Nationals Baseball: Nats vs the Best Team* in Baseball

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Nats vs the Best Team* in Baseball

 The Nats managed to win last night. Corbin didn't deserve it. He had no control, couldn't strike out anyone, and nearly every hit ball was a hard hit one. But baseball is the sport most about luck, where you try to do everything right and then you hope that the results match the set-up.  Last night it didn't for the Rays as all those hard hits were right at Nats. Also Finnegan failed, and Hudson failed, and Hand failed. But offensively the Nats did deserve to win, scoring a bunch of runs off of a solid pen. Zimm hit two homers, Soto hit one and scored 3 times, Schwarber was on base 3 times and had a sac fly in his time at the plate. Good times at the end even if the process wasn't that enjoyable because of the pitching.

Now the Nats take on the team with the best record in baseball the San Francisco Giants. The asterisk  in the title is because this fact is crazy. The Giants weren't expected to be this good and it wasn't a failing of the heads. This is inexplicable.  Let me try to explain though 

Buster Posey : at 34 having his best year ever which is MVP quality. 2012 is only year that compares

Evan Longoria : at 35 having his best year ever which is MVP quality. 2012 is only year that compares

Brandon Crawford : at 34 having his best year ever. No year compares.

Brandon Belt : best year since 2016

Steve Duggar : inexplicable one month of MVP type hitting from a guy who'd been below average before 

Really only back-up Wilmer Flores is disappointing, with a couple other guys underperforming in the usual ways. 

Pitching wise it's the same 

Kevin Gausman is having his best year ever by FAR. Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto are having good years after a couple years that seemed to be leading toward the end of their careers. Aaron Sanchez looks to be living up to some of the potential that had people excited about him 5 years ago in Toronto. Anthony DeSclafani is having an up year in an up and down career. 

I guess the bullpen isn't having the same amazing, everything go right, year but almost none of them are doing bad. 

What happens when almost everything goes right and almost nothing goes wrong? You get the best record in baseball and in nearly any other division you probably run away with things. But the Giants have the bad luck of being in the NL West with the Dodgers and Padres, two teams that can be almost as good without relying on magic so chances are they won't stay on top. A few guys are injured right now but they've kept on winning. 

The Nats will miss Longoria who is out after a collision, and Yastrzemski for a couple games as he can't come back until Satruday (he seems ready). They'll also miss Caleb Baragar, a decent reliever, for a couple games too (same IL - coming back thing) Otherwise you read what I wrote. Posey is a star again, Crawford is hitting like one, Belt is very good. Dickerson who was ok but hot is out however it seems like whoever they stick in there; Duggar, LaMonte Wade Jr, just picks up the magic. Wilmer Flores and maybe Donovan Solano are the easy outs. The pen, while not great, has been close to lights out recently. 


DeSclafani vs Scherzer.  MAX DAY! The Giants do homer so if Max is off that could be an issue. They don't strike out much either. It's not the best match-up for a guy who matches up well against anyone. As for Del - he is ok at everything but getting strikeouts. He's not a great pitcher but he gets ground balls usually and keeps the ball in the park. He avoids the big inning keeps the Giants in the game and then they win it with their bats. Obviously the Nats best chance 

Gausman vs Fedde (likely) - When last we saw Fedde he had pitched his best game of the year. This came after two mediocre outings which kept the Ross/Fedde "Who's more acceptably mediocre" debate alive. Who knows what we'll get. Gausman's good control has morphed into pinpoint, walking no one and not missing pitches that turn into homers (or hits for that matter) he's added enough Ks to make him into an ace so far in 2021. 

Ross vs Cueto - Ross was ok last time out, going 6 against the Phillies. That's probably the best he's gonna do. Cueto has become even more of a crafty control pitcher in his later years. But he's hittable so maybe the Nats can string together enough to make it a game

Lester vs Wood - The Giants are a walk and homer team but they get hits too so Lester won't match-up quite as well. Shouldn't be his roughest outing but I'd expect some runs. Wood maybe was a sticky stuff creation? He's been bad his last two outings with few Ks and little control. Still if his bugaboo is walks as it seems to be, the Nats are the team you want to face to get right.

The Nats survived the Rays. A split would be surviving the Giants and an acceptable .500 start to the homestand before having to actually start winning to do anything this year. Let's see if they can get 2.  Tonight is huge for that.


Cautiously Pessimistic said...

My wife is a diehard Giants fan but also a pessimist like me. She's convinced this is the weekend they will start to sh*t the bed. One can only hope, but of the players having a breakout, the only ones I could see coming back to earth are maybe Longoria and Belt. Crawford reworked his swing during the COVID pause and his 2019-2020 numbers are pretty consistent. Posey's benefiting from the year off. Most of their pitchers are control pitchers who are much less likely to fall off a cliff than flamethrowers.

On paper the Giants are a bunch of shmucks, but incredibly the types of performances we're seeing don't indicate to me that they're going to cool off any time soon.

Harper said...

I think they've been so hot for so long and that they are ultimately a .500ish team that it'll be hard for them to miss the playoffs entirely. 101 games left 50-51 puts them at 88 wins. That's gotta be close. No 2nd place NL East team is gonna get there. Can two NL Central teams do it? I don't know. Maybe if the Brewers stay healthy.

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