Nationals Baseball: 4-2

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Simple as that.  The Nats are at home for the next 6 games.  A good team facing these fair opponents, would expect to go 4-2 during this time, and preferably not 3-0 vs the D-backs and 1-2 vs the Phillies (though I'd still take that, if I were a Nats fan).

Offensively, the Diamondbacks are a team that can score some runs, and currently they could put together a whole lineup of guys hitting well.  The only guys struggling are Ryan Roberts and the guy you heard about maybe in all those Tyler Moore notes, Paul Goldschmidt. However a strangely hot Lyle Overbay and a Cody Ransom swinging from the heels can take those spots. The Nats pitchers haven't faced many decent lineups.  In fact they've only faced one team with a R/G significantly above the league average. However, that was Houston, and they held them to 5 runs over 3 games.  The Astros averaged 4.6 R/G before the Nats and 5.3 R/G since so the Nats pitching staff passed that first test with flying colors.  I'd bet on them again this time.

At the same time the D-Backs pitching staff hasn't been great, but unfortunately the Nats probably won't get to take advantage of that.  They miss the D-Backs back of the rotation and the worst of the pen, Joe Paterson, was sent down a week ago. They'll face decent pitching, but in my mind a decent team should be able to manage to score some runs against these guys.  If the Nats get shut down again you'd have to be disappointed. I'd want at least one 5+ run game here.

The Phillies, if you don't know, have crashed and burned offensively.  Ruiz and Wigginton are carrying them right now, with Polanco finally getting hot.  But you can't feel good about an offense where the big names are Polanco, Ruiz, and Wigginton. Pence, Victorino, and Rollins, might bounce back, but those first three won't stay hot.  They need Utley and Howard and they won't have them for this series. The Nats, led by Strasburg and Gio, should definitely shut them down.

Pitching wise the Nats catch a break here. They miss both Hallady and Lee. Hamels and Worley are no slouches, but if you had your choice in a 3 game series vs the Phillies you'd go with those two over Halladay and Lee. Outside of a couple arms, the Phillies pen has been pretty weak, so if the Nats can stay close (and really why couldn't they) you'd have to like them to score more than the Phillies in the late innings.

So what do I see? I do see 4 and 2. Problem is I don't see any blowouts here so every game will be close and close games are hard to pin down.  A couple hits/outs go the wrong way and 4-2 is 2-4.  If you ask me, though, the most likely way they'll get to 4-2 I'll go with this scenario - Nats lose 2 games to the D-Backs, but sweep the Phillies.  I think Nats fans would take that.


Bryan said...

Worley is good but inconsistent as hell. He's definitely hittable, and in fact, has worked his way out of some spots this year or things would look a lot worse for him.

Hamels is Hamels and he's good to great, of course.

Four runs is just about all the Phils can score against anybody, and they are as likely to score 1 as they are 3, so those 3 games are all winneable with our pitching. The Phils are so devoid of hitting you can pitch around the few good hitters they have. The Phils' pen has been bad at stretches as well.

Don't know much about the Dbacks, but if it comes down to the Nats pitching v. almost any hitters, I'll take the Nats pitching at this point.

Bryan said...

Oh, and Hamels is Zimmermann of the Phils. They never support him with runs. Hamels could have a 1.23 ERA and win 8 games. He's the best we'll face, and we'll only probably need 2 or 3 runs to win.

That said, 3 runs against Hamels is an iffy proposition.

Harper said...

The only thing about the Phils is the same thing that can happen against every other team. Maybe Victorino and Pence get hot this week and Ruiz and Wigginton cool down NEXT week. Maybe one of the Nats pitcher has an off night.

But all else being equal they shouldn't score more than 2-3 runs on Gio/Stras/ZNN so it's up to the offense to score 3-4.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but to say what they should do and what they can do without Zimmerman, Morse, Storen, Lidge, and Derosa is very different. Its a shame all these guys are out (mostly the first 3 guys) because this could be a GREAT team. I would love to see this lineup.
1. Desmond SS
2. Harper Rf/Cf
3. Zimmerman 3b
4. Laroche 1b
5. Morse Lf
6. Werth Rf/Cf
7. Espinosa 2b
8. Ramos C

Anonymous said...

This team has lost 4 games in a row by a total of 5 runs. We needed Clippard and H - Rod to hold down the 2 leads late to turn that road trip around.

Donald said...

Someone on the Nats is going to heat up. It's the law of averages. The difficulty is in guessing who that could be. I'd like to think it'll be Harper -- 4 righties out of 6; playing for the home crowd. It would be awesome if he raked. After him, though, I just have a hard time seeing who else could step up. Espi?

Wally said...

Harper - I like that you do this. It makes sense to break the season up into small chunks, and is a better way to assess the team's progress.

But I disagree with where your expectations are for the Nats right now (yes, actually saying that you are too optimistic). Look, there is a lot to like about this team for the next 3-4 years. Some good young players, and the SPs are giving legitimate reason to believe that they will be upper echelon.

But they aren't a very good team right now, despite exceptional pitching and a crazy month for ALR. They came into the season with a weak lineup with several question marks, and have lost their two best hitters. These bench guys: well they are probably ok as bench guys who get 100 ABs the whole season. Tracy's two big PHs are probably a good season by themselves for pinch-hitters. But they aren't part time starters, which is what is going on and why they are being exposed. I feel like currently, including the pitcher, we are giving away 3-4 lineup spots each night. Almost no other team does that. Right now, without Zim, we probably have the worst 1-8 lineup in the NL.

I am actually not trying to be negative, just realistic, even though I am a fan. I mean, shat happens and injuries are something everyone has to deal with. But I think that they will be lucky to play .400 ball in May. I am expecting 2-4 this homestand, would be pleased at 3-3 and ecstatic at anything better. I do agree with you that we'll do better against the Phils than the D-Backs.

Kylewptc said...

This team has lost 4 games in a row by a total of 5 runs. We needed Clippard and H - Rod to hold down the 2 leads late to turn that road trip around.