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Monday, September 03, 2012

WaPo: Boswell—Strasburg shutdown? Nats can still be a playoff powerhouse

In a weak year among NL powers, the Nats will seldom have a smoother path to a pennant. Look at the pitching hegemony the Nats would have brought to bear in the postseason when all teams use four starters. They’d have four of the top 15 in ERA among all starters in the NL. Only one NL team has more than one such pitcher (the Giants).

Also, the Nats would send out four of the top 15 NL starters in WHIP (walks and hits per inning), as well as four of the top 21 in lowest OPS (on-base-percentage plus slugging).

Finally, the Nats would have an overpowering staff with four of the top nine average-fastball-velocities in the NL. That’s almost insane.

On top of all that, the Nats would finally, if they stay intact, have their best seven hitters at the top of their lineup and their entire seven-deep bullpen all healthy at the same time. All season the Nats have waited for this full complement of top players. All in all, it’s a mighty powerful mixture.

Too bad: After 79 years waiting, we’re left with “might have beens.”

Oh, I’m sorry. I seem to have made a minor mistake in my calculations. The team I have just described is the Nationals without Strasburg.

Uncharted autumn waters on the Potomac? Boz says even without Stras, the good ship Curly W should sail just fine, thank you.

TerpNats Posted: September 03, 2012 at 08:25 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. JE (Jason) Posted: September 03, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4225456)
I am happy for Nats fans, but a small part of me will LOL if in mid-September Zimmermann or Gio comes down with a season-ending injury.
   2. boteman Posted: September 03, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4225502)
You mean like "can't find the strike zone-itis"?

There have been recent murmurs that Zimmermann's pitching shoulder is giving him some discomfort, which he denies, of course. Gio runs on pure sugar it seems, so he'll be OK. E-Jax is a roller coaster ride and I believe Detwiler is over his head at this point in the season.

But what do I know?
   3. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4225518)
I;m more optimistic on Detwiler. He has not had many bad outings and appears more composed this year. But Zimmermann's last concerns me a little, although the Cardinals can do that to you.

If the Nationals win the Series (!) without Strasburg, Rizzo will reach legend status here.
   4. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: September 03, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4225598)
In a weak year among NL powers...


Look. Exactly what I've been saying all year.
   5. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: September 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4225644)
As a fan of a team that could conceivably meet Washington in the World Series, I fully endorse shutting down Strasburg. And Zimmerman. And Gonzalez. Hell, shut down the whole team and bring up the entire Syracuse roster. It's the right thing to do.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4225650)
Bryce Harper is hitting .215/.284/.376 since the All-Star Break.
   7. Natty Fan Posted: September 03, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4225695)
#6: Harper fell into a deep slump after the All-Start break and looked helpless at the plate much of the time. Since returning from a long road trip on on August 17, he's gone .310/.344/.655 in 15 games(through yesterday), and he looks balanced and in control (for the most part) at the plate. I don't think Harper will put up his gaudy May-June numbers going forward, but I do think he'll be a major contributor for the remainder of the year.
   8. boteman Posted: September 03, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4225698)
With the resurgent Orioles only 1 game behind the mighty, mighty Yankees this pennant race is getting delicious for me. Could we be looking at a B-W Parkway World Series?
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4225700)
I don't think Harper will put up his gaudy May-June numbers going forward, but I do think he'll be a major contributor for the remainder of the year.

Even if his hitting is a bit off, Harper can make an impact in the field and on the base paths. He's still a work-in-progress, but a true 5-tool talent.
   10. boteman Posted: September 03, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4225717)
When Harper cooled off, it seemed he absolutely could not lay off the hard pitch down and in, he'd hack away at it with endless futility. Similar, but less so, with down and away pitches. Lately he's changed his approach at the plate enough that he's letting the worst of those pitches go for called balls and making solid contact. I just checked his 2012 BB rate and it's better than the team walk rates of those that I checked, so I guess I should shutup about that.

Once he gets on base, look out defense because he's a terror on the base paths. This is gonna be fun.
   11. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 03, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4225754)
With the resurgent Orioles only 1 game behind the mighty, mighty Yankees this pennant race is getting delicious for me. Could we be looking at a B-W Parkway World Series?

Even from the perspective of a lifelong Yankee fan, that matchup would be the sporting event of my lifetime, though I wouldn't bet on the O's to get by any of those three ALW teams and probably not the Rays.

But if by some miracle an O's-Nats WS did take place, it might actually perform the even greater miracle of pushing the goddam Redskins off the front page of the Post for at least four straight midweek days.

(Okay, two days, anyway. I don't want to exaggerate.)
   12. Joey B. Posted: September 03, 2012 at 08:43 PM (#4225784)
Bryce Harper is hitting .215/.284/.376 since the All-Star Break.

Oh my God, he's only the third best 19 year old in the history of baseball? Execute him!
   13. Joey B. Posted: September 06, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4228037)
More fun with selective endpoints: Bryce Harper is hitting .333/.375/.742 in his last 18 games (since August 17).

By the way, both B-R and Fangraphs are in agreement that Harper is now the second best teenager by Wins Above Replacement in MLB history, behind only Mel Ott.
   14. Chris Needham Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4228056)
It's been interesting watching him finally counter adjust.

During that long slump, what had happened was he was trying to adjust to the steady diet of slop he was getting on the outside corner. For a long time he had the highest % of offspeed pitches thrown to him of any batter. He just wasn't seeing fastballs.

Then once he became so outside conscious, he was susceptible on the inside pitch. He started getting more inside fastballs and either was freezing on them, or hitting them weakly.

Over the last 2-3 weeks, he's gotten a handle on those pitches. So he's learned how to work both sides of the plate and has a better handle on what types of things to expect in certain situations. It really has been cat-and-mouse all year... but the more types of pitches and types of scenarios he sees, the better he's going to be able to handle the ensuing adjustment pitchers make.
   15. Joey B. Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4228087)
Now that the Nats get to play the Cubs only once more (*sniff*), Conigliaro's 24 home runs are probably out of reach. He might well make a run at it though.
   16. Bourbon Samurai Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4228096)
The 2nd home run he hit yesterday was a monster. It was a mistake pitch but he just obliterated it.

Were I Davey, I'd consider skipping Zimmerman for a start. Throw ol' Wang out there to get pounded. We've got a massive lead and Zimmerman looks tired.
   17. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4228112)
Throw ol' Wang out there to get pounded


This doesn't sound right on several levels.

Harper looked pretty good last night albeit against the Wichita Cubs staff.
   18. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4228122)
Prior to Tuesday the Nats hadn't hit more than five home runs in any single baseball game. Now they've hit six of them two days in a row.

It's good to play the Cubbies.
   19. Chris Needham Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4228126)
Skip a young pitcher still recovering from Tommy John surgery??? Don't you know that'll ruin the rest of his career???

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