The Nats bullpen is a dumpster fire with no end in sight. Blowing late inning leads is not what World Series dreams are made of. The question is: How much longer can they realistically afford to survive on the strength of their offense and starters?
The answer to the bullpen issue clearly does not reside within the club currently. Enough different combinations have been attempted so far in this campaign to prove that no amount of re-shuffling or calling up of prospects will solve the problem. Management has acknowledged as much, and is (or at least should be) out actively searching for solutions currently on other rosters. However the pickings are awfully slim currently.
As grim as the situation looks, Nats fans should take solace in a the fact that realistically this is not an emergency. As of Friday night, the Nats have a 10 game lead in the NL East over the Marlins and 10.5 games over the Mets. They’ve been able to win consistently enough to build and maintain a sizeable lead in a bad division even with the struggling pen.
The best time to shop for a house, a car, or a closer is when you have time on your side. If you are not in a situation where you absolutely need a solution right away, you are less likely to get suckered into a bad deal. You’re able to take your time, weigh your options and maintain leverage in the situation. Mike Rizzo is no fool and knows that he has time despite the mounting pressure from a fanbase that can’t stand watching two or three blown leads a week.
All that being said, the bullpen will need to be addressed sooner or later. The Nats can win the NL East with their current roster but won’t get much farther. The second half of the season is unpredictable, and one blown lead after another can have a detrimental effect not only on a team’s record, but also on their psyche.
This team has seen stretches of poor play stemming from clubhouse issues, teammates at each other’s throats, players shipped, and managers fired over difficult situations. The baseball season is long and grueling and many things have to go just right for a team to be playing in November. Winning is the best medicine for all of that.
The Nats bullpen is not an emergency — not yet. But it can’t be allowed to become one. For the long term mental health of the team and the fans.Tags: Bullpen, Nationals, Nats, Washington Nationals