UPDATE: Hey I was kind of right about Marquis.
Chris over at Capitol Punishment notes that the Nats have a pretty easy schedule coming up. So much so that you can see them staying around .500 (or better) until the halfway point of the season. That's looking at the opposition. What if we take a look at the Nats?
Let's admit the Nats have caught some breaks that led them to be 8-7 right now. Don't think of that as a bad thing. It's a great thing. These games are done and no one can take them away from the Nats. As long as the Nats up their play a little bit they can take advantage of what amounts to money in the bank to end up a few wins higher than they probably should be talent-wise.
But can they up their play a little bit? Is the Nats current lineup filled with overachievers waiting to crash? Or underachievers that might rise up to counteract the likely evening out of luck?
Pudge : Over .444 / .469 / . 600. Even if you named your first born child Pudge (and what a lovely girl she is) you have to admit Pudge is going to crash at some point. Hard.
Dunn : Under .191 / .387 / .315. The OBP is about right but the power is WAY under what he should do. Expect a nice run of homers soon.
Kennedy : Push .237 / .318 /.316. If you had me bet, I'd say he'd slightly improve but I don't feel strongly enough to guarantee it. He's in a talent/age range that he could be done.
Guzman : Over .341 / .386 / .659. Guzman can be good. He can't be this good.
Desmond : Push 256 / .356 / .436. Really, we don't know.
Zimmerman : Push .341 / .386 / .659. Kind of like the Bizarro Kennedy. I'd probably bet on a slide but he's in the talent/age range where he could be becoming a superstar.
Rigth Field: Push The average should go up (Harris is hitting .192, Maxwell .231) but the OBPs and SLGs are on target if not too high. Keeping Taveras on the bench is the key in any case.
Morgan: Just slightly Under. Morgan's average should go up a little bit but like Right Field his OBP (.371) and SLG (.385) are about on target. The production should improve but just a hair overall.
Willingham : Over .327 / .427 /.592 I liked Willingham to have a career year (I told the Mets guy. I did!) but this is too much.
Starting Pitching: Push at least until Strasburg comes. Marquis should be much better (unless he's injured). Livan should be much worse (I mean he's nearly perfect now). Lannan may get slightly better. Anyone want to guarantee better consistent pitching from anyone else? It should get slightly better even before Strasburg but again - I'm not betting on it.
Relief Pitching: Under While Capps and Clippard at this point could hardly be better and should get worse, every other spot outside of Jesse English is at 4.91 ERA or higher. That can't stand. Maybe Mock comes and replaces Batista with a 4.50 ERA in long relief. Maybe Burnett settles down to a 4.00 ERA. Tyler Walker to a 4.50. I'm not talking great pitching here, but a unified improvement that should in total have an effect.
Looking at the team, the offense, which is pretty average (though remarkably consistent), should get worse. And if Zimmerman is down... I don't want to think about that. The pitching though has lots of room for improvement, especially the pen, but I'm not sure the talent is there for a BIG improvement. And how much will a better bullpen matter if the starting pitching is giving up 5+ runs and the offense starts to drop?
It's things like this that make me agree with FJB, and think a Strasburg call up is advised. I don't see where a big improvement is going to come otherwise. Marquis maybe. If he's ok. That's it.
The iron is hot. It might not be this hot again.