A week ago, at the beginning of this west coast trip, I thought the team might end up going 2-5 between LA and SF. They faced two good teams on the road against good pitching.
I was wrong. They went 1-6. What a Disaster. Scherzer and Gonzalez both laid massive eggs in games where the Nats held a rare and clear SP advantage (over Vogelsong and Cain respectively) and the team squandered games where the offense uncharacteristically scored more than 1 run (5 and 6 respectively in consecutive losses). It was no surprise they got shut out by Kershaw, Greinke and Bumgarner … but they had no excuse to lose to these other stiffs.
Amazingly, we’re mid-August and this team has gone 10 and 20 since the all-star break. 10 and 20. Yes they’ve faced some tough pitching, but a playoff team should at least go .500 against a good team throwing good arms. This team has not; it has completely folded.
Dave Cameron at fangraphs.com summed up things a lot better than I could. He has a table of 2014 and 2015 WAR figures that’s pretty amazing. He also has the playoff odds for both Washington and New York and what they’ve done over the past few weeks and that’s pretty amazing too.
The Nats are 58-59. Amazingly despite a 6 game losing streak the Mets also fell on their faces this weekend and the Nats didn’t lose much ground in the race. But they’re 4.5 back with 6 weeks to go and need to step it up.
They now have 6 straight games against two bad teams (Colorado and Milwaukee). Can they salvage their season and actually win some of these games?
What is wrong with this team? Is it just everyone unluckily under performing all at once? Is it the Manager? Is it the frigging Papelbon trade? I don’ t mean to find some “arbitrary endpoints” but consider:
- Nats Record before Papelbon trade: 52-46
- Nats Record since: 6-13
- Storen’s ERA before the trade: 1.73 in 36 1/3 innings
- Storen’s ERA since: 10.38 in 8 2/3rds innings.
- Papelbon’s entire contribution since arriving: 5 IP in 5 games, 2 saves.
Could just be a coincidence. Demoting a popular, home grown player who was having a great season with a blow-hard attitude guy couldn’t possibly be a reason for a team that has shown itself to be mentally fragile in the past to shut it down, right?