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Friday, August 22, 2014

Boswell, WaPo: For streaking Washington Nationals, runs like this don’t come around very often

Long winning streaks are part of the fabric and lore of baseball. They just aren’t part of the fabric and lore of D.C. As a kid, I became a Senators fan in third grade. I was a sophomore in high school, more than seven seasons and 1,100 games later, before I saw my first winning streak of more than five games.

We heard that other towns had streaks that stretched for weeks, not days. The 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row, though with a tie game stuck there. The Cubs once won 21 in a row. But from 1956 through the team’s exodus in ’71, D.C. had only six winnings streaks of more than five games in 15 years. Newspapers hailed anything longer than back-to-back wins as a “streak.” Better use that “Nats Win Streak Hits Three” headline while you still can.

Now times have not only changed but inverted. Go on, get excited. The Nats’ series with San Francisco this weekend is history knocking.

An article that packs a (Douglass) Wallop—and the devil isn’t in these details.

TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. Esoteric Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4777111)
Heh, was just about to submit this article. Well hey -- I would have gotten the "quote" function right, at least! ;-)

Have to say there's nobody I'd rather have on the mound for the Nats to keep the streak going than Doug Fister. Which says something about what a ridiculous steal he was for the Nationals this offseason. Guy missed April and since then has had exactly one bad start - his first one back from the DL. The Nationals have a rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez...and yet none of them inspires nearly as much "we got this" confidence in me as Fister does. Irrational? Probably. But true!
   2. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4777116)
The good news is we've got the Fister. The bad news is we're facing epic Nats-killer Tim Hudson, probably our #1 nemesis.

I'm going to the game tonight, and I'm kind of scared of jinxing this unbelievable karma we've got going.
   3. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4777122)
You can tell the league is really weak because the Nats are winning a lot.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4777150)
You can tell the league is really weak because the Nats are winning a lot.

Right now the Nats are the big fish in a little pond, but that's still a pretty impressive rotation. With the top playoff contenders all having either well-balanced rosters and/or killer aces, this postseason looks more like a crapshoot than ever.



   5. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4777174)
Bullpen is great. Rotation is great. Hopefully Zimmerman will come back in time to stabilize the offense
   6. shoelesjoe Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4777175)
10 wins in a row against two losing teams and the Pirates (who were in the process of losing 9 out of 11 at the time), 7 of them by 1 run. It's a fantastic streak, but how much of it is due to momentary luck of the schedule as opposed to the Nats being that good? They play 9 of their next 12 against teams with winning records, including a tough west coast road trip to LA and Seattle. If they do well during that period then Boswell will have something to crow about.
   7. Esoteric Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4777214)
10 wins in a row against two losing teams and the Pirates (who were in the process of losing 9 out of 11 at the time), 7 of them by 1 run. It's a fantastic streak, but how much of it is due to momentary luck of the schedule as opposed to the Nats being that good?
If anything, it's regression to the mean for the Nats, who have the best run differential in the NL at +102 and finally have a record to match it. Prior to the win streak, they were 13-18 in one-run games; now they're 20-18.

There has been a lot of luck in this most recent streak of wins, but seen on a macro level the Nats now have a record that properly reflects their team peripherals.
   8. Danny Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4777220)
If anything, it's regression to the mean for the Nats, who have the best run differential in the NL at +102 and finally have a record to match it. Prior to the win streak, they were 13-18 in one-run games; now they're 20-18.

That's the gambler's fallacy, not regression to the mean.
   9. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4777262)
10 wins in a row against two losing teams and the Pirates (who were in the process of losing 9 out of 11 at the time), 7 of them by 1 run. It's a fantastic streak, but how much of it is due to momentary luck of the schedule as opposed to the Nats being that good?

Beating up on the bad teams is exactly what a good team should do, and obviously pretty much everyone plays better against bad teams than they do against good teams.

When the "Moneyball" A's had their incredible 20 game winning streak, not surprisingly most of it was against what was then the dregs of the league: teams like Detroit, Cleveland, and Kansas City. It's sort of what you would expect.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4777335)
It's a fantastic streak, but how much of it is due to momentary luck of the schedule as opposed to the Nats being that good?

Perhaps the Nationals are the luckiest team in the league, since they appear to have the only 10-game winning steak (unless I'm using the Play Index incorrectly), but their run differential is twice as good as any other NL team - suggesting that there is more than luck involved.
   11. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4777341)
Yep, still three games under our Pythagorean record too, despite all these recent one run wins.
   12. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4777376)
There has been a lot of luck in this most recent streak of wins

There is always luck involved in a 10 game winning streak. But it's safe to say only good teams have them. It isn't safe to say only great teams have them. But truly bad teams don't win that much.

The Nats look like a fairly safe favorite to come out of the NL (crapshoot caveat, etc. etc.). Assuming they start their starters, of course.
   13. Sweatpants Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4777383)
There is always luck involved in a 10 game winning streak. But it's safe to say only good teams have them. It isn't safe to say only great teams have them. But truly bad teams don't win that much.
Even that isn't safe to say. The 1999 Padres (74-88) won 14 in a row.
   14. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4777405)
The Nats look like a fairly safe favorite to come out of the NL (crapshoot caveat, etc. etc.). Assuming they start their starters, of course.

I see what you did there. :)

You know things are going pretty well when the biggest problem a team has is exactly what they're going to do with Ryan Zimmerman when he comes back, which management helpfully says will happen some time in September (gotta love that kind of specificity).

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