Nationals Baseball: First Place in the Balance?

Friday, April 23, 2021

First Place in the Balance?

The NL East is a mess.  Nearly everyone thought the playoff talent here was 3 teams deep possibly 4, but the teams are struggling to get to .500, unable to both make a move on each other and show up against the other divisions at the same time.

The Phillies have been unable to get the big hits and the back of their rotation and pen have been terrible. The Braves pen can't close out anything and only Acuna and Freeman have been hitting so far. The Marlins have gotten the timely hits and some surprising pitching performances to stay in the mix, albeit from a starting point of being 5 out of 5.Then there is the Mets. Let's look at the Mets!

Offensively it's a mess. Guys who have always hit - Conforto, McNeil, Lindor - are not. Dom Smith is disappointing too and Lindor, Conforto, and Smith are guys they've been sticking in the top 2-5 spots in their line-ups. While other guys have been doing something, there's a huge sucking hole in the middle of the line-up. Plus, most of what they have done is hit singles. They have the 5th best batting average in the NL, but they haven't hit home runs (dead last in majors), or doubles (tied for last in NL) and they don't walk (13th in NL). Some of that is a function of games played (four fewer than most) but even scaling they'd be only average in doubles, below average in walks, and still close to the bottom in homers. So big innings aren't happening right now.  They've hung in thanks to strong pitching including a rotation 4 deep despite injuries and a pen that has 5 reliable arms right now.  However, when they have to go deeper it gets very bad, very fast. 

The Nats are a team that mirrors this.  They mostly hit for average with little power or patience (especially with Soto out) but aren't quite as bad as the Mets and are carried by pitching - but aren't quite as deep. I'd expect a relatively low scoring series. 

Probables! 

Fedde vs DeGrom - You know deGrom. If he's on the Nats will be lucky to scratch out a couple. Fedde had his best start of the season last game and gets an ideal struggling line-up to follow up against 

Ross vs Stroman - Stroman has been excellent this year, settling into being a Met. Another tough match-up for the Nats. Ross had his terrible start last time so we'll have an eye on him as the Nats can't afford any pitcher to go out right now.

Corbin vs Walker - Walker seems to start well and tire quickly. If the Nats can do anything to deGrom or Stroman they might put the Mets in a bind. If they don't the Mets pen could come in and hold it down.  Corbin was Dr. Jeckyll last time. Like Ross eyes will be on him to see what's real or not in 2021. 

After seemingly years of missing the Mets best pitching (that's how it felt to me) the Nats line-up against 1-2-3.  It's a series the Mets have to win. If the Nats do, it'll be a nice surprise. At the same time 1-2 against a division opponent that's reeling won't feel like good enough either, even if it's in NY.  Don't get swept.  That's the only truly bad outcome

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Work the counts, get to the bullpens, pray for decent performances from the starters and a few timely hits. Or get swept. Seems pretty simple.

G Cracka X said...

1-2 is good enough for me, given pitching matchups and venue. Hoping for better, but we’ll see

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

Yeah not the best pitching matchups at all. I'd love to see the Nats luck into a series win, but I'm not going to hold my breath

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TwoGloves said...

DeGrom, WOW just WOW. The guy is a beast right now. I know we’ve been spoiled watching Max at his best, but what Jake is doing right now is unbelievable. It’s like watching a grown up against little leaguers.

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