At the beginning of this tought stretch in mid-May I tried to peg where the Nats would be at the end of it. Up to this point I had them at 10-8. They've been 9-8 with a rainout, so kudos to me. The next stretch is where we could really diverge though. I had them going 6-9 vs the AL East and 3-4 on the road stretch after that for a less than impressive 9-13 finish. I'm gonna stick with that and I'll tell you why; I didn't see anything in the recent home series to make me change my mind.
The Mets sent out a mediocre pitcher coming back from injury and a AAAA guy the first two games. The Nats coudn't run either of them. When they faced a good pitcher in game 3 they were held in check. I don't know how many times we have to go over this but the offense is not good. It's not terrible with everyone healthy, but even with Bryce meeting all expectations and Morse back, it's not good. "But Zimm has been slumping!" you say. "Morse isn't fully back yet!" cries you. Sure. Fine. But that's what happens to offenses. Guys slump. Zimm will bounce back. Morse will start hitting. But then Bryce will be in a slump or Flores will have stopped hitting or Nady/Bernadina won't combine to be solid subs like they have the past 2 weeks. In a usual offense you have some guys doing well and other guys not so much and the Nats have an offense that can't suffer a 2-3 guys slumping. It needs nearly the whole thing to be humming for the wins to come easy.
Luckily for all Nats fans the pitching is that good. It will keep the Nats in games, and as long as they keep the score down, with this offense it makes the winner a coin flip situation. (that sums up why they've been .500 most of the year in a real quick and dirty way). That's good enough to stay in the race. And once you make it in the playoffs - well then it's really a crapshoot.
We'll look at this more and more as Werth gets closer to coming back, but in the battle between Danny, Ian, and Steve, I go Danny and Steve all the way. Ian's the oldest, hits FA first, and has a huge amount of data saying this is who he is.
Mike Morse might not be in stride yet, but his .668 OPS is miles better than Nady, equal to Ankiel, and not too far behind Bernadina. Short of it : he can't help but make the offense better.
The most interesting bat in the lineup to me right now? Jesus Flores. Back in 2009 he put up a very nice 30 games before getting injured. Last year he had a stretch of two where he hit really well. He's in one now. We've never gotten a good chance to see if he can put it together and hit well over the long haul. We will this year.
Medicore Wang start #2... Detwiler watch not on, but there's only a couple commercials to go.
Rest of the pitching is awesome. Carry on.