Nationals Arm Race

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

11 games over .500, 4 1/2 games back.


For the most part, I gave up on this team in mid July.  Told my buddies they didn’t have it.  Still have the email to prove it.

Today they swept the best team in the NL throwing a guy who at one point was the worst qualified pitcher in the league by most statistical measures (Dan Haren) and throwing another guy who at one point this year was demoted out of the AAA rotation (Tanner Roark).  Roark and Haren combined for 13 innings and gave up a combined total of 1 run and 5 hits.  Amazing.

At what point do we say that Roark is more than just a fluke?  He’s now thrown 41 2/3 innings and given up 26 hits, 9 walks and 5 earned runs.  And gotten 7 wins.  As many as Stephen Strasburg, if you believe the “Win” statistic is indicative of anything.

Is there actually a chance after this team has underperformed so badly for 130 games that they could possibly make a race out of this?  Am I really going to check out the Reds’ remaining schedule tomorrow to see how tough it is?

Yeah I think so.

Written by Todd Boss

September 17th, 2013 at 9:26 pm

6 Responses to '11 games over .500, 4 1/2 games back.'

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  1. It has been fun, that is for sure. It would be nice if the Reds were playing a major league team right now, but we get the Marlins, so fair is fair, I guess.

    Roark – I don’t know the answer to your question about moving beyond a fluke, but I’ll happily take everything he has right now.


    18 Sep 13 at 8:17 am

  2. Some context for the Roark statement; in today’s WP stories LaRoche was quoted as asking opposing hitters what they thought of Roark’s stuff and the comments were rather glowing. Take that for what it’s worth, but maybe the team has a find here. If Roark turns into 2014’s version of Ryan Vogelsong (long suffering minor leaguer who suddenly becomes a near-all star level pitcher) that really, really opens things up for this team in terms of off-season planning.

    The Nats should have the pitching matchup in every one of the 4 games versus Miami; the only decent pitcher they have left is Jacob Turner and he has to go against Strasburg. The tough game there may be Sunday, when Dan Haren goes again (I just don’t trust that guy; one day he’s lights out, the next he’s “watch out”). But then if the rotation holds our three hottest/best guys will start in STL (Roark, Gonzalez, Stras). Unfortunately for us, STL is probably going to still be battling for the division title and won’t be showing any end of season letdown/rest starters/get rotation in line for playoffs.

    Definitely exciting to see what will happen for the next 2 weeks.

    Todd Boss

    18 Sep 13 at 8:25 am

  3. Cincinnati’s last 10 games: one more in Houston, 3 in Pittsburgh, 3 at home vs the Mets then 3 to finish the season at home vs Pitts. Hmm.

    A realistic expectation of Cincy’s performance in these 10 games is probably 6-4. Win in Houston, take 1/3 in Pit, 2/3 vs Mets, 2/3 vs Pit at home. That basically means the Nats have to win out, 11 straight games to catch up. Tough task.

    Todd Boss

    18 Sep 13 at 8:31 am

  4. Nats pretty much have to win out to have even a slim chance, a very tall order. Interestingly, they’re playing so well that if they do make the playoffs, they could go far.

    But I’m glad they’re now showing some grit, the benefits of which will carry them over the off season. Always nice to end the season on an upnote.

    The Old Boss

    18 Sep 13 at 10:27 am

  5. Here’s a fantasy for you: the Cards go on a skid the the five dayas–somehow losing four to Colorado and Milwaukee. A fired up Nats team then avenges last year’s NLDS loss by sweeping the NL’s Yankees in St. Louis. Tied entering the final series of the year, Nats win two against AZ, Cards only one against their archrival Cubs, who are fired up to be the spoilers. Meanwhile Pittsburgh and Cincinnati split 3-3. Nats secure the WC, Cards go home. 2012 playoff loss avenged.

    God, I’m getting giddy with silliness.

    On Roark: I don’t think it’s a fluke. Dude can hit, what, 94 on the gun? He may not end up a 4th ace (though wouldn’t that be something?), but I’d take 180 IPs of 3.60 ERA at the league minimum salary for the next couple of years. Sure beats the $13 million disaster they threw out there this year.


    18 Sep 13 at 12:40 pm

  6. Yeah that’s crazy talk 🙂

    We still have 2 Haren starts to weather. And Ohlendorf tonight. Its going to be really hard to go 9-2 or 10-1 like they really need to do to keep the pressure up.

    Starting pitching: here’s a thought; team flips Detwiler and goes with Jordan AND Roark in 4/5 next year, with Karns in AAA as first line of defense, and with Ray, Cole and Solis in AA as options 2, 3 and 4 in case of injuries.

    Todd Boss

    18 Sep 13 at 1:34 pm

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