Nationals Baseball: 1-1, 4 games to go

Thursday, May 19, 2016

1-1, 4 games to go

And just like that the pressure is on the Mets. They don't HAVE to win tonight, but if they don't they'll find themselves 2.5 games out with a 3 game set in DC on the near horizon. If they couldn't beat the Nats 2 out of 3 in NY, how could they expect to beat them 2 out of 3 in Washington just a few days later? Of course they pretty easily could

Last night was a good night, though it was obvious that Colon was off. The man who hasn't walked more than 30 men in a season the past four years gave 5 guys free passes last night. As much as I'd like to credit the Nats amazing patience that's probably not the truth. And so just like I can't go too much into evaluating an offense that fails to score against one of the best pitchers on a day that he's dealing, I can't do much evaluation for an offense that scores against a meh pitcher having an off day. I will say you NEED to score on such days and the Nats did so they didn't blow their shot.

Now it's Strasburg's turn versus Matt Harvey.  I'm not sure we'll hear many "Harvey's better" chants today.  He's been a mess this year. His ERA (4.93) is bad and his WHIP (1.533) shows it isn't much of an accident of timing. He's peaked at "decent" this year with more bad games than ok ones. He's walking more and striking out fewer but the real issue is he's become incredibly hittable. Supposedly it's just a mechanics thing but we'll see for ourselves tonight .

Strasburg's historically been pretty good versus the Mets and in a crucial game last year went toe to toe with the Mets' best pitcher of 2015 Jacob DeGrom before getting forced out and watching Storen serve up a gopher ball to Cespedes. He's pitching better in 2016 than he has in the past couple years and that's saying something because at worst you'd say he pitched good in those years (and that's selling his performance short IMO).  He still hasn't broken out - no Kershaw like dominance - tonight would be a good night to have that start.

Even if the Nats lost tonight it's fine. They are playing in Queens. They needed one win and they got it.

Hey Harper how are the prospects doing?

Trea Turner - finally got hot again after a nearly month log slog (.250 / .302 / .344 from April 17th through May 11th) dulled the excitement of his fast start. He's got a little 8 game hitting streak right now, though the prudent move is to keep an eye on him. The strikeouts aren't bad but he's stopped walking even while heating back up. Right now I don't think I'd move him up today but he's close. He might actually time a reasonable call-up with what service time would dictate.

Lucas Giolito - the good news - only 3 hits in 5 innings last time out! the bad news - 5 walks and only 4 Ks. He did have a couple errors behind him.  The short of it is that they are starting to stretch him out now and we have to see how he reacts to that while trying to pick up his game.

Victor Robles - He's slowed down a bit but he still hasn't gone hitless in 3 straight games yet. Unless the Nats are trying to teach him patience (he does not wallk - 1 walk in the past month) there's no reason he shouldn't be moved up soon.

Catch All of names you heard of at some point - Lopez is doing ok in AA, better recently. Cole is scuffling along in AAA. Fedde is struggling big time in High-A. Difo is trying to pull himself back up after a painfully slow start.

Other guys in upper majors - Severino holding his own at AAA which is great since he's 22. Not major league ready yet but gives you hope he will be in a year or two. Goodwin is doing ok in same place, though fading recently. In AAA you have some of the usual maybe useful relief arms but nothing exciting. Voth has probably claimed the "first up" if there is a rotation hole. He's been good, not great. In AA there isn't much to excite. De los Santos was interesting and got bumped up and has done poorly in AAA.


Anonymous said...

Rendon very queitly 10 for 28 in his last 8 games and has moved his avg up 20 some points. Had to feel good for Nat fans to see Werth have a great game, esp that drive on his 2B. Revere still sturggling but as I've said before, I'd bet my left arm he'll worries.....and just think how great it'll be to add those 2-4 and 3-5 nights (w speed on the bases, mind you) to the top of this order.

Harper worries me a bit, needs to gethis head straight, take what they give him and not try to do too much. Easy kid.

Things are lookin gup......REAAAAL good shot to send a strong message to the Mets tonight. If Stras does his thing and we can tattoo Harvey that will give the Mets plenty to think about at night. Would be nice to see the 50 yard stare in their eyes instead of ours.

GO NATS!!!!!

Fries said...

I'm so glad Dusty moved Rendon to the 6 spot. He needs to hit some with people in front of him, give him some confidence hitting against a pitcher that is paying attention to baserunners

Richard Parker said...

Wait, we totally need to dis Rendon and Werth again so they can continue proving us wrong! Werth is old and will never hit again! Tony is never going to recover from his four injuries (two in college, one in the minors, one last year)!!

Robot said...

Argeed, Richard Parker. We all know that Werth is just a washed up caveman who got lucky last night!!!111! He'll never get another multi-hit game in his life!!11!!! Anthony Rendon?!? More like ANT-ony RendPWN'D, amirite!!!11!!! SEND THOSE LOOSERS BACK TO TEH MINERS WHERE THEY BELONG!!!1!! Neither deserve to be immortalized as lawn ornaments!!!

JC said...

There seems to be an inverse correlation between # of comments and magnitude of Nats victory on this board.

Anyways, time to step it up and take the series. Having attended 2/3 labor day weekend games last year I know that home victories are no guarantee.

Donald said...

Random question -- I heard that Matt Belisle might be getting ready to return from the DL. Sammy Solis has looked pretty good in his place though. Does Solis get sent back to AAA to make room, or did he take Belisle's spot in the pen. What would you do?

In tonight's game, I think Harper is going to take Harvey deep. Harper loves the big stage and is overdue.

ocw5000 said...

Pretty sure BRYCE is 0-for-50 with 100K vs Harvey

John C. said...

On the prospects watch, I give you Drew Ward. Highly touted as a hitter when the Nats drafted him out of high school in the third round in 2013, he had a solid start in the GCL as an 18yo but scuffled in 2014 and 2015. Despite that, he was promoted (aggressively, IMHO) to High A Potomac last year. Returning to the Carolina League this year, he has simply been wearing it out, adding power and average to an already good OBP. His 7 HRs and .988 OPS are second in the league - first in OPS, really, since the guy ahead of him has already been promoted to AA. All at the tender age of 21. Even his fielding percentage and range factor at third base have improved significantly. With Rendon at third there's no need to rush him, but with third base at Harrisburg being manned by a pair of 25yo minor league journeymen (Stephen Perez, 2012 8th round pick with 9 HRs in five seasons and whose .706 OPS is a career best; Adrian Sanchez, IFA with 21 HRs in ten seasons and a career .659 OPS) there's nothing stopping the Nats from moving him up, either.

Froggy said...

Re Colon's performance last night, all we need is another story to break today in the NY Times about Harvey having a couple of secret kids outside his marriage and we should be good.

Robot said...

Donald & ocw5000 - No way Jose!!!11!! BRYCE is just another washed-up bum. The GNATS would be better off if they traded him for an actual hobo know what I'm sayin'! GOLDEN SOMBREROS FOR EVERYONE tonight!!!! Even Bartolo's secret children could strike them out!!!

Eric said...

"Harper worries me a bit, needs to gethis head straight, take what they give him and not try to do too much. Easy kid."

I could be crazy, but I believe he took four walks last night in 5 plate appearances? Or, maybe you were being sarcastic?

SM said...

John C. - I'm with you on Drew Ward. The effect of the Nats' organizational emphasis on pitching has created a dearth of true hitting prospects in the system. Nice to see someone on the farm with offensive potential. Granted, he's only in high "A," but his dramatic progress this season has certainly warranted a promotion to Harrisburg.

One of the soothing therapies whenever the big club endures yet another existential crisis is to poke around the Nats' bushes. Just knowing that Hagerstown has a pitcher named Joan Baez who doesn't sing protest songs--or maybe he does, which is okay, too--parts the clouds hanging over, say, Jayson Werth's future. (Better still if Baez didn't walk as many batters as he strikes out.)

Victor Robles I've been following for a while. Lots of upside, obviously. But cheering for him is like cheering for Casey Stengel's Yankees: he doesn't need any help.

More fun to pick out someone with potential who has been an early disappointment (like Ward once was). My current choice is also down in the low "A" Sally-Ann league: Hagerstown's Rhett Wiseman, another one of those intriguing picks from last year's draft. He might be another Tyler Moore for all we know.

But it's a far more restful exercise than agonizing over something like Ryan Zimmerman's necrotizing fasciitis.

Harper said...

John C - I stopped before what was the logical last add "Interesting names in low minors" because I was mainly interested in guys that might impact team this year (and also Robles)

Ward is there. Andrew Stevenson (22) in High A hitting .338 / .398 / .455. Jose Marmolejos-Diaz (23) has kept up some impressive power in High A that developed all of a sudden last year in low A. Pedro Avila in Low A is an interesting starter to watch.

Jay said...

Any change of opinion on Werth now that word is out that he deferred $10 million of his payout this year back in October. That may have helped signing players or maybe helped a little with signing Strasburg. Also, Werth seems to be very comfortable hitting in front of Harper. Last night worked well with both Werth and Harper on base a lot. Rendon seems to be picking up his hitting. Now we just need Revere and Zim to get it going and bring Turner up.

Harper at some point a post about potential downstream affects of Strasburg signing would be cool. I don't think they hold on to Gio, Ross, Roark, and Giolitto for the next 3 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how the details of Werth's compensation have any impact on his age or performance. IF deferring some of his compensation makes it more likely that old Uncle Pennybags will significantly improve the team before the deadline this year, then I guess it's a good thing, but that's still just an "if" at this point. And frankly, the financial machinations continue to provide me no end of amusement, given that he's the richest owner in baseball, and is so old that he could kick the bucket at practically any time. Sometimes I wonder if Uncle Pennybags thinks he's taking his money with him to the afterlife.

As for Werth, it's great that he had a good game against the fat-assed philanderer, but it's still only one game. This isn't the first time this year that he had a good game and made some folks jump on board the "I told you so" hope train.

Robot said...

I don't think anyone is on the "I told you so" train, buddy. This train feels more like the "Well, there's one good game, let's hope he has a second tomorrow" train.

Jay said...

I'd agree with Robot on the "let's hope he has a second good game tomorrow" train. Hopefully, Werth can string together a few good weeks. When people criticize Werth, they often point out that he is not producing and he is a financial anchor. My point is just that if he deferred money then he is less of a financial anchor. My hope has always been that Werth can be productive this year. Anything they get next year in the last year of his deal is just gravy. At this point, this year is looking iffy as well. Make no mistake that Werth was a respectability signing. The Nats overpaid for him both in years and money. However, it did signal to everyone that the Nats were hoping to put the years of the "Natinals" and 100 losses behind them.

G Cracka X said...

Werth is currently fourth in OPS of the eight regular position players.

Mike K said...

Rendon is "picking it up" and "had a good game" in that his singles are falling in/getting through the infield. But he hit into such bad luck earlier in the year that I'll take it. Never know - this change in fortune might be what he needs to gain confidence and start hitting the ball harder.

Murphy scorched the ball twice last night - one in the first inning to left center that I thought, being at the game, was a sure double. The other was the great Legares catch. How like baseball that those two hits were outs and a ground ball to third off the third baseman's glove is a base hit and RBI.

Josh Higham said...

I do enjoy a little bit of trolling now and again, and I'm a little bit tempted to go find some Mets blogs and start leaving anonymous comments that say "I love Matt Harvey #LGM"

However, karma would be sure to destroy me and the Nats on that one, so I won't. I just wanted some of our own anonymous pals to know.

Rob said...

I just love sticking it to the LOLMets. I never go to other teams sites and troll. Just seems like an immature thing to do, plus there's the whole karma thing lol.

I do wonder what impact all those innings last year had on Harvey. Suddenly, their starting rotation doesn't seem so formidable.

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