Monday, August 26, 2013

State of the Nats - 8/26

Photo by USA Today
Team Record: 65-65 (24-26)

N.L. East Standings


Wild Card Standings


Offensive Game of the Week: Jayson Werth 8/21 vs. Cubs - 1 for 3, HR (18), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB  

Pitching Line of the Week: Jordan Zimmermann 8/24 vs. Royals - 7.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 SO, 114 pitches, 78 strikeouts

Top Storylines

Can they keep it up? - Winners of 11 of their last 16 games, the Nats enter Monday coming off their best stretch of the 2013 season. They haven't gained much ground on the Reds who hold the final NL Wild Card spot, but they are close to overtaking the Diamondbacks to be the first team out. As Mark explained this morning, it is still very unlikely they can make up enough ground to qualify for the playoffs. It makes you wonder where this type of run was a month ago, or even earlier. But regardless of whether it's enough to put them into the postseason, it's encouraging to see the Nats haven't packed it in and given up on this year.

Dog days of the NL East - The Nationals play their next 26 games against division rivals, a stretch that will take them all the way until their final two series of the season. Over the next month they'll play the Marlins three times, the Mets and Phillies each twice, and the Braves for one final matchup of the 2013 season. Most of those teams, of course, are behind the Nats in the standings and it should present an opportunity for Washington to continue their recent surge. It may not be enough to make the playoffs, but a winning season, or perhaps as many as 85 wins by the end of the year, aren't out of the question.

Strasburg to set career-high - At 156 innings pitched so far this season, Stephen Strasburg is likely one start away from setting a career-high. Last year he was shut down at 159 1/3 as part of his recovery from Tommy John surgery and he should easily surpass that mark this season. How Strasburg fares over the next month will be interesting to watch as this is new territory for him. The goal for this season remains 200 innings and hitting that milestone should set him up to be the durable ace he wants to be.

Will Haren be traded? - The Nationals have already made a pair of trades via the waiver wire, acquiring David DeJesus and then promptly sending him to Tampa. But they still have Dan Haren who has cleared waivers and is currently on the trading block. Haren has a 2.53 ERA since he returned from the disabled list in July and may interest a team in the playoff hunt. A report has surfaced the Nats are seeking multiple prospects for Haren, which sounds high. We'll see if their asking price will come down to meet an offer. 

Quote of the Week

Bryce Harper on his baseball teams growing up:

"Earlier in my career, when I was younger? We never lost. We were the best team in the country. We never lost, ever. I've never been on a losing team or anything like that. It's never been tough or anything like that. I've never lost, ever."

Tweet of the Week

Road Ahead

Mon. – OFF
Tue. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Ohlendorf)
Wed. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Strasburg)
Thu. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Gonzalez)
Fri. – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Zimmermann)
Sat. – 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Haren)
Sun. – 8:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Ohlendorf)

28 comments:

natsfan1a said...

Dang, that kid does it all. ;-)

Tweet of the Week said...

Bryce Harper ✔ @Bharper3407

Flying the plane tonight! #thankscap pic.twitter.com/pHiHp7A1Vo
10:17 PM - 25 Aug 2013

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Good thing there are no walls at 30,000 feet.

NatsLady said...

Great pic of Harper. Hope he feels ok!

Nats Stats for Week 21 (best players, etc.)

Nats Stats

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/08/nats-stats-week-21.html

SonnyG10 said...

Being as I want to see the Nats win as many games as possible this year, I wouldn't mind if Haren doesn't get traded. But if we get a hot prospect or two, I could live with one of our babies filling in the rotation spot.

Candide said...

Chase said...perhaps as many as 85 wins by the end of the year, aren't out of the question.

With 65 wins as of today, they'd need to go 20-12 in the remaining 32 games. Not impossible, but that's two steaks of 10-6 (or the equivalent) in a row, and somehow, I don't see the smart money betting on that happening.

Though that would be nice to see, not because it would get them into the playoffs - it wouldn't - but because of what it bodes for next season. Bill James did a study years ago when he was still doing his annual Baseball Abstract that showed a strong correlation between how teams finished this year and how they started next year.

m said...

I can understand Mark Z suggesting that the team should be congratulated on its recent play but one cannot excuse the horrendous effort put forth in the bottom of the 8th inning yesterday. There is simply no excuse for such poor play. This team is mentally out of shape. As matter of fact this team was never mentally ready to play this year.

Ivan Tuski said...

m said said-"showed a strong correlation between how teams finished this year and how they started next year."
Well that would certainly stand up to how we performed the previous two seasons. We finished exceptionally strong in 2011 and went on to have an incredible 2012. In 2012 we limped in to the playoffs and have had this very sad season.

Ivan Tuski said...

I wonder if any any of our recent surge has anything to do with the change in hitting coaches?...

m said...

Ivan:

M did not say that.

bowdenball said...

m said...

"I can understand Mark Z suggesting that the team should be congratulated on its recent play but one cannot excuse the horrendous effort put forth in the bottom of the 8th inning yesterday. There is simply no excuse for such poor play. This team is mentally out of shape. As matter of fact this team was never mentally ready to play this year."

Interesting factoid: The Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Pirates and Dodgers have not had a pitcher slow to cover first base all season. They also haven't had any infielders boot grounders.

Theophilus T. S. said...

FP said, during Friday's game, there had been a new emphasis on working pitchers into longer counts "over the past several weeks." (Close enough to put quotes around it.) Of course, that coincides with the change in hitting coaches. On the other hand that's a common sense approach that I thought the Nats were trying to teach all along. And I don't know that I've seen much of a change, except, possibly, Desmond being a bit less swing-happy.

If the better hitting has anything to do with the change in hitting coaches it has to be hearing the same thing from a different voice.

Who's been hitting better -- recently? Span (explanation: learning the league?); Harper (feeling better?); Desmond (hacking less); Rendon (adjusting to adjustments); Moore (Syracuse). Difficult to see much of any hand of Schu in there. Especially as LaRoche continues to struggle and Z'man continues to teeter around his career low (.266).

Tcostant said...

Doc is back with the Phils, another think to thing about...

baseballswami said...

I feel that we have been seeing smarter at bats.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

baseballswami, other the 3-0 automatic green light, I would agree.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Phenoms Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez were both scheduled for early shutdowns but Harvey may be done now if his MRI shows any inflammation.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I hate the 3-0 green light... Its such a tricky count.. I always think about Jayson Werth and his 3-0 hit when he grounded the ball right to the SS... ugh....

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Harvey has been hurt for a while, hasnt he? I swear that same conversation went on like last month...

NatsLady said...

NY radios (WFAN) is reporting it's torn UCL.

Went back to 1996 and checked what it takes to win the 2nd WC. Most years 88-89 wins. Here are the years with less than 88. In 2012, 88 did it.

2009 87 AL
2006 85 NL
2003 87 NL
2001 85 AL
2000 86 AL
1999 87 AL
1997 84 AL
1996 85 AL

NatsLady said...

Has anyone ever researched whether LHP's need TJ less often than RHP's? I am thinking of Gio and Det.

baseballswami said...

Harvey has a partially torn UCL. Not known yet if he will have TJ, but shut down.. Get it over with, Matt. Look at Giolito-- on the road back and still young. I cannot wait to see that kid pitch.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, the initial report was tenderness in the elbow which NYM fans saying that was the easy route to shut him down as if there wasn't anything wrong with him.

If its a UCL, that changes the whole Mets picture for next year.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Agreed. Baseballswami. It's just putting off the inevitable.

baseballswami said...

Press conference on MLB in five minutes. Poor kid- would not wish this on anyone. The day of Jordan's diagnosis I almost cried.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The swiftness of the report is incredible. We're not used to that in NatsTown.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The kid is a fireball pitcher not a guy in a desk job. The posturing in the press conference has started and the revelations about previous problems shows they have a lot to answer.

3on2out said...

That is a pitching line! Jordan Zimmerman: 78 strikeouts in 7.2 innings!!!

sjm308 said...

test

Ron In Reston said...

Um....did the blog move and not leave a forwarding address? ;)

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