Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats in Game 7 after getting swept at home: who thought we’d be here?


HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29:  Dave Martinez #4 of the Washington Nationals argues with umpire Gary Cederstrom #38 as he is ejected and is held back by Bob Henley #14 against the Houston Astros after the top of the seventh inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775425079 ORIG FILE ID: 1184288825

Martinez really didn’t like the call last night :-).  Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images via

After getting brutalized in a home sweep that cost the fan base a lot of momentum and positive thoughts, who came to our rescue in one of the best games I’ve ever watched?

Stephen Strasburg, that’s who!

In what might now be the seminal performance of his career, Strasburg pitches into the 9th against one of the most stacked lineups ever put together (and that’s not hyperbole; by team wRC this is the best offense since the famed 1927 Yankees), recovering from two early runs to put down the Astros time and again, including an amazing streak against their top 6 hitters in the 7th and 8th to help keep the game out of reach while the offense came around and finally broke through after three straight games of ineptitude.

What a game.

We’ll have a crowd-sourcing discussion after the season ends on where to possibly “rank” all the games we’ve now lived through this post season.  For 15 years we’ve clung to regular season games and non-series winning games as our “top ever games,” but now we have a slew of 2019 post-season performances to choose from and it’ll take some thought.  But I’ll tell you how: last night’s game is going to be up there.

As for tonight?  The salient fact I keep pointing out to doubting friends: the Nats are now 9-0 this post-season when Strasburg or Max Scherzer starts.  9-0.  And Guess who goes for the Nats tonight?  Now, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be the same Scherzer … not sure why he was in the bullpen throwing last night if he couldn’t move his arm two days ago, but perhaps he was just trying to work off stress.  Nonetheless, i’ll be shocked if he goes 5 tonight.  But we’ve got a huge advantage thanks to Strasburg’s start; our bullpen threw a collective 11 pitches last night.  Daniel Hudson is fresh, as is Tanner Rainey and Patrick Corbin (god help me if he gets in for more than a token appearance tonight), and Sean Doolittle was barely taxed.  meanwhile Houston had to put innings on half their pen, including most of the guys they’d bring in to spell tonight’s starter Zack Greinke if he runs into trouble.

I thought the Nats could win this in seven.  I certainly did not think the first six games would be won by road teams.  But here we are anyway.  Can’t wait to watch tonight!


Obligatory opinions on “the Turner play”

You can make a simple argument that, because the ball hit Turner and he wasn’t in the runner’s box, that he is out.  By the letter of the law (rule 5.09(a)(11)) that’s the case.  Fair enough.  But its still a judgement call.  Just because you aren’t in that box, doens’t mean  you’re automatically out.


  • Turner had no intent of interfering with that throw
  • Turner ran in a straight line from where he hit the ball to 1B, which is kind of problematic, especially since a runner has to come BACK into fair territory to hit 1st even if they’re in the correct box while running.
  • Its a shitty rule that MLB, long before this play, has recognized is problematic but, because baseball, they havn’t fixed yet.
  • The play basically rewards the defensive team for a poor throw to first, which is counter to the rules in general; aren’t you supposed to penalize the team that has played poorly, not the reverse?
  • I’m pretty sure Turner beat that throw anyway; how can you interfere with a play after you’ve reached base?  At worst you declare the play dead and put runners on first and second.
  • All of this said … I still can’t believe the umpires chose to insert themselves in this large of a manner into this game, after all the strike zone shenanigans from Game 5 AND an umpire basically admitting he purposely took a strike away from a Nats pitcher to “spite” the catcher for some reason.
  • MLB is probably thanking their lucky stars it didn’t affect the outcome of the game.

Anthony Rendon‘s homer right afterwards was a big middle finger to karma.  And just like that, the Nats had their mojo back.

Lets hope it rolls into tonight’s game 7.



Written by Todd Boss

October 30th, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Nats in General

12 Responses to 'Nats in Game 7 after getting swept at home: who thought we’d be here?'

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  1. Let’s go 1-0 today!

    Regardless of the outcome, I’ll love this team forever.

    Greinke allowed 10 baserunners in his Gm 3 start. The Nats just didn’t get them home. He’s shaky. However, I would not be surprised by two or three relief innings from Cole.

    I have no idea what to expect from Max, other than he’ll give everything he’s got, whatever “everything” might be. I’m actually glad he warmed up some in Gm 6 to give both him and Davey a better idea of whether he’s actually good to go today.

    Is Stras up for a couple of batters tonight, or a couple of innings? Pad the legend even more in Walter Johnson (1924)/Randy Johnson (2001) fashion?


    30 Oct 19 at 2:49 pm

  2. I’ll admit that Max’s health is the only thing that really worries me. I hope he genuinely feels great rather than just saying he does because he wants the ball. If he’s anything less than 100%, I’d rather take my chances with Sanchez. We’ll know the answer pretty quickly, because if he’s pitching hurt the Astros are going to light him up early.


    30 Oct 19 at 4:26 pm

  3. Boswell had a great line about Grinke “he’s uncomfortable with the bright lights when he’s alone in the room”

    Mark L

    30 Oct 19 at 6:36 pm

  4. If the Nats win tonight, WS Gm 7 will go to #1 on the all-time games list, even if it’s a blowout. Until then . . .

    1. NLDS ’18 Gm 5; 2. WS ’18 Gm 6; 3. Wild Card ’18; 4. NLDS ’18 Gm 4.


    30 Oct 19 at 7:53 pm

  5. I’m just looking at what it’s going to take to keep Stras. I’m not too worried about him leaving, as he’s already passed on his chance for the super-duper payday, but they’re going to have to extend him and probably raise his AAV.

    Currently, Stras still has 4/$100M remaining on his contract. That only takes him through his age-34 season (turning 35 that July), so adding a couple of years shouldn’t be too risky. If Boras pushes for a seventh year, I’d try to make it an option/buyout year, although the buyout guarantee may have to be hefty ($10-12M or so).

    So what would it take? I’m guessing 6/$180M will probably start the conversation.

    Of course they also have to pay Two Bags . . . and come up with that 15-year contract for Magic Juan . . .


    30 Oct 19 at 8:25 pm

  6. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    30 Oct 19 at 11:52 pm

  7. Unbelievable.


    30 Oct 19 at 11:52 pm



    30 Oct 19 at 11:53 pm



    31 Oct 19 at 12:26 am

  10. I’m so happy I cried


    31 Oct 19 at 12:35 am

  11. Stunned after watching this team in Games 3,4,5.

    Mark L

    31 Oct 19 at 8:57 am

  12. I’ve been following baseball since I was a kid, and this is only the second time the primary team I followed has won the World Series, and the time that I’ve actually lived in the area. Long time coming!

    I’m sorry that Todd has struggled to have time to keep up with things here this year, as this has pretty much been my prime Nats community, and I share this with all you folks with whom we’ve debated roster construction, bullpen disasters, and everything else for the past several years. Hard to believe that the Nats FINALLY did it!

    In some ways, it’s sort of easy now to see why, in retrospect, though. This is just a better, deeper team than any of the earlier ones, particularly when it comes to the second-tier guys who aren’t afraid of the big moments. The fact that we’ve held up the Werth walk-off eight years ago for so long speaks to the fact that previous Nat teams just weren’t able to come up with many other big hits in the postseason. In the 2019 postseason, we’ve got a two-page list of them.

    So hail to the champions. Our bullpen still sucks, and in a few weeks, we can again start fretting over what we’re going to do about it, but the flag will fly FOREVER!


    31 Oct 19 at 10:23 am

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