooth out any luck that might arise. But the long season introduces other things, mostly injuries but also surprise crashes, surprise falls, trades and call-ups, that can change the make-up of the team with 40+% of the season to go. Every team in every sport starts with hope but in baseball it lingers longer for more teams because of the number of games in front of you where things can change.

And just when the hope of "something may change" dies out because the number of games becomes too small to matter (sometime in the dog days of August) and a few non-contenders wave goodbye a new hope arises for the rest. The "maybe we just get hot" hope. At this part of the season you have a much better feel for the teams. You know how good they are, where their faults lie. You should be able to predict the finish. But now the season is short enough for luck to play a role and in no sport is the line between winners and losers as thin as it is in baseball. This hope can linger for most teams all the way to the last week. "If we can just go 7-2 and they go 2-7" That's sort of crazy but it can happen and probably did at some point in the year.

The whole thing adds up to a lot of  fun for the teams doing the catching and a lot of worrying for the teams they are trying to catch. The Nats are definitely the latter so just be ready for worry all year barring a dominant wire to wire season.

Are the Braves any good? Offensively no. They scored 2 runs twice so far and are barely above average in their stats. There is no revelation here. They just had one shot versus a pitcher totally off his game.  The pitching though - it could be this good (1, 2, 0 runs allowed). The Marlins were an average hitting team last year and should be better. That's a nice start for those arms. The back end of Stults and Cahill is weak, but Minor returning from the DL should knock whichever of these guys stinks worse off the mound.

Should the Marlins worry? Offensively I wouldn't. Slow start - but three games and Stanton, who's the key, was off. But again 3 games. I'd be very interested in Latos' next start as the Marlins are fielding a rotation that's in holding pattern for the return of Jose Fernandez. It can't really afford a crash out. The pen was also not impressive and might be an issue. Too early to be concerned but a things to keep an eye on.


Froggy said...

Seems like every year we all read too much into the first week of the season. Too much winning or losing gives us false hopes and concerns. I'm going to (try) reserve judgement until all the pieces are off the DL and playing together as a body of work before making an opinion.

That doesn't mean a current starter is off the hook for doing stupid stuff though. Unless of course you are Zimmy and learning a new position. Ryan is an athlete, a ball player and a perfectionist. I think he will be fine by the end of the season.

My concern is how the FA year effects (affects?...I always get those mixed up) the concentration and performance of Desmond and ZNN. After two games it seems it has....wait, there I go...starting to form a judgement opinion again!

Ok, I'll be quiet now.

Bjd1207 said...

Yea problem is there's nothing else to do in this time Froggy. Can we just project and judge and overanalyze till our hearts content over these next two weeks and then just go back and delete all the threads?

BooyahSuckah! said...

Unrelated, but a good read on 538 Blog to pass the time until there are enough stats built up to obsess over:

JWLumley said...

What was wrong with Treinen? I thought his stuff looked good. Got some weak contact on a groundball, a looping liner and a line drive to get a double play. Little bit of control issue, but 14 pitches to get through an inning isn't a big deal.

As for the FA stuff, meh, I think Desmond has looked like he was regressing offensively since the end of 2013. To me this is just a continuation. He'll get hot and get fed a few mistakes to feast on, but I think he'll continue to struggle against good pitching. I'm still more worried about Ramos, he's late on everything, either not seeing the ball well or--and this is my opinion--his bat is slow. This time of year, I don't even look at metrics though, it's more looking at swings and people's stuff. I thought Uggla put together better AB's last night, but Taylor is like Shawon Dunston 2.0, doesn't cheat the game by taking walks....or pitches. So of course PBN bats him leadoff. In other news, Souza took 3 walks last night. Trea Turner better be good.

JWLumley said...

Since we're giving out good reads, the illustrious Jeff Sullivan

Bjd1207 said...

And another Nats article on FanGraphs. Supports JW's claims regarding Desi from the past few threads.

And no more dropping one day's stats and offering a "point proven" comment, lol. You did it yesterday with Des/Espi and again today with Souza. One day does not an argument make

G Cracka X said...

As a Nats fan, I found it quite weird to be rooting for the Braves this past series against the Marlins (and happy that they swept 'em). Times have changed, I guess

BooyahSuckah! said...

Alright, one more. Sue me, it's a slow day at work.

Anonymous said...

Rizzo needs to think seriously around the trade deadline about dealing Desmond to an AL team who needs a DH. he is incapable of making a play anymore. I count 4 runs in 3 games that were directly his fault

Anonymous said...

make that 6 runs

Kenny B. said...

Now we've got our first Strasburg start, and our first set of runs run allowed by Strasburg after ANOTHER Desmond error. We can officially and immediately start the annual tradition of questioning Strasburg's mental toughness with not nearly enough concern about why the Nats infield (Desmond in particular) seems to take 3 months every year to remember how to baseball.

blovy8 said...

So now that we're 1-2, shouldn't you be saying how much it will take for the team to catch the Mets?

John C. said...

Wait a second - why the hell would anyone question Strasburg's mental toughness today? I was at the game today, and by my reckoning, Strasburg made one pitch he would regret - hitting Duda with a 1-2 pitch. After Granderson singled, Strasburg got David Wright to hit a tailor made double play ball that Desmond booted. Against a very tough (especially against RHP) batter, Strasburg got too fine and just nicked Duda.

Collapse coming? Well, Strasburg broke Cuddyer's bat and produced a soft floater to second that probably 90% of second baseman catch easily. Unfortunately for Strasburg and the Nats, their current second baseman is short, 35yo, and isn't athletic enough to jump much. Instead of an out, a two run single. Undeterred, Strasburg flummoxed Nat-killer Murphy into a weak squibber that barely travelled 60' under its own power. However, it was perfectly placed. Another run. Lagares pops up into the infield fly. One last BABIP disaster happens when d'Arnaud takes a mighty hack that produces a crappy floater into CF. Taylor (fooled by the swing?) gets a late break on a ball that seems to hang forever before it falls just in front of Taylor. Two more runs. Strasburg K's Flores (as he should).

Hell, even the Mets fans around me admitted that Mets were blind lucky - although they said they had it coming for having to put up with the Wilpons.

To say Strasburg (mentally or physically) was the problem today is to say that Strasburg's problem was giving up any kind of contact at all, and/or that he was responsible for not inducing the Mets to hit it to better positioned or skilled defenders.