This week the Nationals swept the Phillies, broke their record for pinch hit home runs in a season (thank you Chris Heisey), and hit the 12 games over .500 mark for the first time this season, but they also practiced voodoo, chopped hair, and…
As the Washington Nationals take a well-deserved day off, let’s also take a moment to reflect on the beginning of another baseball season. We’re finally at the point in the year where real conclusions can start to be drawn with a little more certainty. The Nats have played a third of their games and currently lead the NL East with 33 wins.
Normally at this point in the season I don’t give much weight to the pace predictors – that is, people who judge a team’s ultimate success based on how many wins they are on pace for. But With this team on pace to win 99 games I’m thinking more about how they got here than what they will look like going forward. Continue Reading The State of the Nationals: Checking in after one-third of the season
Gio Gonzalez came out punching to start the 2016 season. Through his first seven starts, he was on the ERA leaderboard with a 1.93 ERA. His 3.00 FIP and 4.18 xFIP over those seven games, though, indicated that he was unlikely to maintain that stellar ERA. Sure enough, regression hit hard and Gio came crashing back to earth with two back-to-back disastrous starts.
After giving up 13 earned runs to the Mets and Cardinals over only 9 2/3 innings, Gio’s ERA jumped nearly two full points to 3.57 and left Nationals fans scratching their heads, wondering which Gio will show up against the Reds. Continue Reading The Gio Gonzalez Debacle: Examining Command vs. Control
I bring you good tidings. As the keeper of the #TDER, I can tell you The Danny Espinosa Renaissance is once again upon you. Rejoice.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the potential pitfalls of relying on Trea Turner to be called up from the minors and instantly help the Nationals. Today I make the case not to panic about Danny Espinosa, and that his good week is an indication of good things to come.
Last night in the seventh inning of Game 1 against the Phillies, Philadelphia starter Jeremy Hellickson lost control of a pitch that struck reigning MVP Bryce Harper squarely on the outside of his right knee. The collective beating heart of NatsTown skipped multiple beats as the left-handed slugger stood there while Dusty Baker and head trainer Paul Lessard examined Harper, finally escorting him to first. Things would not improve from there. Continue Reading Deep Breaths for Bryce Harper
Sunday’s 10-2 win for the Washington Nationals over the St. Louis Cardinals encapsulated how dominant Stephen Strasburg has been all season. The success that has led him to his excellent start—which includes a 2.69 ERA and a 11 K/9 rate—was on display as he improved to 9-0, and a look his overall numbers shows that his early-season performance is sustainable.
Today is May 28th. Estimates vary, but the date that Trea Turner can be called up and be under team control through the 2022 season instead of 2021 is somewhere in the range from May 29th to June 1st (the Washington Post says May 30th), so it’s possible the sun will rise tomorrow on a Nats roster with Turner as starting shortstop. It’s no sure thing that Mike Rizzo and Co. will call up Turner the moment they can, but with Turner shredding Triple A and Danny Espinosa struggling somewhat in the majors (despite another home run last night), it’s hard to think of a more opportune time.
Obviously, much ink has been spilled about the relative merits of Turner and Espinosa, including an excellent post by our own Frank Lattuca, so I won’t totally dive into that. In this post, I will attempt to take a thorough accounting of what kind of defender Espinosa is — a topic that has been surprisingly controversial — and take a look at how good (or bad) Turner’s defense might be.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a … wait, this isn’t remedial English Lit, this is the tale of two hitters. Two outstanding left-handed hitters for the Washington Nationals that are having similarly opposite seasons. This is a case study in how the Baseball Gods, especially the BABIP Gods — a particularly finicky lot — can make or break your season.
Although FP won’t be successful in making Daniel “Hits” Murphy happen, give him credit for trying because the sentiment stands. Murphy has been the best and most consistent hitter on the Nationals this far in the 2016 season. In fact, he’s been one of the best and most consistent hitters in all of baseball. He’s tied for the seventh-highest WAR in the majors according to FanGraphs. His .394 batting average is the highest in the league by over 30 points. Only 13 players in the MLB have struck out a lower rate than Murphy. He’s carried the offensive load for the Nationals for most of the season even though no one predicted such big things out of the former Met.
The Nationals have been busy this last month: sweeping the Cardinals for the first time since 2007, making history with a 20-strikeout complete game, and winning a series against division rival New York Mets. All this, and the Nationals still found time to check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and force Dan Kolko to wear pink sunglasses.