Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Gauntlet continues!

Monday, August 02, 2021

Monday Quickie - Gauntlet continues!

Choose the Valkyrie.  

July is over.  The Nats went a disgusting 8-18 during that month pretty much sealing their fate. I say "pretty much" because the Mets only went 14-13 (and are only 29-28 since the end of May), and the Phillies only went 14-12 (and haven't been more than 2 games over .500 since May 7th), and the Braves only went 14-12 (and haven't been over .500 this year*)

With no one having a good month, and really there being only two good months in the NL East in total (The Mets' May and the Nats' June) the Nats theoretically still have a shot. Yes, we have 100 games saying "no, they don't have a shot in reality" but we don't play games in reality... or something like that. The team is also much worse, and the other squads slightly better, and at some point we are almost certain to see a 2-10 stretch ending this charade, but who doesn't love charades! We have reached the gauntlet part 1 with a chance so why not have some fun while watching some young guys play? 

What I said earlier holds though. The Nats can't lose any more series. The sweep by the Os means they need to overperform twice going forward. The hold vs the Phillies and win vs the Cubs get them nothing. That's what they need to do.  Another 4 at home vs Philly, 3 at Atlanta, 3 at the Mets, and 3 home vs Atlanta. 2-2, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1 = 8-5 at a minimum. If they don't hit that they screwed up somewhere. Too hard? That's exactly the record the Pirates have in their last 13 games against the NL East.  If they can do it so can these Nats! 


Ranger Suarez vs Josiah Gray 

Hey! Something interesting! Gray starts for the third time this year. In his first game he gave up three bombs - but all solo. Second time only 1 homer, but 4 walks. Expect him to go no more than 5 but maybe he could be good. Anyway you should watch because this is a guy they want as the 3-5 for the next 5 years. Suarez was a workman like starter in the minors (kept guys off the base and didn't give up homers, but didn't K anyone) but that doesn't usually play in the majors so they made him a reliever and he's done pretty well not looking to last 6+ anymore. He should be pretty good but only be in for 3-4 as they stretch him out as much as possible for the stretch run.

we'll say Wheeler vs Corbin

Corbin pitched like crap all July. Maybe June will be better.  When he manages not to give up homers, he walks too many and gives up too many hits.  The Phillies rotation is not set but it will almost certainly be Anderson, Nola, and Wheeler in some combination. I slotted Wheeler and Nola in their normal spots. Wheeler bounces between ace and old Wheeler. You have to hit him to beat him as he has pretty good control and keeps the ball in the park. If he's on - he'll strike guys out and is an ace. If he's not - he won't but he can still do fine.

and stick Anderson here vs Espino  

I can only say it so many times, Espino does what you need him to. As long as you are happy being in a game after 4-5 then you can't complain. Against a better line-up like the Phillies it's probably more like 3 runs in 4 innings but there are a lot worse things that can happen. Anderson is just a guy. He's not the worst and at his peak he could luck into entire good seasons but he just kind of puts it out there. He'll walk a couple, give up a homer, give up some hits. Still I'd rather have him as filler than Moore or Velasquez

probably Nola vs Ross

In his last 7 games Ross has given up zero runs three times.  He's thrown to over a 5.50 ERA in the other 4 games. He's a GB guy with OK stuff who messes up a fair amount of times and if the other team doesn't miss it or get unlucky he gets hit. That's who he is. Phillies need Nola to be that "near Cy Young" ace he has been in the past - great control, with swing and miss stuff who is homer control from being unbeatable.  He's been looking more like that recently after a late June, early July stumble 

You'd probably give the Phillies the edge in G2 & G4 so a win today would go a long way.  Let's keep going as we have all off-season to talk about not winning 

* The Braves have been 4-4, 12-12, 17-17, 24-24, 29-29, and 44-44. They are 0-6 in the following games.


Nattydread said...

And they have nothing to lose...

With the short-timers gone, we can now see what that we really have. It not likely to be pretty, and any positive results will be unexpected.

Anybody have the time to calculate the average age of the roster now? I read that, even in 2019, the Nats had the oldest roster. We must be in the middle or lower now.

elchupinazo said...

@Nattydread we are right in the middle at 28.4 or 28.5 (my math vs ESPN's rankings).

I, for one, am loving this current period of Nats baseball. It was fun to watch two firesale teams scramble to field AAAA lineups. I likely won't be pretty watching them against real teams, but knowing that nothing matters anymore this season I can watch looking for bright spots without the 'ol balloon knot tightening. It's just fun! I can also not watch if I don't feel like it! Maybe my tune will change after the Olympics, when the Nats are the only sports option and things look uglier.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Gray in a Nats uni. I watched his debut against the Giants when he got "lit up" a bit for those solo shots, but his stuff definitely plays. He has a HEAVY fastball in the mid to upper 90s, and the Estrada homer was off a good pitch up above the zone, he just got unlucky. The Wade and Yaz homers were middle-middle so he definitely has some room to improve with placement, but I think his ceiling is more of a #2 than a #3.

Other than that, let's get Garcia and Kieboom some reps that don't matter for the team standings and see how they perform. I'm still high on Gracia, and Kieboom's batted ball profile isn't that bad so hopefully he can start to make more frequent contact and get some XBHs.

Anonymous said...

Just a question out of curiosity. I know with the majority of the veterans gone that Rizzo & Martinez are trying to get the young guys some time to gauge talent, but why not keep playing Escobar and see what he can do? He had seemed to be playing pretty well before the house cleaning and if he turns out to be a good option, he could likely be signed for a bargain price. He also has availability at multiple positions and could be a veteran influence in the clubhouse. Garcia's average is bad and not everyone from the farm clubs is going to make the team.

DezoPenguin said...

Per Mark Zuckerman on Twitter, Escobar is day-to-day with wrist swelling resulting from that HBP the other day; that's why we've been seeing Sanchez (who otherwise I think would be sitting b/c nobody considers him more than org depth/a AAAA guy).

PotomacFan said...

2021 must have set a record for number of players injured on the Nationals -- and maybe other teams as well.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me why Davy continues to put Suero in? He loses the game every time. Please help me understand.

Jon Quimby said...

Suero has been good in the past. They need to figure out if he can be good again or if it's a lost cause. He's likely to pitch a good bit this season so that determination can be made. So far, it's not looking good for his future, but I'd hate to give up on the guy who was once on track to be a big part of the bullpen.

Who would you pitch instead? The guys who I think should be getting opportunities are already in the bullpen and will get plenty of chances this season. The starters we are running out there currently aren't likely to go past the 5th in most cases so our relievers are going to get plenty of work.

Anonymous said...

Agree with JQ. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a reliever come in and give up a hard-earned lead at the end of the game by walking people, throwing wild pitches and laying meatballs in there. But we have no sure things anymore in our pen and we need to use this time to see what we do have, no matter how frustrating.

My concern is this. I really don't trust Davy's judgment on talent at all. I think he's a bad game manager as a result. And I worry that this extended "try 'em out" period will mask all of that and we'll end up keeping him around, when instead we should be evaluating him too. Other than the lightning in a bottle that was second half of 2019 the team has underperformed massively since his arrival.

I vote new manager for a new team in 2022.

Ollie said...

No way. Davey’s not perfect but he’s an above average manager with a World Series under his belt already. He’s had quick hooks, maybe too quick in some instances, for virtually everyone not named Scherzer or Strasburg. If he takes the ‘try ‘em out’ approach to the rest of this season they’ll have young players with experience to work themselves out of slumps or jams. That’s going to be more valuable than an extra couple wins at the end of the season.

Speaking of: didn’t see the game, seems like Gray looked promising but not overwhelmingly so, possibly because he’s coming back from an injury?

Ryan said...

Well, their pen is terrible and Finnegan has been used a ton lately. They have to see if any of these guys can pitch. Suero had been decent before this year, but he looks really bad now. Expect lots of losses, their top bullpen arms to start the year are either gone via trade, injured or just regressed to being unusable bullpen pieces.

Gray looked solid, lots of week fly balls, but got a little lucky on that Harper opposite field shot. I like that he attacked the zone consistently. If the Nats can help him along, he could be a really nice addition.

I'm so happy for Carter Kieboom finally having a nice game at the plate. That homer was absolutely rocked. I want to see him and Garcia play a ton, let them learn and develop.

PotomacFan said...

Gray looked good. A lot of weak contact. Good control. And he looked a lot better than Lucas Giolito did in his first start with the Nats, where Giolito missed no bats.

Anonymous said...

Gray looked pretty good. Efficient. Lots of strikes. Lots of weak contact. Bryce's fly-out and the HR were the only two well hit balls I can think of.

He did get a little loose with his control in the 4th and the 5th. Only 2 walks, but he also had some waste pitches in favorable counts that were no where near the zone. And it was a stark contrast to his command in the first three innings. Hopefully that's an endurance thing that he can work on and improve.

All in all, very solid. Great fastball. Able to throw breaking balls in the zone. He's a 2 if he can pitch like that for 7 innings consistently, and he is already a pitcher any team would be happy to run out there as a 4/5. (Necessary caveat to note that it is just one start, so there are some pretty wide error bars.)

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