Nationals Baseball: Trap Series

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Trap Series

Four days from now (or five depending on how you look at it - or three if it's how my daughter choses to count days till) the Nats will start a 7 game set that will likely determine their path for the regular season. Seven games against Philly and Atlanta in DC.  Dominate (7-0) and the Nats will be back to .500 on the legitimate fringes of playoff consideration. Merely win (5-2) and the Nats will move ever closer with the easiest portion of their schedule straight ahead to put them over the top. Lose (3-4) and the Nats are now forced to hope for a "best of the season" pre WC run (like 10-1 against that easy stretch) to keep hope alive. Get dominated (1-6) and it's time to pack it in.

But that's four days from now.

In the meantime the Nats will start the homestand with 4 games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks are 6-1 in their last 7 8-3 in last 11. Like the Nats it's a stretch where the they have won convincingly and lost by a few runs.  If you look at the whole season you see a team that's better than their record (40-29 pytag, 36-33 real) who is dealing with overcoming some bad one-run luck (11-16). The Nats will catch Greinke tonight, a better performing Ray tomorrow, and likely an "all-hands on deck" bullpen game on Sunday covering for an injured starter missing a turn. This is a team that can come in here are win 3 out of 4. And if that happens shift everything I said above down. Even merely losing that stretch 3-4 in 7 would probably put an end to the Nats season.

I worry about this because I think focusing the Nats is probably Davey's biggest weakness. He aims to loosen the team but seems to distract the team.

The D-backs are simply solid.  The offense actually has scored the most runs in the NL by having only one real weakness at the plate (Nick Ahmed). They have 5 guys who will hit 20+ homers and a catcher who has similar pop. They will put it in play more than strikeout while doing this and while they don't walk alot nearly all their regular will take it if it's given to them. The relief pitching is more spotty but they got a great closer in the “Nats had him” Holland. It’s a team that can beat good teams. It certainly can beat a surging but flawed Nats team.


blovy8 said...

Certainly seems prescient. Grienke is good and Fedde is not.

Jon Quimby said...

Grienke is their #1. Fedde is our #5.

JWLumley said...

Well, need to sweep the series now or at the very least take 2 out of 3. They looked dead last night. On the upside, Rosenthal actually looked good. However, it may be too little too late.

Anonymous said...

At least the pitching match-ups line up well for us going forward in this series.

Of course I'm not looking forward to the probable Sanchez, Corbin, Fedde lineup against ATL. Maybe Corbin will have righted himself by then.

Natter said...

Harper, I think you've touched the third rail here:

>> "focusing the Nats is probably Davey's biggest weakness. He aims to loosen the team but seems to distract the team." -- Harper

Since the beginning of recorded history -- or last year, anyway -- I've been saying this same thing to my patient and forgiving wife, who will probably one day reach her limit and proceed to clobber me with a lamp.

Before this happens, I'd be interested to hear more of your take (and that of the regulars here) on the subject of focus, since we seem to have so little of it:

1. Is generating focus over the numbing course of 162 games the most important job a manager has?

2. Is it something great managers have historically been good at?

3. What specifically can a manager do to improve the focus of his players?

Many thanks. Great blog.

blovy8 said...

I wasn't there, but last night seemed like many 2008, 2009, 2010 nights where you wonder who's more responsible, the pitcher or the batters.

Anonymous said...

@Harper/Natter - Davey is not a good leader. Plain and simple. He makes an excellent bench coach because he relates to players. He's a great right hand man. But he is not a leader. That's his biggest problem and it's something that you likely can't fix/learn. That's why the team lacks focus, he doesn't know how to lead

Jon Quimby said...

Hopefully every time Scherzer mows down the opposition we blame the other team's manager and their lack of focus. Actually that would be silly.