Welcome back to the latest in a series, in which we review the previous week in Nationals baseball and power rank the players according to their performance. This is an extremely unserious exercise; at no point should it ever be confused with actual baseball analysis. Don’t worry, I will do my best to make sure that is obvious. Without further ado: your Washington Nationals, ranked according to power.
1. Daniel Murphy. The only one of the Nats’ splendid splinters to retain white-hot status, Murphy now owes rent because he was living on base in the Bay Area. Murphy hit .500 in six games (14 for 28) and drove in seven runs. Turning yourself into Rogers Hornsby after the age of 30 was a pretty nifty trick, Murph. Well played.
2. Koda Glover. Don’t let that Sunday appearance fool you. Your New Closer did not have enough chance to get hot before entering in the 8th before throwing a few high leverage pitches, then had to sit while his offense pounded out five runs, and then re-entered the game. Glover was dominant all week and slammed the door multiple times, the first Nat to do so in 2017. Getting leads to Glover will continue to be a minefield, but things look promising on the back end with the emergence of the nasty right-hander.
3. Tanner Roark. 14 IP, 1 R, 14 K, 2 wins.
4. Max Scherzer. 9 IP, 1 R, 11 K, 1 win.
5. Stephen Strasburg. 7 IP, 2 R, 7 K, 1 win.
6. Gio Gonzalez. 6 ⅓ IP, 3 R, 6 K, 1 win.
Is that good? That seems good.
7. The Bench. As Nationals outfielders drop like flies—for reasons either season-ending, nagging, or rule-breaking—different players stepped up this week to fill their shoes. Brian Goodwin is playing sparkling defense in the outfield and launched his first major league home run. Michael A. Taylor is death to flying things and appears to be learning how to reliably punish mistakes at the plate. Adam Lind is submitting one of the better bench seasons in the league right now. Regular time off will be key to spell some of Washington’s talented-but-brittle veterans, and their substitutes are willing and able to give them a breather right now.
8. Joe Ross, future reliever. The two biggest weaknesses for this team are every fifth game when Joe Ross has to start, and every close game when the team has a lead. Let’s kill two birds with one stone, shall we? Ross lacks: stamina to go deep in games, a third pitch to work through lineups multiple times, and a weapon to attack left-handers. He has a live arm and a wicked slider, and will have a long and lucrative career as a major league relief pitcher. It should begin soon.
9. The Legend.
10. The Dustup. It happened on Monday and almost feels like ancient history, but how could I not write about one of the most memorable moments in the Harper era? The correct takes have all been nailed down by now: Hunter Strickland is an aggro moron, Harper was rightly aggrieved but needs to work on his mound-charging techniques, etc.
The sport needs to rid itself of the element of hothead pitchers throwing the equipment at their opponents simply because they were bested in competition. When Klay Thompson hits a few threes in a row, Kyrie Irving does not get to peg him with the basketball. Pitchers enacting violence — either because of their own performance or because of hitters showboating — is not acceptable anymore and needs to end; it is a relic, an anachronistic black eye on the sport that turns fans off.
That said, hooooooly shit that brawl was so friggin’ cool, so let’s power rank the best moments.
1. Bryce Harper’s terrible helmet toss. By far the best moment, the thing we will all remember in the future. Bryce Harper’s terrible helmet toss is a part of basebrawl lore now.
2. Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner takin’ it easy. When a couple of famous redasses are not coming to your defense, man, you really do have the reddest of asses.
3. Michael Morse, taking one for Bryce. Our man Mikey Mo, wearing one from The Shark just to save his former teammate. Take On Me, indeed.
4. Koda Glover. Kinda underrated but did anyone see the kid out on the fringes? He was fired up! I thought he was going to come in throwing 200 mph. That was the moment Koda Glover became president closer.
5. Hunter Strickland getting dragged. Christ, man. It was three years ago! He got you. It happens. He’s way better at baseball than you. You won the World Friggin’ Series that year! Also, you started a near-brawl in that World Series, too! I’m gonna need you to find a safehouse, lay low for a while, wait until this whole thing blows over.
6. Bryce Harper not getting Robin Ventura’d. Oh god, we all had that fear flash in our eyes, didn’t we? Our large rowdy baseball son was gonna run out there, ditch the helmet, and then get pummeled on national television. Whew — bullet dodged.
7. Literally everyone piling on Hunter Strickland. Nobody cut him any slack in the hot takes sports-outrage news-yelling cycle, and it was delicious. It was absolutely *Italian chef finger-kiss* delicious.
8. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper prom photo.
9. Time off. Everyone loves a long weekend, especially at home with family. Good for Bryce!
10. Twitter. National holiday, day game on ESPN, one of baseball’s biggest and most well-coiffed stars. Yeah, that was a fun hour on le media sociale.
That fellow plunked Harper on purpose — it was a dumb move, he all but confirmed it with his nod — and Harper was right to throw a punch.
— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) May 29, 2017
When you tell your friends you’re about to text your ex at 2am pic.twitter.com/8WsDqLvb2H
— Mina (@maddc8) May 29, 2017
— Morgan Murphy (@morgan_murphy) May 29, 2017
Missed the Cut: Anthony Rendon, Matt Wieters, Todd Covfefe, Ryan Zimmerman, seagull poop on Dan Kolko, Matt Albers, camo unis, Trea Turner, Katie LedeckyTags: Adam Lind, Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez, Hunter Strickland, Joe Ross, Koda Glover, Max Scherzer, Michael A Taylor, Nationals, Nats, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals