Monday, October 22, 2012

Would Nats have won NLCS?

US Presswire photo
Bruce Bochy and Mike Matheny will shake hands one final time before Game 7.
If you've been able to muster up the strength to watch this year's NLCS -- and it's perfectly understandable if you haven't, given how Game 5 of the NLDS ended -- you've seen quite a compelling series between the last two World Series champions, each of them making a desperate push to reach the Fall Classic again.

You also might have emerged from all this contemplating a simple, and perhaps painful, question: Would the Nationals have won this thing had they simply not blown a six-run lead to the Cardinals 10 days ago?

There's legitimate reason to believe they would, in fact, have won the pennant and secured a date with the Tigers in the World Series.

There's obviously no way to know how a series that never took place would have played out. But given the way they handled the Giants during the regular season, and given the way that potential NLCS would have set up, the Nationals certainly would have been in a favorable position.

The Giants, make no mistake, are a resilient bunch and got some fantastic pitching performances from Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong to win Games 5 and 6 and stave off elimination. But they haven't done much of anything at the plate, aside from Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval, and will enter Game 7 with a .241 team batting average and paltry .369 slugging percentage in the series.

The Nationals, meanwhile, feasted on Vogelsong during their only encounter this season, racking up eight runs on nine hits Aug. 13 against what was then the NL's ERA leader.

But the biggest advantage the Nationals would have had in this phantom NLCS would have been their home-field advantage. The Giants' pitching staff fared far better at AT&T Park this season (3.09 ERA) than it did away from that spacious ballpark along McCovey Cove (4.29 ERA).

And unlike the case in the actual NLCS against the fourth-seeded Cardinals, third-seeded San Francisco would not have held home-field advantage against Washington. Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 would have been played at Nationals Park, which you have to believe would have favored Davey Johnson's club.

Not only because of the Giants' road struggles this season, but because of history. Home-field advantage may not mean much in the best-of-five Division Series, but it means a whole lot in the best-of-seven Championship Series and World Series.

There have been only 23 Game 7s played in baseball over the last 30 years. And in those winner-take-all showdowns, the home team is 18-5.

History, then, would have been on the Nationals side had they found themselves in position to host Game 7 of the NLCS tonight.

That game, of course, isn't being played on South Capitol Street. It's being played on the other side of the continent, in front of a rabid San Francisco fan base that figures to aid the Giants' cause.

That may still be a bitter pill for the Nationals and their fans to swallow, recognizing just how close they were to finding themselves in this very position right now instead of watching it all unfold on television.

But if you've refused to partake yourself over the last week, do yourself a favor and tune in to Game 7 tonight. These classic October battles, as pointed out above, simply don't happen that often. And they typically produce some of the most memorable games in baseball history, whether it was rookie David Price preserving the upstart Rays' ninth-inning lead against the mighty Red Sox in 2008 or Aaron Boone taking Tim Wakefield deep into the Bronx night in 2003 or Sid Bream sliding in just ahead of Barry Bonds' throw to the plate in 1992.

Yes, it may still be painful to realize the Nationals could -- perhaps should -- have been the ones playing tonight. But nothing is going to change that now. Might as well enjoy the high drama of a Game 7 involving two franchises that have been staving off elimination all month and now meet in the ultimate pressure cooker of a ballgame.

147 comments:

rabbit34 said...

The Nationals would not have won it if they hadn't blown a six run lead 10 days ago. That is because the 2012 Nationals was always capable of blowing a six run lead, especially if the lead is built early in the game. Why? Because they don't have the bats to get it done. They go cold in an instant and pile up the strikeouts. But, that was the 2012 Nationals. Rizzo has to tweak the team during the off season and remedy those blaring weaknesses.

Gonat said...

Would Nats have won the NLCS? Short answer yes. The Nats dominated the Giants during the regular season and thats when they had the juicer Melky Cabrera plus the Nats hit Vogelsong hard. Add to that the Nats would have enjoyed home field advantage.

Constant Reader said...

Watch baseball again, Mark? Are you kidding?!?

You used the perfect word Mark. Would. Not could. Those of us who aren't letting it go so easily use 'would'. The Nats would have beaten the Giants. We are a better team. Maybe if the Tigers sweep the winner of tonight's game, I'll consider dropping from would to could.

Yes, bitter pill. But for one strike, my baseball gut tells me that we would have won the NLCS and the World Series.

natsfan1a said...

Short answer: there's a reason they play the games. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. It's a moot point, that particular series match-up not being a reality and all.

That said, will probably do as I've been doing, and record to possibly watch later. As well, they'll replay all of it on MLB Network down the road. But then we'll already know how it all comes out. Plus, not to veer OT but there's another match-up that I figure on watching tonight. ;-)

natsfan1a said...

Hadn't read Constant Reader's response but I used "woulda" only to illustrate a point. I didn't assume a win for the division series, let alone projecting it for possible subsequent series. But that's just me. Which is not to say that it didn't hurt to lose, but not because I assumed that they'd win it all. Just my two cents. (Oh, and go GIANTS! :-))

Cwj said...

Yeah the Nats probably would have won the NL pennant.

But no, I haven't really been watching the NLCS, and I'm sick to death of MLB Network.
I'm going to hibernate until Spring Training.
Go Nats!

Drew said...

One of the reasons the Nats' game 5 loss was so lamentable was that the Nats would have had home field advantage for the NLCS and for the World Series, had they gotten that far.

Yes, the loss to the Cards came at Nats Park, but wouldn't you choose to play a big game at home?

In year two of the Nats' "window" the All-Star game will be one of the biggest games of the year.

baseballswami said...

That depends on which Nats team showed up. The Nats team going into the end of the season and in the post season - no. The August Nats team? Probably. The fact is that the Nats were losing steam through September and October and were just not pitching as well or hitting consistently. Some of what happens in the post season has to do with teams getting hot at the right time. Could we have gotten hot? Maybe, but the games we won, we squeaked out - didn't dominate. If you have not been watching the post season -- much has been made of Pujos, Fielder and others moving to the AL. I know I am biased, but the NL games as a whole have been much better baseball. Both teams have gotten some good pitching performances, but their bullpens have been nails. Both teams have gotten some timely hitting and have had some cold games. Both teams battle the entire game.The Nats are similar to both of these teams, but the difference is that the Giants and Cardinals are firing on a lot of cylinders, not all, all the time, and the Nats were not at their best when they needed to be. Post season, tournament baseball is a different animal and I hope adjustments are made, lessons are learned for the next time.

3on2out said...

Would of. Could of. Should of. The Cardinals outscored the Nats 32-16. The Nats were lucky to squeak out two wins. The better team, at least over those six days, advanced. The Giants are going to beat that better team tonight. What matters this time of year is what team has the hot hand and is capable of functioning under the glare of the national spotlight. The Nats decidedly could not. The Giants and the Tigers have.

sm13 said...

I agree with 1a - woulda, coulda, shoulda just doesn't matter. The real question is whether we will win the NLCS (and more) in 2013. I'm sure that's what Rizzo and company are focussed on. Right now, I am watching the games and enjoying some pretty good playoff baseball. Game 7s are special.

On another note, the Marlins continue to dismantle their club, now shedding one of their blockbuster, big money acquisitions. It is just more evidence that the Nats front office has been on the right track.

alexva said...

3on2's point is a good one. they would have been lucky to advance, late lead not withstanding.

for the first time since then I'll be tuning in tonight. game sevens can be special indeed.

Section 222 said...

Let's face it, the Nats had an excellent chance to advance to the World Series this year. (I started thinking about that round about the third inning of Game 5). But they blew it. Not a single part of their performance in the playoffs -- starting pitching, bullpen, hitting -- deserved to advance. Given that, any assumption they would have beaten the Giants in the NLCS is suspect. I'll hope they'll be inspired and motivated by what happened when they take the field next year, rather than feeling depressed and snake bit. They are responsible for their own fate.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, generally speaking, the team had issues in each of those categories. That said, from each category, some guys had good performances (well, maybe just one, from the rotation), others had not-good performances, and still others had both good and not-good performances over the course of the series. I also took away good (game 4) and not-good (yeah, no explanation needed there) experiences from my attendance of the home games. I don't doubt that they'll carry lessons learned/experience with them into next season. I know I'll carry some memorable experiences. Anyhoo, it's over and done now. Onward.

On another note, after I had the "good sport" talk with my Cards fan neighbor, the Giants evened up the series. Does this mean I have to do it again? Not that I'm superstitious or anything. :-)

Doc said...

Thanks for rooting out those stats Mark. Nats had a winning record against both Cards and Gigantes during the season. Also led both clubs in hitting after the ASG.

Anyhoo, anything can happen in a short series between evenly matched teams. But being ahead by 6 runs in that game?! Davey just stopped managing the mound, is my only take on it.

And no, I haven't recovered enough to watch any post-season games. I think that I have PTND--Post Traumatic Nats Disorder.

Oh well, 118 days till.......

natsfan1a said...

Good one.

I think that I have PTND--Post Traumatic Nats Disorder.

Tcostant said...

It sure would have been nice to make it and I do beleive that we would have been favorites. But regular season wins don't mean much to me, I remember the 1988 Mets facing the Dodgers who they owned during the regular season (something like 9-1) and loss to them. I had World Series tickets then for games that were never played at Shea, just like this year with the Nats.

Bottom line, we were not going to advance to the WS unless we stopped walking guys. If we oitched like we did in the regular season we might have won, but if we pitched like we did in the DS, we were not going to advance.

NatsLady said...

My project is weight loss and fitness... And working on my blog. Have several ideas but haven't had the heart to put them up yet. Last year and for many years I've watched the postseason as an outsider with no particular rooting interest except for exciting games. I'd really like the Giants to clobber the Cards, though (they are favored by the oddsmakers at @ -140).

Then I'd like them to put up stories about how they sensed "blood in the water, etc." which I considered to be very classless on the part of Cards players. Yes, you outscored the Nats by double digits and it took you until the last out of the last inning of the last game to seal the deal. And, by the way, the Nats spotted you an Ace.

Anyone who it on MyFitnessPal and wants to lose weight with me, I'm on there as NatsLady. So far, 5 pounds and I've been to the gym seven days in a row...

Theophilus T. S. said...

Position by position, Posey is the only Giants position player who would start for the Nats. In my current frame of mind, however, I have doubts the Nats would beat would beat them, because their top four starters (not Lincecum) have all pitched with much more poise than any of the Nats' starters with the exception of Detwiler. Cripe, if Barry Zito could pitch 7 2/3 scoreless, why was Gonzalez leaking runs like a collander?

Now the Nats' starting pitchers have the "experience" that the playoffs are a different kettle of fish and know that one bad inning gets you sent home for five months. The remaining issue, however, is whether next season they -- meaning Zimmermann and Gonzalez -- will have the maturity necessary along with the experience -- or, again, crumble like a stale cookie under the pressure.

NatsLady said...

Tcostant--Davey said the same. Too many walks, too many walks...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

No need discussing whether the Nats shoulda beaten the Cardinals as they had their chance and didn't.

Could the Nats have beaten the Giants? YES

The Nats 3rd best record vs NL teams was against the San Fran Giants this year with a 5-1 record and a huge differential in runs at +21 runs which is huge over 6 games.

Also keep in mind as Gonat pointed out that when the Nats faced the Giants in those 6 games they had the league's best hitter in Melky Cabrera.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, good point on the pressure of the postseason however I don't think Jordan Z's problem was pressure. I still believe as I pointed out a few times before that JZim's approach was flawed vs the Cardinals. The way other fastball pitchers have approached the Cardinals is 2/3 fastballs instead of almost 80% that JZim threw and pounding them mostly inside instead of just staying outside but certainly moving around the zone like Detwiler did.

Vogelsong threw 35 four seamers and 34 two seamers. Exactly 2/3 fastballs. 17% curveballs. 5% sliders and 11% changeups.

Theo, with Gio Gonzalez I agree that he got quickly agitated. Not sure if it was the pressure, nerves or the umps but he clearly has pitched his worse when he gets that look, you know, the one where the Cardinals "smelled blood".

Nats In Athens said...

The talent on the Nationals would have won the World Series; it will probably come close to it every year of this decade. The mind set of this talent would, in my opinion, not. That is because I believe the team was not yet ready, mentally for the grind that comes with leading your division and league and competing in the postseason.
Also the team was in a postseason type mode (ie need to win every game) throughout most of the second half due to the way Atlanta was playing. And that pressure showed in September at times, especially with some players such as Clippard.
But the pain we went through after game 5 (and I have hardly even visited Nats Insider for the first few days) will be the team's gain next year.
One of the gains of this team is how it will be perceived in the off season. Firstly it will be seen as a potential WS winner. Second it will be seen as a team with little needs. Both of these will help the team land top free agents at a lesser cost than in years past, when some would not even answer the phone (again probably a good thing in most cases as we saw how badly the high cost teams are doing).

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric said...
Nope, and let's face it ... I am usually right ....


October 21, 2012 4:42 PM


To the guy who says he's usually right, I'm wondering if that just means just being right just more than 1/2 the time.

Not sure what you were right about but you sure were the guy that wanted Jayson Werth on the bench and didn't want John Lannan as part of this team and you wanted Zach Duke in the rotation and you were yelling before the season about going with Adam LaRoche. Sure, you want Ryan Zimmerman at 1st base. Who is going to play 3rd?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=P&sid=l119&t=p_pbp&pid=501993

Cole Kimball's stat sheet in the Arizona Fall League.

Nats In Athens said...

Not sure it is the proper place to post this but does anyone have news about the TV contract reset? It was active for a while but all seems to have gone quiet over the past few months...

Theophilus T. S. said...

Steve's Ghost --

Zimmermann started two of the Nats seven games against St. Louis in the regular season. They hit .349 against him. So he damn well knew going into the NLDS what didn't work against them. There are two possibilities: (1) at the end of the season he was wearing down -- sure looked like it in August/September; (2) he succumbed to the pressure. Whatever was going on, he didn't last long enough in Game Two to be gassed, and it certainly wasn't that he was misinformed about what was going to work.

My hope is that by next season Z'mann will have fully completed his recuperation from TJ surgery and will be as good for 6-7 months as he was for the first four. But right now I'm not very pleased with either him or Gonzalez.

NatsLady said...

Ghost, if you recall, Stras in Miami had a similar problem as JZ. I think Suzuki and McCatty have to have an alternate game plan in those situations. Just have to be smarter when you run into good hitters.

One problem with the long season is you have a larger percentage of poor hitters, but in the postseason that won't be the case. You may have good hitters in slumps (Cano, Posey) but you won't be pitching against teams that have only one or two good hitters. A lineup (like ours, actually) where there are only one or two weak links plus the pitcher requires a different approach.

SCNatsFan said...

It hurts to read this thread

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats In Athens said...
Not sure it is the proper place to post this but does anyone have news about the TV contract reset? It was active for a while but all seems to have gone quiet over the past few months...

October 22, 2012 10:11 AM


Baseballswami and I were discussing this last night. Haven't heard a thing but I think no news is good news as the Nats had a very successful 2012 season as evidence of a booming fanbase and viewership plus all the new regional TV deals are showing exponential growth.

The Angelos stall tactic in the end will cost him.

Right now the lawyers and media consultants are making the money on this.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady said...
Ghost, if you recall, Stras in Miami had a similar problem as JZ. I think Suzuki and McCatty have to have an alternate game plan in those situations. Just have to be smarter when you run into good hitters.

One problem with the long season is you have a larger percentage of poor hitters, but in the postseason that won't be the case. You may have good hitters in slumps (Cano, Posey) but you won't be pitching against teams that have only one or two good hitters. A lineup (like ours, actually) where there are only one or two weak links plus the pitcher requires a different approach.

October 22, 2012 10:21 AM


Glad you see it as I saw it. Not sure how McCatty prepared EJax and JZim. Gio's problem was different as we previously discussed. I think it was a flawed approach unless you have a fastball pitcher like Ross Detwiler who throws a 4 seamer and a true sinker where the movement and late break works so well.

Detwiler also moved the ball so well inside and outside which JZim wasn't doing that.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=446321&game=gid_2012_10_11_slnmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

natsfan1a said...

Athens, there was a MASN non-update update in the Post last week.

rogieshan said...

If the Cards had started Lance Lynn twice against us and Beltran had sprained his knee...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
Steve's Ghost --

Zimmermann started two of the Nats seven games against St. Louis in the regular season. They hit .349 against him. So he damn well knew going into the NLDS what didn't work against them.


You would think JZim could figure it out on his own but it is a group approach, Pitcher, catcher, McCatty.

JZim was not pounding them inside enough. JZim was throwing too many 4 seam fastballs and not enough changeups and curveballs and sliders.

In JZim's NLDS start, he only threw 3 two seam fastballs and all the other fastballs were 4 seamers. He threw 78% fastballs.

His chart also shows that too many balls were over the middle of the plate.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=519455&game=gid_2012_10_08_wasmlb_slnmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

Faraz Shaikh said...

as far as I am concerned, answer is 'we are not in NLCS'. End of discussion!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz, you obviously don't like playing the "what if" game.

Yah, I'm ready to look at what it will take to re-sign ALR and what other moves would improve the 2013 team.

I see Ladson writing that Brian Goodwin may be ready to play for the Nats mid-season.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Steve's Ghost --

I apologize -- really -- for being argumentative about Z'mann but, really, what does it matter that "too many balls were over the middle of the plate?" Obviously, they were. The question is why? Did he have a dead arm? Was he fatigued? Was he just having a bad day (after a month or so of not-very-good days)? Or was he cheating himself when he pushed it up to the plate?

In any case, we really have no idea what his "plan" was, because he only made it through three innings.

Letting pitchers think too much is a mistake -- which might be why Detwiler improved so much.

Faraz Shaikh said...

GoSM, the only what-if I liked playing was drafting Trout instead of Storen with that 10th pick (way before game five if anyone wondering).

I am more into predictions now. Wondering what Trout can do next? Where Harper takes his game?, etc.

In case anyone interested, trout's LHP numbers are worse than RHP. curiously, his BABIP against LHP is close to .300 while BABIP against RHP is close to .400. Also as his BABIP trend went down over the course of regular season, his slash line also came down a bit. Makes me wonder if we should expect a more human season in 2013 from him.

Also interested in what Nats do this off-season.

LoveDaNats said...

When I first started reading, and trust me, the thought of woulda, coulda, shoulda has been there all week, I realized the sharp, stabbing pain has become a dull ache. I actually checked scores last night just to see if the Giants forced that game 7. I may go back and forth tonight between the game and the debate.
As for our Nats, I look at it as "karma". There was no way the baseball gods would let the Nats go to the WS, much less win it, without their ace, Stephen Strasburg. They will wait until next year when he can join them for every joyful bottle of champagne poured on his head due to his full participation. That's my story....and I'm sticking to it.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, its not a problem. It could certainly be part of many issues but I think too many balls made it over the middle of the plate and that's never a good sign unless you have great movement but 94mph fastballs over the center of the plate usually end up in the bleachers for HRs.

If I had to judge the starters (Gio, JZim, EJax and Detwiler) only Detwiler got it done.

raymitten said...

Been watching every game of the NLCS, and can't help thinking I wish I was going to the ballpark tonight. But I'm at peace with the events of Game 5. You cannot say the Nats should have won that game. Not one relief pitcher did a good job of shutting down St. Louis. It wasn't meant to be. I can accept that and hope the team learns from it rather than remaining bitter about losing a game that the Nats deserved to lose.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz, going through old drafts will only frustrate you!

The Angels picked Trout towards the end of the 1st round so almost every team had their chance to get Trout.

I'm just wondering if he will be Fred Lynn or a perennial All Star and multiple MVP type player but of course I'm more excited by Bryce Harper.

Bryce made the post-season and Trout didn't. Bryce had a triple and HR in his last post-season game.

I expect even more improvement from Bryce in 2013 but not sure Trout can improve much more than what he did in 2012 as his 2012 was MVP quality.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

raymitten, well said. I just hope Drew learned a lesson as well as Davey. Drew saying he wouldn't have changed a thing and Davey basically saying the same didn't sit well with me.

I still loved the postseason but now after tasting that I want more!

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Not sure it is the proper place to post this but does anyone have news about the TV contract reset?"

Here is a recent recap:

http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=9426

Nats' MASN viewership was up to about 60,000 viewers per game telecast this past year, reportedly a substantial increase over 2011. The Nats are going to get a better deal before this is all over, even if they have to go to court.

The Nats were one of the best visiting team draws in all of baseball last year. With Stras back, full time, and Harper's growing-in pains a thing of the past, watch out for next year.

I was rooting for the Cards to win it all, but I hope they get skunked by the Giants now. The Cards have taken to denigrating the Nats pitching staff, implying they choked in game 5. Even if that's what they thought, they should have put a lid on it.

Now look who's choking - only 1 run in the past 2 games, total, from the best hitting team in baseball. Gag, suckers.

TimDz said...

Not sure if this was already posted this(I tried myself, but got shut out by my google account...); If so I apologize and just carry on...

I am looking at this season fondly, regardless of the outcome. This team was not supposed to necessarly compete for the WS until next year. Most of us had 85-90 wins and the second wild card pencilled in...We got more than most of us bargained for.

As a result, I look forward to this offseason as being on that Rizzo and his think tank will make a few tweaks, some trades and free agent signings that may surprise some folks and set the club up for a serious run in 2013 and years beyond that.

I won't play the woulda/shoulda game, as it is just not reality.

The glass is half full and will most likely get fuller in the coming seasons.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Laddie Blah Blah, great link with new information.

1) If the Orioles get a substantial rights fee increase equal to the Nats it would reduce the Orioles MLB revenue-sharing payments, Ozanian said. That is significant and consider the Nats no longer get revenue-sharing. Under the current agreement, the Orioles profit share in MASN doesn't impact the Orioles revenue share only their annual rights fee.

2) MASN gets $2.14 per cable/satelite subscriber vs. $4.00 that Comcast SportsNet [Mid-Atlantic] is receiving. "Which begs the question -- is MASN mismanaged?" Ozanian said.

3) According to Nielsen ratings, D.C. is the eighth-largest television market, with 2.36 million TV homes, and Baltimore is ranked 27th, with 1.1 million. The Wasington DC market is 68.2% of the total MASN DC/Baltimore market which further shows how much subscriber money MASN is disproportionately receiving from the DC market. It almost further shows the inequity in the geography at 32% to 68% while the current ownership is 87% to 13%.

4. The Houston Astros, in the 10th-largest market (2.19 million), agreed to a deal in 2010 with Comcast SportsNet Houston, which also pays the team an average of $80 million through 20 years. That's a deal that was done 2 years ago for a last place team in a smaller less affluent market. $80 million should be the absolute least the Nationals should receive.

5. Nats average TV viewership was 60,000 per game in 2012.

6. Mike Ozanian, who covers "Sports Money" for Forbes Magazine, wrote that MASN's revenue would likely be less than $200 million this year as a result, which is not enough to support $100 million or higher rights fees for the Nationals and Orioles. Also, MASN would not have any leftover money to invest back into the channel. Angelos as the 87% owner would have to fund 87% of any losses just like he received 87% of any profits and the Lerner Group would share 13% in profits and losses.



baseballswami said...

The Nats had an awesome season a full year before it was expected. Some people played well above expectations and they managed to find some magic here and there, despite adversity and intense media scrutiny with Bryce and Stras. Most of our everyday players have not had that kind of experience before. They just couldn't continue to muster up enough to last through the playoffs - barely held off the Braves at the end. Despite that, they held off a juggernaut team until the last out of the last game. I hate it that there are people who are viewing the Nats as chokers and losers now.Although, if they come out with a chip on their shoulders and a little extra motivation from their first taste of the playoffs I would be quite ok with that.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

From Boz: there are a ton of pretty good free agent pitchers who could add length to Strasburg, Z’mann, Gio, Detwiler. A few (in no order): Peavy, Dempster, Greinke, Lohse, Marcum, Saunders, Ervin Santana, EJackson, Correia, Harden, Kuroda, McCarthy. And a dozen more. Peavy will get mentioned with the Nats. I kind of like Dempster as a fit. Doubt thyey’ll go hard after Greinke. We’ll see. Way too early to know

I agree with him on Greinke. Interesting on Dempster who I like but not sure he can stay healthy the full season.

SonnyG10 said...

I want to comment on what I remember of the Jordan Zimmermann game. I remember before the melt-down, the home plate umpire was squeezing Jordan at the knees and on the inside and outside corners. I remember thinking, my gosh, if he has to come in from the corners and up from the knees, he's going to get killed by the St Louis batters. I was really pissed at the umpire. Then the melt-down happened. Cause and effect?

natsfan1a said...

Agree with the posts of Tim and swami.

In other news, I'm waiting for a project to come in, and I decided to speed-watch the Zito game, which I'd recorded. Made it through to the end. Helped that I knew and was happy with the outcome, and that I could speed through all the blathering by McCarver/Buck and the sideline reporters. Not afraid of hearing Nats references, just find them to be, um, a challenging listen. Baby steps.

natsfan1a said...

On another Z'nn note, loved what he did out of the 'pen. Quite studly, if I do say so.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the link, Laddie. I just searched for and found the Forbes piece referenced in that story. I always like to read the original piece as opposed to another writer's interpretation/summary of it.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

SonnyG10, you are correct looking at the official Pitch F/X that JZim didn't get any calls at the knees. There were 4 strikes there called balls and he also didn't get the inside and high strikes. He did get 3 outside the zone strike calls.

Net net, JZ did change his approach in the 2nd inning but he didn't change his pitch selection peppering the zone with 4 seam fastballs.

Feel Wood said...

SonnyG10 said...
I want to comment on what I remember of the Jordan Zimmermann game. I remember before the melt-down, the home plate umpire was squeezing Jordan at the knees and on the inside and outside corners. I remember thinking, my gosh, if he has to come in from the corners and up from the knees, he's going to get killed by the St Louis batters. I was really pissed at the umpire. Then the melt-down happened. Cause and effect?


Pitchers who want to be good pitchers who can win the big games need to learn how to deal with situations like being squeezed by the ump. Because, y'know, sh*t happens. Zimmermann is apparently still learning this aspect of the game.

bowdenball said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

"I agree with him on Greinke. Interesting on Dempster who I like but not sure he can stay healthy the full season."

I'd love Greinke but not sure he'll be worth the cost. Not sure what you mean about Dempster though. He had 200+ innings four straight seasons before this one. This year he had one DL stint that lasted a couple weeks but he still got to 170 innings. He's about as reliable as a pitcher can me. Of course I think he's reliably average, but that's a different discussion.

JSLSais said...

No, the Nats would not have beaten the Giants simply b/c the Giants (pitching) the Nats played earlier are not the Giants in the postseason. The Nats pitching (great) when they played the Giants are not the Nats pitching (sub-par) in the postseason. But we all know that the Nats offense in both the regular and postseason is the same--consistently inconsistent. They may score a few runs at the beginning but then choke in the later innings. I have always said that the Nats cannot get into a slugging contest with other teams b/c our offense is not only streaky but also seems to stall midway thru a game.

SonnyG10 said...

Ghost, thanks for confirming what I remembered. And I agree that JZim should have changed his pitch selection. This is something he needs to learn to do, and especially if the ump is giving him the squeeze. Otherwise what will happen is what did happen.

I hope this is what he and the other Nats starter learn from this season. There were quite a few games in the regular season where pitchers would get squeezed by different umpires. Our pitchers need to learn how to cope with these situations. Det seemed to do this pretty well.

SonnyG10 said...

Amen, Feel Wood!

Theophilus T. S. said...

Laddie/Steve's Ghost --

Appreciate the news re: MASN/Nats rights fee stalemate. I accept the premise that MASN is under-managed. Apart from baseball, it has no compelling content, hours of dead air, and production values that go back to 2" open reel video tape. I don't see how they can command rights fees from cable systems/satellite operators or revenues from advertisers that would permit them to pay the kind of fees the Nats are asking for, not to mention higher fees for the Oreos now that they are winning/watchable.

I've always thought the MASN ownership deal was set up not only to ensure a revenue stream for Angelos but also to perpetuate an unbalanced allocation of fees that ignored the relative size of the markets.

I imagine the Nats' lawyers have spent considerable energy trying to devise a litigation strategy that would bust this handcuffed partnership. Siegel was no genius when he came up w/ this plan but I'm pretty certain he didn't envision a business model as retrograde as MASN's.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

bowdenball, Ryan Dempster will be 36 years old next season. He has been reliable and in 2012 he had a DL stint and some skipped starts.

I made this same comment about Roy Oswalt as Oswalt started having back problems at age 34 and it continued.

Lohse has also had a few injuries but has been healthy and pitching his best baseball the last 2 years. Lohse just turned 34 years old by the way.

Anibal Sanchez is the youngest of the Free Agents. He will be 29 years old and Greinke just turned 29 yesterday.

baseballswami said...

About ZNN -- I never felt that he and Suzuki got in sync. When Suzuki first came over, they had a few really, really tough games where there was obvious, very emphatic shaking off and frustration. Things got a little better, but it's my feeling that they never really got it together as a battery. Once they get a fresh start together in spring training, things should be fine. I feel that Gio got better with Suzuki, most of the other pitchers adjusted, but he and JZim just never seemed like a happy partnership to me. I just don't think it was a total coincidence that JZim's results changed right at that particular time. Seems like that relationship is very important and Suzuki came late to the party. Not every pitcher and catcher are going to gel right off. Above posters have noted that the pitching coach, the catcher and the pitcher are all a team when it comes to an approach to hitters.

SonnyG10 said...

JSLSais said...
...But we all know that the Nats offense in both the regular and postseason is the same--consistently inconsistent. They may score a few runs at the beginning but then choke in the later innings. I have always said that the Nats cannot get into a slugging contest with other teams b/c our offense is not only streaky but also seems to stall midway thru a game.


They also sometimes don't get started until late in the game. I think all our hitters are streak hitters. When they are all hot at the same time, its something to behold, but when they are all cold at the same time, they are awful. I think if we had a couple hitters who hit .325 or better, it would tend to even things out a bit.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I feel like a big portion of that $91.65 million that Angelos spent on extending Adam Jones contract ($13 mill/year) came from Washington money.

That disproportionate share of MASN ownership and the fact that over 68% of subscriber fee money is coming from the DC market.

When 2 friends start a business and shake hands and split it 50/50 they do it based on efforts to work towards the business. After time, one parter is making 68% of the revenue vs. 32% for the other and you have to think the 50/50 partnership won't work only in Angelos case he's generating 32% but owns 87%. How unfair is that? Sure, the Nats are making money but they deserve to be big market and rise above 22 of the teams to the top 8 to match their market share which will bring the ability to sign Bryce and Strasburg long-term and get to the point where the Nats can spend near what the Mets and Phillies can.

That's what this media deal means long-term. The Nats have been in a competitive disadvantage. MLB took away their revenue sharing but won't allow the team to get their fair share of the MASN deal.

bowdenball said...

I agree with your age concerns, GoSM, even if he has been healthy and reliable in the past. You seem to favor Anibal Sanchez. I like that too. Added perk is that if he pitches for us he can't pitch against us, which would be nice because he owns us.

Feel Wood said...

I think if we had a couple hitters who hit .325 or better, it would tend to even things out a bit.

That's really asking a lot, seeing as how there were only four such hitters in all of MLB in 2012.

Section 222 said...

Please can we get Anibal Sanchez? He'd fit in with our rotation just fine.

JaneB said...

I keep asking myself this every day ("this" being the title of the post). I haven't been able to watch any of the games...just to look through squinted eyes at the scores on MLB app. Cold turkey on ESPN, too.

I think yes. Homefield advantage would have been so sweet! But I still have moments where I think Game 5 hasn't happened yet. Ugh.

we will be there next year.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I just got an interesting point of view on Michael Morse talking with a former player. He said there is tremendous incentive for Michael Morse who could be a Free Agent for the 1st time to have a big bounceback year.

We have certainly seen that with other players here like Soriano and Dunn having big years prior to turning into a Free Agent.

baseballswami said...

NL games have been battles. Sometimes clutch hitting, sometimes great pitching. AL blah. Public Enemy Number One, Kozma, has lost the last two games for the cards- game five not covering second , game six, error. Good baseball battles. Zito and Vogelsong were awesome. Looking forward to tonight.

SonnyG10 said...

Feel Wood said...
I think if we had a couple hitters who hit .325 or better, it would tend to even things out a bit.

That's really asking a lot, seeing as how there were only four such hitters in all of MLB in 2012.

October 22, 2012 2:38 PM


Oh, I don't mind asking for a lot. I think Harper may achieve that level if he puts his mind to it. Then we only need one more to get what I'm asking for. Of course, I would settle for five or six players hitting at or a little above .300

baseballswami said...

Got home - needed a lift - turned to my nats classic dvr from this morning and forwarded to the end. It was May 4th, first day of the natitude, take back the park campaign, ( brilliant, by the way), a friday night. It was Bryce's first home game, Stras's fifth start. Seems like years ago. No Zim, Morse, or ALR. Ankiel in center, Tracy at first, Lombo at third. Walk off by Ramos in the 11th. Ryan Perry pitched in relief. Remember him? After the game FP said " something special is happening in DC" -- 5 months before the Nats got into the post season. It was fun to watch, I will probably watch more of it later , but it does seem like that was an eternity ago. I wish MASN would do a Nats marathon and play all 100 wins!! Re-watching that game I just saw things differently.

Theophilus T. S. said...

"Of course, I would settle for five or six players hitting at or a little above .300."

See, 1930 Phillies, Team BA .315, including two HOFers. Unfortunately, you also need pitching. Team ERA, 6.71, (W52-L102).

Right now the Nats need pitchers more than they need hitters.

Faraz Shaikh said...

no they don't.

SonnyG10 said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
"Of course, I would settle for five or six players hitting at or a little above .300."

See, 1930 Phillies, Team BA .315, including two HOFers. Unfortunately, you also need pitching. Team ERA, 6.71, (W52-L102).

Right now the Nats need pitchers more than they need hitters.

October 22, 2012 3:50 PM


I don't disagree. But I was not commenting on the Nats most urgent needs. I was giving my opinion on what it would take to smooth out the streaky hitting the Nats have. I'm not even proposing the Nats go after FAs or trades. As I said earlier, I think Harper will hit for average as well as power, and I'd like to see another "in-house" guy step up to hit high average.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Net net, JZ did change his approach in the 2nd inning but he didn't change his pitch selection peppering the zone with 4 seam fastballs."

Exactly.

Zim needs to learn how to change speeds to keep those guys off-balance. In that 7th inning virtuoso performance in game 4, I noticed that he did start off 2 of those 3 hitters with breaking pitches, instead of just blasting FB after FB up to the plate. They were obviously just sitting on his FB and waiting to get one, and he fooled 'em.

Then, when he came with the heat, they couldn't catch up. He may have learned a career-changing lesson in that series. We will see, next year.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Faraz -- set aside your prejudices for a moment. Right now the Nats starters consist of (1) a guy who couldn't pitch a whole season (Strasburg); (2) a guy who didn't start for a whole season (Detwiler); (3) a guy who underperformed (?) the last two plus months of the season; (4) a guy who reverted to the form that may have been the reason he was traded; (5) a deep, dark hole for the last spot. Their top five starters accounted for 68 wins. They may not do that well again, and won't improve the game or two necessary to win another Division championship, unless some of the aforementioned four grow up and someone capable is found to fill the hole.

I might like our four as much as the next guy's four, but you're seeing from SF, StL and Detroit that there are other teams that have four or more really good starters.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hard to win a 5 game series when in three of them the pitchers give up 8,9, and 12.

Gonat said...

For Leyland to place Anibal Sanchez #3 in his rotation behind Verlander and Fister and before Scherzer says a lot of what Leyland thinks as Anibal will be the #3 and possibly the #7.

He either raises or lowers his stock in Free Agency based on his performance in the WS.

MicheleS said...

Sanchez won't pitch a game 7. I have faith (and lust) in the Verlander.

BTW in case i haven't said this recently : GO GIANTS! !!

baseballswami said...

Cards offense is looking a little bit chilly, Michele - we wore them down for the Giants.

Gonat said...

Are Giants smelling blood in the 3rd inning?

Gonat said...

Lohse may end his time with the Cardinals at a lowpoint. That stinks as he had a good postseason until today.

Gonat said...

Unreal. The Cardinals are booting the ball and Kozma looks like a fool.

Karma going 360 degrees.

Gonat said...

So much for bringing in the reliever.

baseballswami said...

Kozma cost the cards 2 straight games- looks like he just added another one. Those of you who are bitter- take note.

MicheleS said...

What comes around goes around. Its biting the Cards in the butt!

MicheleS said...

Maybe this makes Loshe cheaper?

Gonat said...

Again, Karma goes 360. They bragged like spoiled kids rubbing salt in the wounds of NatsTown instead of graciously applauding their opponents.

Baseball has a funny way of humiliating you.

Gonat said...

Kozma throws home when he has a sure out.

baseballswami said...

Although it should not go unnoticed that perhaps a team should not assume that a six run lead early in the game is enough? Ahem.

rogieshan said...

Somehow, I can't see Cain having a Gio-like meltdown with a huge lead.

SonnyG10 said...

If the Cards smell blood in the water now, it is their own. Go Giants















111

Gonat said...

baseballswami said...
Although it should not go unnoticed that perhaps a team should not assume that a six run lead early in the game is enough? Ahem.

October 22, 2012 9:27 PM
___________________________

After the Nats blew that 9-0 lead vs the Braves earlier this year, no way you assume 6-0 is enough.

baseballswami said...

This is just so unexpected.

Gonat said...

rogieshan said...
Somehow, I can't see Cain having a Gio-like meltdown with a huge lead.

October 22, 2012 9:30 PM
____________________________

Agreed, but thats why we watch the game! Let's see if the Cards respond and how Cain reacts.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Cain sat a long time.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Cain sat almost as long between innings as a mini rain delay.

baseballswami said...

The Cards do have quite a history of comebacks. Time someone put a stop to that crap.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Maybe this makes Loshe cheaper?

October 22, 2012 9:21 PM
________________________________

Probably will have some effect as the last impression wasn't a good one although his relief pitcher and fielders didn't help his final line score.

baseballswami said...

Their defense has been atrocious.

MicheleS said...

I really love spastic uncoordinated giraffes. GO PENCE!

feelanau said...

Do joe buck and Tim mccarver not understand that everyone isn't a Cardinals fan? They're shameless homers who shouldn't be permitted to call postseason games involving the cardinals.

Gonat said...

feelanau said...
Do joe buck and Tim mccarver not understand that everyone isn't a Cardinals fan? They're shameless homers who shouldn't be permitted to call postseason games involving the cardinals.

October 22, 2012 9:50 PM
_____________________________

We were saying that last night plus McCarver is a dinosaur.

feelanau said...

And Buck is an insufferable windbag.

baseballswami said...

Terrible coverage. Who has the series? Please tell me it's not these clowns.

Gonat said...

It took the broadcasting crew 2 outs into the 5th inning to give the Giants some credit on their outstanding pitching.

Yah, 3 games ago the Giants backs were against the wall down 3-1 and 1 game away from elimination.

Gonat said...

baseballswami, yep its Fox.

MicheleS said...

Swami. Sorry but it is these two goobs who call the WS. I suggest radio guys from ESPN or local radio

Gonat said...

It seems Matheny only uses Rosenthal in clean innings but what if they brought him in with bases loaded and no outs when the score was 2-0 as they pulled Lohse.

baseballswami said...

Noooooooooo! There are so many people who be great at this. Well, crap.

feelanau said...

I can't decide whether it's worse when the cards are winning or losing. Is it more annoying listening to them gloat or whine, eg, "EVERYTHING is going the Giants way!".

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, Good point on Rosenthal. I thought the same in the 3rd inning. Rosenthal is a K machine.

Gonat said...

That hit Holliday right on that 2011 World Series patch on his left arm.

sjm308 said...

Hey everyone!!

did not read the posts here but the answer to Marks Headline is NO - we would not have won the NLCS because we lost the NLDS. We can't ever win this NLCS. Can't worry about things that can't happen. When we lost game 5 we were done this year. Only thing we can do now is get ready for next year. I refuse to look back or look at what might have been. We lost, that is it. I will watch this game after not watching the others. It is still something that smarts but I need to move on.

Go Nats!!!

Gonat said...

Who thinks on a 0-2 pitch that Cain would intentionally hit Holliday?

baseballswami said...

I don't see Cain letting the Cards get back into this game by retaliating for something long past and done with. Pretty late for retaliation and I don't see him giving them a base with good hitters up and no outs.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

McCarver says it looked intentional.

Gonat said...

baseballswami, that's what I'm thinking but he had a pitch to give in a 0-2 count, and I think he came inside and Holliday reacted late and didn't get out of the way.

I remember something similar with Jason Marquis in 2011.

baseballswami said...

Oh, well then, if McCarver thinks so.......

baseballswami said...

Hey, did you see Bryce and our literary bullpen guys in that commercial?

Gonat said...

Scutaro turns 37 years old next week. After his trade to the Giants he slashed in 61 games:

.362/.385/.473/.859

Sabean picked up Ross who was an X Factor for them the last World Series they won.

MicheleS said...

Lance Lynn = human mop up towel.

Gonat said...

Rosenthal not as great in his 2nd inning of work.

MicheleS said...

Posey gets a hit off Rosenthal. I want to adopt Posey.

baseballswami said...

I know Posey has been struggling at the plate, but he has caught Zito, Vogelsong and Cain masterfully three games straight. Let the rest of the guys carry it.

Gonat said...

Brian Goodwin just hit a single and later scored. O-fers for Skole and Rendon.

baseballswami said...

Gonat- do you know if any afl games will be televised?

Gonat said...

baseballswami, they will have some games on MLB Network once the World Series is over.

Gonat said...

Rendon just singled.

baseballswami said...

Love it or hate it- the all star game really has played out in a big way this year. Verlander lost home field advantage for himself, a Giant was MVP. You never know in July how things might turn out in October.

Gonat said...

Brian Goodwin up with bases loaded and 1 out.

Gonat said...

Goodwin K's

Gonat said...

Cole Kimball in to pitch

NatsLady said...

Cards could have said, "Nats are a good team, a young team. They played us tough. We came out on top but it was a great series and they will be something to see next year." Wouldn't have cost them a dime to say that.

Gonat said...

Cole needs some work. Gave up 1 run. Could have been worse.

baseballswami said...

Yeah, NatsLady - Kharma is nasty.Baseball gods just hate smug.

snopes1 said...

I haven't been able to watch any of the series until I saw the Giants up by 7-0. I've enjoyed it since then.

Now Mr. Skip Schumacher can get an early start on his off-season wondering when his 2013 lesson in baseball etiquette will begin and how many painful opportunities he will have to learn some manners.

"A lot of guys had the bright-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights look. And I'm not going to mention names, but we saw them taking a couple of deep breaths between pitches, and they were up four or five runs. When we saw that, we started talking. We weren't taking any deep breaths. We were the ones trying to push. It felt like we had the momentum, which is crazy to say because we were behind. But it really felt that way."



Gonat said...

A monumental flop by those Cardinals. To be up 3-1 and lose 3 in a row puts the Cardinals in some bad company.

Who is laughing now Kozma and DeScalso?

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Giants! My only regret is that the camera did not show many Cardinals boo-boo faces at the end. Probably a lot of deep breathes being taken there. Anyhoo, going to try to sleep now.

natsfan1a said...

You'll have to get in line behind me and my old friend in California. Oh, and my brother. :-)

MicheleS said...

Posey gets a hit off Rosenthal. I want to adopt Posey.
October 22, 2012 10:30 PM

rogieshan said...

Beltran may be one of the all-time playoff performers, but he's now been part of three NLCS Game 7 losses (Hou, NYM, St.L.). Still no world series appearance.

Well earned, Giants. I will sleep a little better tonight.

NatsNut said...

okay, you caught me. I peeked. And it was a shutout too. Delicious.

SonnyG10 said...

A great win for the Giants. I thought they were going to have to finish the game in scuba gear there for a moment.

Dave said...

The Nats lost game 5 of the NLDS in a heartbreaker, but it's hard for me to say they actually choked. They could've been eliminated in game 4, but they weren't. They were beaten fair and square in game 5 and lost by two runs.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, could have put the NLCS away three different times, but lost game 7 in a 9-0 laugher.

That's what I call choking. Thank you, Giants.

It was very hard for me to get involved in this thread. sjm308 has it right @ 10:12: the Nats didn't have a chance to win the NLCS, because they didn't win the NLDS. Let's look to next year.

baseballswami said...

Dues paid, lessons learned. It wasn't just another series and experience does mean something. The experience box is now checked. Go Nats 2013!!!!!!!

natsfan1a said...

I'm with you on that, swami!

rockytony said...

an impossible hypothesis. Nats fans are completely unaware that this is the playoffs which means all past records are negated and the slate is clean. The Giants weren't supposed to be a "better" team against the Reds, who too had a season winning record. They not only lost three straight but at home to boot. The same for the much favored Cardinals who blew a 3-1 lead. The Nationals had a good team. But they lost and no amount of rationalizing or fantasizing will change anything that happened. The Giants have one more Goliath to stay so stay tuned.

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