Nationals Baseball: Last weekend before THE TEST

Friday, May 03, 2024

Last weekend before THE TEST

The Nats are a .500-ish team but as I've noted they've managed that in part by luck and part by schedule. The former is up to the baseball gods but the latter shifts like sand and there is a sandstorm coming. After facing the sort of in trouble Blue Jays the Nats have the following schedule 

  • Orioles - Great!
  • Red Sox - Surprisingly good!
  • White Sox - probably the worst team in baseball, them or the Rockies
  • Phillies - good
  • Twins - good
  • Mariners - good
  • Braves - great
  • Guardians - great
  • Mets - good
  • Braves - great
  • Tigers - maybe good, we'll see when the Nats get there


That's a LOOOONG stretch of playing teams that are good. 34 games to be precise.  If how they have played holds they'll enter that stretch maybe at 17-17 and exit like 28-40. 

The rest of the season sets up as mildly favorable but only very mildly so. Part of that is because the NL East is pretty good and they've only played two series against teams, one being a Marlins series. Part of that is because in this stretch the two bad teams they do face are AL teams they only play once, leaving only two more for the last ~100 games. And part of it is it being mildly favorable assumes the D-backs don't get out of their funk being probably the unluckiest team by record this year. So it's not like if they stumble here they are likely to rocket back out.

We've determined the Nats are better than the Marlins. That was good. Now we dig in and determine if the Nats really are better than last year. A good start would be beating up on the Blue Jays while they can


Cautiously Pessimistic said...

This is going to be a brutal stretch. My goal is 31 wins at the end of it, basically winning the series you should (TOR, DET, CWS), splitting the Os/Braves (optimistic, I know), and losing the rest. 28 wins should be the lower end of expectations, with 31+ being a great success

kubla said...

When Cavalli comes up and/or Gray comes back, who leaves to make room? Is there any chance that Corbin could get benched? Teams don't like to pay that much for nothing, but he's sub-replacement and will be gone next year.

G Cracka X said...

It was fun while it lasted.

FG has the Nats as the third worst team going forward (believe it or not, worse than the Marlins!). Nats are predicted to go 55-76 the rest of the way, with a -102 Run differential. Ouch!

On the bright side, they currently project to finish with 70 wins, which would make it the 2nd season in a row that Martinez outperforms the preseason win prediction for the team.

billyhacker said...

Low expectations are an asset. They will need something in the middle of that stretch to keep their heads high.

Nattydread said...

Harper, FG -- and a 5-10 record with >.500 teams -- would seem to predict a poor outcome over the next 36 games.

But I agree with CP and would put it at 31/32 wins after this stretch. This team is a .400 team, even against good teams.

Last years record had some luck. But 2024 Nats are already better. Improvements in key players make a difference: Abrams, Garcia, Williams, Gore. Unexpected emergence of talent from lower ranks: Young, Irvin, Parker, Lipscomb.

Lots of weaknesses still (Rosario, Meneses, Corbin) -- so no reason to get excited that we're in a tie for the last WC slot today.

If Rizzo decides this is right time to bring up one of the shiny new faces, this might be a more interesting run.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I’m a little more optimistic about how they look than Harper in this post, but that has me thinking ‘scrappy young team who can spoil playoff runs for other teams and build momentum for 2025’ more than make the wild card this year.

I think Davey and the coaching staff deserves more appreciation too, especially given the strides some of these young guys made from last season.

Anonymous said...

Mets are ok wouldn’t call them good, mariners are somewhat good-ish but not that good. Otherwise (minus Chicago) yes a tough stretch

Anonymous said...

No Monday or Tuesday post :(

G Cracka X said...

Don’t worry Anon; Boz just wrote an optimistic article on the Nats.

Only a matter of time before Harper responds!

Kevin Rusch said...

Harper only expects 11 wins between May 5 and June 13. 1 down, 10 to go.

G Cracka X said...

From Jessica Camerato’s article:

“The season after allowing the most home runs among all National League pitchers, Trevor Williams is the only starter who has not surrendered a homer this year (35-inning minimum).”


“Williams joins Gio Gonz├ílez as the only pitcher in Nationals team history (2005-present) to not surrender a home run in seven starts.“

Never would have guessed that Gio used to be the only Nats pitcher to not give up a homer in seven straight starts