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Friday, August 10, 2012

Handicapping the NL East

The Washington Nationals, today, have a 4.5 game lead on the Atlanta Braves.  They have done this with outstanding starting pitching, mostly.  Heck, they lead the NL across the board.  It’s been impressive, and they have also been fortunate enough to use their five core starters (Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jackson, Zimmermann, Detwiler) for 106 of their 112 games.  That generally is a good thing (he asserts).  The Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds has the Nats at 77% chance of winning the division.  It is quite the rosy picture for Nationals fans.  But is it? 

There are plenty of pieces written and discussions had around the Nationals limiting Strasburg to just 180 innings.  He’s had serious surgery and certainly never worked this many big league innings.  Will Strasburg re-injure his arm?  Can he handle the workload?  If he is going to get “shutdown” at 180 innings, will he be able to get loose again for the playoffs?  Does that 180 IP include what they would want for the playoffs?  These are all fun questions, and the Nats do have, in my opinion, the right guy at the helm to creatively manage the situation.  At least he would have that creativity if he only had to worry about Strasburg.

The Nats have two other pitchers that have only thrown 160 innings in one season in the majors.  Detwiler and Zimmermann are also staring at big jumps in arm wear.  Sixty percent of the Washington rotation is approaching a wall, or a cliff.  Detwiler has made it to 150 innings between the minors and majors, but these are tougher innings.  Zimmerman had TJ surgery and threw a handful of innings two years ago, and then 160 last year.  So, can Zimmermann make the leap to 200?  Is he going to run out of gas? 

I want to be clear - I am not talking about these guys getting injured - I am talking about them getting worn down.  That just means less effective. History is filled with pitchers getting the dreaded “dead arm”, or loss in velocity.  The brainy types like to roll that into a large group and call it “regression to the mean”.  Sometimes it is more than that - it is a pitcher that is tired because he is young and hasn’t developed the staminato throw 200+ innings in the major leagues.  I know what you are saying - everyone doesn’t need to get to 200 IP by a step process.  I agree.  Unfortunately for the Nats, they have three key starters that are looking to make this step, without getting tired and without regressing to the mean too much.

What that means to me is that the Nationals have too many eggs in the baskets carried by inexperienced arms.  If the Nationals have to get too many starts from other pitchers - maybe it is just one a week, it could spell trouble.  With seven weeks to go, 50 games, I think the Braves will chase them down, and win the division.  Will Washington drop all the way out of the playoffs?  It will depend on how they start handling their staff, if they pick anyone up to help shoulder the load, or just how creative Davey Johnson gets to hold the line.

Chris Dial Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:47 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4205862)
This is well hidden
   2. The District Attorney Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4205870)
If he is going to get “shutdown” at 180 innings, will he be able to get loose again for the playoffs? Does that 180 IP include what they would want for the playoffs?
They are saying that the guy is not going to start in the playoffs.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:55 PM (#4205878)
Edit not working... What they actually said, I suppose, is that when he's shut down, it'll be for the year. Given that they won't skip starts either, he will surely hit the mystery limit during the regular season, ergo, will not pitch in the playoffs.

Rizzo:
every injury expert that we have spoken to [says] the effect of shutting a pitcher down and then ramping him back up and having him throw a full go is much more dangerous than having him pitch through the season and shutting him down," Rizzo said.

"You know, there's a lot of different ways you could trick this thing up," he went on, "and a lot of different ways you could try to stretch him out. We want to do what's best for Stephen in the long run. So we're going to let him pitch on a regular routine, get him to an innings limit that he's comfortable throwing and then shut him down, and ramp him back up in spring training to take us to the next level."
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4205881)
The Nationals have a very serviceable John Lannan available to add pitching in September, and for some reason they haven't quite given up on the idea that Chien Ming Wang could get healthy enough to contribute at the end. Washington is 8-4 against Atlanta this year, FWIW.
   5. Shoebo Posted: August 11, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4205992)
Except all of this theory applies to the Braves too.
   6. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: August 11, 2012 at 04:14 AM (#4206006)
They're also turning Ryan Perry into a starter.
   7. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4206070)
What a lot of people probably aren't aware of is that since the Nationals offense really got going on June 26, they have hit about as well as any team in baseball, scoring 229 runs now in their last 42 games.

Truth be told, the offense has actually hit well since their very slow start in April. After that tough first month, they have had a team OPS of around .760 since then, though early on they often couldn't get hits with runners in scoring position to save their lives.
   8. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: August 12, 2012 at 12:05 AM (#4206630)
Your ideas disgust me and I wish to cancel your newsletter.
   9. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: August 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4207028)
Except all of this theory applies to the Braves too.


Really? We're expecting Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Ben Sheets to tire down the stretch due to lack of experience? Odd.
   10. Greg K Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:36 AM (#4207063)
Will Washington drop all the way out of the playoffs?  It will depend on how they start handling their staff, if they pick anyone up to help shoulder the load, or just how creative Davey Johnson gets to hold the line.

In order to miss the playoffs the Nats will have to lose 7 and a half games on the Pirates and 9 games on the Cardinals. At the risk of jinxing them (and being aware of what happened last year), I think they'll be ok.

While I don't think you chalk it up to experience, I do think Ben Sheets at least has the "will he make it to the end of the season?" vibe about him. To a certain degree all pitchers have that, but come on, this is Ben Sheets!
   11. Shoebo Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4207081)
Really? We're expecting Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Ben Sheets to tire down the stretch due to lack of experience? Odd.


Actually it's not about experience.

Yes, Ben Sheets. Workhorse. Reliable. Always posts up.

Paul Maholm has a single season of 200 innings and that was a long time ago.

And what about the other two spots in the rotation ? Which stud proven innings eaters are manning those starts ?

Predicting that the Nationals rotation is going to collapse in a quivering heap of fatigue while the Braves rotation is projected to march through the end of September unscathed and stronger than ever ? Even with the new additions ? THAT is odd.



   12. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4207086)
Really? We're expecting Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Ben Sheets to tire down the stretch due to lack of experience? Odd.

I would expect them to tire down the stretch because they are old.
   13. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4207090)
In order to miss the playoffs the Nats will have to lose 7 and a half games on the Pirates and 9 games on the Cardinals. At the risk of jinxing them (and being aware of what happened last year), I think they'll be ok.

Seriously, the Nationals have the best record in all of baseball by two full games more than 70% of the way through the season, they have the third best run differential in all of baseball, they have won 8 out of their last 9 and 18 out of their last 23, and it's not as though they have a killer schedule the rest of the way (27 out of their last 47 games are at home). To talk about them missing the playoffs completely seems more than a little strange to say the least.
   14. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4207351)
Except all of this theory applies to the Braves too.


So Chris has two central points, if I read him right. Please correct me, Chris, if I've missed something or misinterpreted you.
1) A central part of the Nationals' success to date is the performance of their young pitchers.
2) Those young pitchers are not used to the wear of a full ML season, and there is a specific reason to think that young pitchers will wear down because they don't have that experience.

Therefore,

C) We ought to project the Nationals to do significantly worse the rest of the year, because one of their central strengths may not be there to the same extent.

If that's Chris's argument, it doesn't apply to the Braves in any way, shape or form. Here are some relevant differences:
1) the Braves are not relying on standout performances by their SPs. Their three SPs with the most starts have ERA+s of 94, 82, and 107. Performances like that are a lot easier to find than performances like the Nationals' young studs.
2) the Braves are not relying on any particular SPs. Their five SPs with the most starts have a total of 92 starts between them, out of 114 games.

If you think the Braves have rotation troubles of their own, that's fine; they do. But you've got to make arguments different than Chris's to get that conclusion.

I would expect them to tire down the stretch because they are old.


Granted, Hudson is 36, but Sheets is 33 and Maholm is 30. Of their young guys, Minor has the most work, and he projects to 160 innings (or so my napkin calculations have him). Sheets' arm might fall off, but age and 'wearing-down' is not the big issue here, and their oldest starter is the one with the best record of being a horse.
In any case, the big picture here is that the Braves are a hitting team with pretty good pitching, a lot of it coming in the bullpen. They don't need weirdly good performances by their SPs to keep up their record, and they've got a lot of depth in their starting pitching to get the merely above-average results they need.
   15. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4207357)
I've tried twice to edit for formatting and clarity, but it doesn't seem to work here?

EDIT: or now it does.
   16. Shoebo Posted: August 13, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4207647)
With seven weeks to go, 50 games, I think the Braves will chase them down, and win the division.


That was in Chris's last paragraph. It's not a maybe. It's a prediction. It's a strong one. All I'm saying is the very same thing that he is concerned about for the Nationals rotation could just as easily apply to the Braves. Does anyone other than a Braves fan feel differently ?

Heard one of the talking heads at ESPN mentioning the Braves Bullpen workload has been better than last year, and that might help their bullpen avoid the late season collapse they had last year. If thats true, thats a factor that would certainly help the Braves chase down the Nationals.



   17. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4207658)
The Braves have not cooperated with this theory tonight, scoring one run off of Eric Stultz.

I am biased, but the projection of wear and tear on the Nationals young arms is only conjecture. Sheets and Hudson have had their issues, to say the least, in the past. Hanson is a six inning guy even if healthy. Maholm is a 4th starter. The Nationals have proved they can win on the road; and have everybody back in the lineup. I say they win the division even if Strasburg is shut down in September.
   18. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4207675)
The difference, shoewizard, is that Malholm is 30, and his arm is more mature. He's on the downside (and I wouldn't be surprised if he ran out of gas either), but has averaged 187 IP the last four years (or 181 the last three). Sheets doesn't have to get but to about 100 IP. The only pitcher the Braves have this would apply to is Mike Minor.

What *I* said could *NOT* just as easily apply to the Braves pitchers. You may think they'll breakdown for other reasons, but not the reasons that Nats might.
   19. Shoebo Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4207752)
There are 5 rotation spots. Please complete your analysis, Foghorn. ;)

The reasons that one pitcher or another might tire, fatigue, hit a wall, get deadarm, or even get hurt can vary.

When I said the same could apply to Atlanta, you have a number of different cases. You have a young guy or two that could hit a wall. And you have some vets with a lot of wear and tear and some spotty health track records, to put it politely.

I just don't see the justification for such a conclusive summary point as you gave us.

   20. Esoteric Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:07 AM (#4207782)
Whether or not the Nats' arms break down, it sure ain't going to matter if they keep on hitting at the torrid pace they've set since the All-Star Break. Tonight's assassination of Ryan Vogelsong (hanging eight runs on him in three innings after he'd given up no more than four in any of his outings), with -- so far -- six more off the Giants' relievers is a pretty nice statement in a game that looks like it'll put them up 5 & 1/2 games over Atlanta.
   21. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4207873)
Two inexperienced arms: Detwiler has a spotty health record, but he's pitched over 150 innings a few times, and would only be at around 170 innings because of his stint in the bullpen, probably Zimmermann will be around 190, so a 30 inning bump up isn't crazy. No reason for Gio or Jackson to be hampered as they've pitched a few full seasons and are in their prime. Lannan should be fine, he doesn't even miss starts ever, even if they sometimes aren't very good, he goes through the lineup three times.

The Nats are still missing Desmond, so the offensive juggernaut is not complete yet, and his bat would allow them to rest a regular more often. The only position guy that's a bit over his head on the Nats is LaRoche, and they are going to want to find at bats for Moore anyway to keep him sharp, so he can play 6-8 games at first without a huge dropoff except in defense. Everyone but Harper and Espinosa have missed some time, and there is the depth currently to rest players when needed.

   22. Guapo Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4209499)
Adam Kilgore in the Post today:

If the Nationals go .500 from here on out, the Braves will have to go 27-18, .600 ball, to equal them...

... If the Nationals finish out the string at .500, the Braves would have to play .600 ball AND either the Cardinals or the Pirates would have to finish at least 31-14 to put the Nats on the outside looking in.

Say the Nationals bomb out and go 18-26 down the stretch. The Braves would still have to go 23-22. Atlanta would probably pass them, but they would still win 91 games. Either the Pirates or Cardinals would still have to finish 27-18 to catch them.
   23. flournoy Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4209502)
Yeah, I remember doing that sort of analysis last year. Then the Braves went 10-20 over their last 30 games.
   24. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4209508)
Here's the Nats schedule the rest of the way as of today: 9 against Philly, 7 against St. Louis, 6 each against Atlanta and the Mets, 5 against the Marlins, 4 each against Milwaukee and the Cubs, and three against the Dodgers.

So basically that's just 16 games left against teams that can truly be called good this year, and 28 games left against teams that range from mediocre (at best) to horrible. And 27 out of these 44 remaining games are at home.

How concerned should we be about a Nats collapse with that schedule right there? I say not very concerned at all.
   25. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 16, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4210019)
I think the Braves will chase them down, and win the division.  Will Washington drop all the way out of the playoffs? 

So Dial thinks the Nationals may only be the sixth best team in the National League? Hmm.
   26. bigglou115 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4210175)
How concerned should we be about a Nats collapse with that schedule right there? I say not very concerned at all.


Depends, say the Braves win 4 of the 6 against the Nats. That only gives the Nats a 2 win lead. Doesn't take much of a collapse for the Braves to catch them then. The chances the Nats fall out of the WC are remote, but a scenario were they're two games worse than ATL for the rest of the season and lose 4 of the 6 to them is believable if not probable. If that happens and the Nats lose the one game playoff in the WC game I have to think that qualifies as a disappointment.
   27. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:58 AM (#4213395)
Why didn't the Nationals hold Strasburg out at the beginning of the season instead of the end?

Edited for grammar
   28. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4213479)
Why didn't the Nationals hold Strasburg out at the beginning of the season instead of the end?

I suspect that if they could go back in time and handle the whole situation differently, they almost certainly would. But NOBODY thought before the season that the Nationals were going to be this good this year, least of all the organization itself.
   29. SOLockwood Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4213561)
Why didn't the Nationals hold Strasburg out at the beginning of the season instead of the end?


There were also mundane roster management and service time concerns involved. Not pitching him in April would either mean a) the Nats playing a man short in April, or b) sending him down to the minors thus depriving him of the service time -- which would have led to Boras screaming bloody murder and probably resulting in a greviance from the MLBPA. I'm assuming putting him on the DL would be nixed by the league since he wasn't really hurt.

Whereas in September, it's easy to have the extra starter because of the roster expansion.
   30. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4214408)
Well, the Nats have already won the regular season series and are now 10-4 against the Braves on the season with four left to go, with the Nats leading the total scoring 77-52. In other words, to this point it has pretty much been total domination.

All of a sudden the game on Wednesday looks pretty damn critical for the poor little Braves. Believe me, those bittches do NOT want to leave town with their tail completely between their legs and eight full games back in the standings.
   31. flournoy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4214413)
So what are you trying to accomplish here, besides assuring that if things go wrong for the Nationals, nobody will feel sorry for you?
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4214439)
So what are you trying to accomplish here, besides assuring that if things go wrong for the Nationals, nobody will feel sorry for you?


I'm pretty sure Joey clinched that distinction a long time ago.

   33. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4214599)
Seriously though, if the Nats step on Atlanta's neck again tonight and extend their lead to 8 games with 38 games left to go, Washington's true chances of winning the division have to rise to something like 94 or 95 percent, right? I think it's safe to say that, for the purposes of winning the division, this is now about as close to a must-win game for Atlanta as a team can possibly have on August 22.

And by the way, if the Nationals now win a paltry one out of three games the rest of the season, they end up with 90 wins. And I feel confident to about 98 or 99 percent certainty that 90 wins is going to be enough to get a team into the one game wild card playoff. So take one guess as to just how paralyzed with fear I am right now as to the possibility that we're not going to make it.
   34. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4214621)
Deleted for excessive ##########.
   35. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4214622)
this is now about as close to a must-win game for Atlanta as a team can possibly have on August 22.

Yes.

If the Nats don't make the playoffs, it'll be a collapse of epic proportions. It wouldn't have been without the two wild cards - blowing a 7 game lead with 39 to go would be near-historic but they have a bigger lead than that in the WC.
   36. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4214624)
Also, maybe there is a thread somewhere, but what sort of insanity is it to have this innings limit and then bring the guy back out after a rain delay. Sheesh. If you're not going to use him in the playoffs, there is zero reason to bring him back out after the delay.
   37. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4214636)
Deleted for excessive ##########.


Didn't work. Joey's posts are still there.

Try again!
   38. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4214637)
If the delay had gone on for about another ten minutes or so, he wouldn't have come back out. That's why Rizzo was down there on the field telling the umpires and the grounds crew to get the tarp off the field as fast as possible.

And I'm glad that he did, because you could tell in the first inning or two that Strasburg had some of the best stuff going that he has had all year. Plus the bullpen really needed a fairly easy night.
   39. Esoteric Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4214641)
1.) C'mon Joey -- I defend you quite a bit around here; don't make me look like an ass by getting all triumphal right now. Wait until October for that!

2.) I find it rather hard to believe that a 59m rain delay = Strasburg returns but a 1h1m rain delay = to the hot tub him. It can't have been that mechanical of a deadline. That said, it was absolutely the right thing to bring Strasburg out there to continue pitching, as he was devastatingly effective and fairly effortless at that. The Braves really worked Jordan Zimmermann hard the night before, lots of lengthy ABs that simply wore him down, but they were utterly helpless against Strasburg and by the time the 7th rolled around they just looked demoralized.
   40. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4214648)
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the (hopefully soon to arrive) days when 1) Strasburg has that kind of command on a more consistent basis, and 2) he is FINALLY no longer treated like the world's most precious little baby and is allowed to go deeper than six innings into a game.
   41. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4214653)
I think it is probably not a bad move. My only point is they are very publicly doing something historically over-protective of Strasburg. Shutting down your ace for your first playoff appearance in...ever, is very, very overprotective. I think there is some merit in it, though it isn't the decision I would make.

But if you're going to be that overprotective, then it makes sense you would be the same in all respects and not bringing back pitchers after a delay is well precedented. It just boggles my mind you'd bring your fragile flower out after a delay but not let him pitch in the playoffs. However great he was pitching last night, it was a mid-August game when you have a 6 game lead. Not exactly panic time.
   42. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4214685)
If the delay had gone on for about another ten minutes or so, he wouldn't have come back out. That's why Rizzo was down there on the field telling the umpires and the grounds crew to get the tarp off the field as fast as possible.


Because umpires should be making game time decisions based on what the home team GM is telling them to do.
   43. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4214701)
I'm just glad that Rizzo didn't seem overly worried that Stevie's surrogate daddy Scotty might decide to execute his in loco parentis authority and sue the team for gross negligence and malfeasance for the high crime of asking his pitcher to pitch.
   44. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4214714)
Sure, Joey, but Rizzo has, apparently*, already surrendered in that war. Why fight a battle after you surrender?


* Rizzo may yet back off his plan, who knows?
   45. Kurt Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4214803)
Because umpires should be making game time decisions based on what the home team GM is telling them to do.

No they shouldn't, any more than they should have changed calls on the field based on what Bobby Cox told them to do, but that doesn't make it wrong for Rizzo or Cox to try.
   46. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4215035)
. . . what sort of insanity is it to have this innings limit and then bring the guy back out after a rain delay.

It was a 51 minute rain delay and Strasburg took a couple of stints throwing 10-15 pitches in the batting cage while waiting for the game to resume. Not really much different than the Nationals having two good offensive innings in a row at the same time Strasburg had two easy innings. Seems OK, but perhaps the decision was influenced by the previous game's heavy bullpen usage and extra innings, as well as the opponent.
   47. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4215047)
It was a 51 minute rain delay and Starsburg took a couple of stints throwing 10-15 pitches in the batting cage while waiting for the game to resume. Not really much different than the Nationals having two good offensive innings in a row at the same time Strasburg had two easy innings. Seems OK, but perhaps the decision was influenced by the previous game's heavy bullpen usage and extra innings, as well as the opponent.


I don't disagree with what you say but I think it goes against what seems to be the Nationals' organizational philosophy regarding Strasburg. If you're going to china doll him out of the playoffs then throwing him back onto the mound after an extended delay doesn't seem logical. There are any number of reductio ad absurdum responses that could follow this but I feel like the Nats are already going so overboard with this plan that they're already there.
   48. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4215136)
I don't disagree with what you say but I think it goes against what seems to be the Nationals' organizational philosophy regarding Strasburg. If you're going to china doll him out of the playoffs then throwing him back onto the mound after an extended delay doesn't seem logical.

The Nationals have said that they believe the best thing for Strasburg is to pitch less than 180 innings on a regular 5-man rotation schedule without stopping and re-starting his season. They could be wrong, or as many have suggested, one could argue that they should accept higher risk in return for a better chance at playoff success. However, I'm not sure the Nationals are really being inconsistent by treating a relatively short rain delay as a different level of risk. Apples and oranges, at least to the Nationals.
   49. Shoebo Posted: August 25, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4218250)
   50. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4223166)
Nationals magic numbers at the conclusion of Thursday, August 30:

24 for the one game wild card playoff; 27 for the division; and a virtual tie with the Reds for the best record in the N.L.
   51. Spectral Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4224431)
Well, now we know Strasburg is nearly done (which I still think is an entirely defensible move), but this thread gets more amusing to me each day.
   52. Esoteric Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4224459)
It's Chris Dial, what did you expect?
   53. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: September 05, 2012 at 07:59 AM (#4226864)
Yep, as you correctly noted Eso, Dial is pretty much BTF's Dave Cameron; he says so many incredibly stupid things.

And the magic numbers are dropping like a friggin' stone. Now down to just 16 for the wild card playoff, 20 for the division, and the best record in baseball by one game (not to mention the best run differential in baseball).
   54. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: September 08, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4230117)
Since I wrote this:
Pitcher preERA post-ERA
Zimmermann 2.38 6.29
Strasburg 2.90 4.50
Detwiler 2.99 3.77

Jackson 3.56 3.90
Gonzalez 3.32 1.57

I didn’t count on the offense scoring scoring so much more:
Thru Aug 10 - 4.37 rpg
Since - 5.38 rpg

Those starters hit the wall. The offense picked them up.
   55. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: September 08, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4230118)
Joey B. noted that change in #7.
   56. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: September 09, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4230828)
After the games of September 8, Nationals magic numbers now at 21 for the best record in the league, 17 for the division, and just 11 for the wild card game.

You know what, I'm ready to just go ahead and make my official call: the Nationals are now a 100% lock to at least make the wild card game, and Washington D.C. is going to see postseason baseball for the first time in almost 80 years. It's still almost more like a dream than reality!
   57. Shoebo Posted: September 09, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4230835)
Chris, I wouldn't call 3.77 ERA from Detwiler over a month as hitting the wall. A bit of regression, but thats not hitting a wall. I'll give you Zimmerman and Strasburg. But 3 of their 5 starters have been fine since you wrote your post.

Meanwhile, the Braves ALSO had two starters go downhill since your post...

Sheets got hurt, and before he did, had a 7.71 ERA in 3 starts since you first posted this. He had a 1.41 ERA prior to your post.

Hanson has had a 5.07 ERA since you posted this, up from 4.29

So both teams had 2 starters go bad in the last month. Like I said, your analysis could have easily applied to both teams at the time.

Whats really kept Atlanta in it is a completely unexpected performance from Chris Medlen.
   58. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: September 09, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4230849)
As a rebuttal - Detwiler's increase 0.78 runs, which you called regression, is the same as Hanson's, which seems a little disingenuous. Either the Braves had one (Sheets injury) or the Nats had three. PLUS:

Detwiler also got roughed up last night, raising his mark to 4.01.

My contention ALSO was specific that these three were out of gas, not injured. Sure, the Braves trying to ride Sheets was a risk, but not something they had all season, like the Nats did.

I'd say the pitchers *did* run out of gas. Their offense picked it up (although looking at that change from the start of July would have been smarter) - it's up 25%. And there's still time to lose a seven game lead. As a Mets fan, I am well aware. And any Braves fan knows they can drop like a stone, like last season.



   59. Shoebo Posted: September 10, 2012 at 01:35 AM (#4231370)
disingenuous ? really ?

Ok, maybe you are new at this, so let me try to help. 3.77 ERA = league average, more or less. 5.07 ERA = BAD. Yes, the amount of increase is roughly the same, but one went from well above average to average, and the other went from below average to BAD.

And Chris, I already told you up thread, because you were making a prediction on the outcome of the race, and you were making that prediction based on a downturn in the fortunes of the Nats rotation, you overlooked that there could be a downturn in the Braves rotation too.

You will notice that at NO POINT have I ever contested your theory that some of the members of the Nationals rotation might wear down. What I have contested from the beginning is that this might be the only factor that might impact the race. One potential factor I pointed out is that the Braves could have issues with THEIR rotation as well, which they clearly have. You want to get into fine line distinctions over semantics as to the difference between wearing down, vs. injury or regression. But YOU are the one handicapping the race. And when you did so, you did it in an incomplete manner. Now you want to say "See I was right, they did wear down". But that wasn't really the entirety of the point was it?. The MAIN point, being as you were handicapping the race was:

With seven weeks to go, 50 games, I think the Braves will chase them down, and win the division.



disingenuous indeed.
   60. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4232204)
Now you want to say "See I was right, they did wear down". But that wasn't really the entirety of the point was it?.
Oh, I guess you didn't read teh next sentence:
I didn’t count on the offense scoring scoring so much more:
Thru Aug 10 - 4.37 rpg
Since - 5.38 rpg

That's saying this isn't likely to happen because of the offense.
   61. Shoebo Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4232263)
None of us has a crystal ball. Sure, there was no reason to think their run production would jump a full run. Just like there was no reason to think that Chris Medlen would suddenly turn into Bob Gibson circa 1968. Really what he has done since joining the rotation July 31st is amazing....8 starts, 7-0 record, 0.81 ERA, 7 walks, 53 K's in 55 IP. WOW. Thats more than made up for the Sheets injury and Hanson hitting the wall.
   62. Spectral Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4234716)
Being terribly wrong is no big deal; very smart people are terribly wrong about things in baseball all the time. It happens, and if it didn't the sport wouldn't be very interesting. Being terribly wrong and insisting that you actually got it right anyway, that's actually a problem. I suppose it's true that you were right in the very narrow sense that the starting pitching regressed a bit, that's not false. The thing is, Strasburg was being shut down anyway, so his wear isn't all that relevant, there's no evidence that Zimmermann "wore down" rather than simply hitting a rough patch (his last two starts have been quite good), and Detwiler's peripherals have stayed about the same (he's just getting less luck). More importantly, the punch line of the column was the following:

If the Nationals have to get too many starts from other pitchers - maybe it is just one a week, it could spell trouble. With seven weeks to go, 50 games, I think the Braves will chase them down, and win the division. Will Washington drop all the way out of the playoffs? It will depend on how they start handling their staff, if they pick anyone up to help shoulder the load, or just how creative Davey Johnson gets to hold the line.


This set of ideas has proven to be just plain wrong. It takes some amazing cognitive dissonance to be the writer of that paragraph, read it a month after writing it, and to think, "I got it right".
   63. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4234734)
It reminds me a little of Chip Diller in Animal House yelling "Remain calm, all is well!" as everything is going completely to hell around him.
   64. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4244926)
On the morning of September 25, the magic number to win the division is now down to 5 with 9 games left to go. The Braves have a much easier 9 games remaining than the Nats do, but if the Nats just play reasonable ball, Atlanta pretty much has to win every remaining game to have a shot.

And so far in the month of September, the Nats have 39 home runs and 115 runs scored in 22 games with a team OPS of .841! We are just absolutely killing the ball right now. I really like our chances to take that division title.
   65. Chris Needham Posted: September 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4247930)
Every few days I'm tempted to come along to this one and bump it. But that'd be a total Ahole thing to do. So I won't. Maybe I will in 3 days. Or two, if the Braves crap the bed again.
   66. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: September 28, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4248639)
Yeah, bumping this thread would be a totally dick move, wouldn't it?

P.S.: Nationals magic number to clinch the division now down to just 2.
   67. Esoteric Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4252541)
So....this prediction didn't turn out very well, did it?
   68. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: October 05, 2012 at 07:46 AM (#4254864)
So....this prediction didn't turn out very well, did it?

Nope, not exactly, especially when it was a virtual lock several weeks ago that the Nationals were going to take it.

Frankly, I'm surprised this thread is even still up. They ought to take it down, for poor Dial's sake if nothing else.
   69. flournoy Posted: October 05, 2012 at 08:05 AM (#4254868)
I'm pretty sure that nobody gives a #### except Nationals fans. I'm sure Dial is fine.
   70. OsunaSakata Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4254901)
It would be entirely within the realm of possibility for the Braves to win today, then take three of five from the Nats. I'm sure we'd hear a belated I-told-you-so then.
   71. bunyon Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4254917)
I do think the Braves could easily advance to the LCS. As a Braves fan, I just want to point out that that wouldn't make any difference to this prediction. 1997 still hurts - I'd feel a little bad for the Nats if they suffered the same.

Not so bad that I'm rooting for Washington, mind you.
   72. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4254944)
Frankly, I'm surprised this thread is even still up. They ought to take it down, for poor Dial's sake if nothing else.


This is why everyone on the site, including your fellow Natinal fans, wish you would die in a fire Joey. For the record.
   73. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4254955)
I do think the Braves could easily advance to the LCS. As a Braves fan, I just want to point out that that wouldn't make any difference to this prediction. 1997 still hurts - I'd feel a little bad for the Nats if they suffered the same


You misspelled "laugh and laugh and laugh" as "feel a little bad."
   74. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 05, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4254968)
Chris Dial was wrong! Ha ha ha ha, oh that's so funny.

Really, people care that someone got a prediction wrong? The Nationals are a great story, the Nationals fans here really make me root for them to lose (not that Sam exactly sends me running to the warm embrace of the Braves).
   75. bunyon Posted: October 05, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4254974)
Of course, it isn't like Sam and Joey can hold a candle to the mass sum of annoyance that is BBTF Red Sox fans.
   76. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 15, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4271124)
I guess I was just a week early...
   77. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4271135)
HA!

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