The Nats are doing exactly what I thought they should and would, so kudos all around. It shouldn't have been much a series but ZNN decided to have his worst game of the year on Sautrday and that almost cost the Nats a game. No blame to Jordan though. He'd given the Nats 10 straight outings of quality baseball or better. They can't all be winners.
So now the Nats move onto the Astros. Same things as I said Friday. 3-1 20+ runs for the series.
It was supposed to be next year. The pennant contending, World Series dreaming Nationals team was suppsed to come through in 2013. 2012 was about being a real playoff contender and getting to enjoy an actual playoff race for the first time (unless you count the slow death of the horribly overachieving 2005 Nats). But surprisingly to most, it all worked out a year early. The Nats started hot, kept winning, and by the All-Star break there could be no denying that the Nats were one of the best teams in baseball.
This quick jump up though, is messing with Nats fans expectations. I would say that for most what was the hope in the pre-season, and the goal in early Spring, is now the undesirable fall-back position.
It's interesting, though, to see how individual fans react to such a crazy quick sea change. Some choose to remain thinking the same "just happy to be here" as if the Nats were 3 games out of the Wild Card. They wanted a playoff race and they got it. What's to complain about? Others though have adjusted expectations so that a pennant is the only satisfactory response and likely, if the Nats keep winning at their current pace and the NL races don't significantly change, they'll need that ALDS win, too, to be satisfied.
There isn't a right and wrong here. It's a crazy season and being happy at being good, being upset at not winning the East or in the playoffs, or both, all make sense. Next year though, Nats fans are going to be united and they are going to know the "fun" of having a team with WS expectations. There is far more room for failure with a good team, and since only two teams can make the Series and only one team can win it all you'll likely be disappointed most every year. Of course who would prefer it the other way?
We bandied about a lot about Kurt Suzuki Friday afternoon. The crux of it boils down to this :
Suzuki can't hit any worse that Flores was hitting. He's going to be a better defensive catcher than Flores. Therefore it makes it worthwhile to bring him in.
That being said, Rizzo calling Kurt Suzuki a #1 catcher is ridiculous. OK OK it's technically true that if you lined up all the catchers currently playing in the majors, you'd probably put Suzuki in the Top 30. If that's your definition than fine. But to me a legit #1 starter is a guy, who if you replaced him with a minor league nobody, would be sorely missed. Kurt hasn't been that type of catcher since 2009. He was a middling major league catcher in 2010 and 2011, and a terrible one this year.
Can he be a legit #1 again? Well on the plus side he's only 28. The bad news is everything else. The average has gone down. This year the mid-level power has been lost. He's never had great patience. I don't know what exactly the hope is. I guess the best case the power loss is a bit of a fluke and he's got a couple good pop years in him, but it's still going to be a couple years hitting in the low 200s. While catcher may peak a few years later than other players 28+ is still the vast majority of catchers's decline phase. It would take prime Molina defense to make up for the offense Suzuki might put up.
My guess is Rizzo doesn't buy Suzuki as a #1 any more than I do. This year he could be a slight improvement at the plate and will be a slight one behind it and that's what matters right now. Next year, well... if he talks him up and Suzuki happens to catch fire these last few months, maybe Rizzo can flip him for something of interest over the off-season. Or maybe he just deals him for whatever he can get. If he doesn't, and really truly wants him for the long haul, well if Ramos is ok than he's got a slightly more expensive back-up than he'd like. For good teams that's the type of player you have. Someone slightly better than the alternative but way more expensive. The only bad scenario is if Ramos is hurt and Rizzo goes to battle with Suzuki as the #1 for the Nats. We'll worry about that in the offseason.