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DonRocks

The Washington Nationals (2005-), 2016 and 2017 National League East Division Champions

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Hellooo? Helllllooooo?

The last post in this thread was from 5/23. WTF? We have a contender here! Well, if the bullpen gets their shit together.

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On 5/1/2017 at 11:07 AM, TedE said:

With Eaton out the chance is pretty much off the table (and with 170 runs in April, the 10th highest ever, I still contend it's a possibility).  A lead off man's OBP is a strong determinant of runs scored over the course of a season.  Unless Trea (maybe) or Taylor (unlikely) can pick up the slack.  It's a huge loss.  I guess now their chance is to have a game like yesterday every other week to pad the stats!

On pace for 894 runs at the break.  Having lost their lead off man in the first weeks, and now their other lead off option recently, that is pretty impressive.  The offensive drop off in the past few weeks is probably indicative of where they will end up in the 875+ range (but they also have 14 games left with Mets/Phillies, and have been feasting on bad pitching, so I expect a few more of those 12-16 run outbursts).  Who knows when Werth returns, but his replacement platoon of Raburn/Goodwin have held their own.  I bet even when he comes back he'll get more days off for pitching match ups.  The relief corps is still dreadful, but has flashed signs of competence recently. 

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Two arms added to the bullpen over the weekend.  These are a move to get relief back to stability, but I don't think this was THE move.  They need a more options for a closer, not some guys who *could* fill in the role.  I think Doolittle can be more than advertised, though. 

Offense is clearly not going to be a problem!  OI wouldn't want to have been within arm's reach of Scherzer on Saturday, though.  He walks off the mound with a 10-0 lead, and in the ninth they had the tying run on deck.  If that game had been 2-0 and Dusty came out to pull him I think you would have seen Mad Max go off and demand to stay in the game.

 

Edit: 4-0 with no outs top of 1st just now.  Yeah, feasting on mediocre pitching.  I think they are now on pace for 919(?) runs after 3.1 games of this series.  FOUR batters in the top 11 of all MLB for average (Murphy, Harper, Zimm, Rendon).  On Saturday they briefly had the 1-2-3 leading batters in the NL!  Buster Posey's weekend nudged him up to #2.

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Over the span of the 3rd and 4th innings this afternoon the Nats:

- Sent 21 batters to the plate

- Went 13-for-18 with 3 walks (2 issued to Scherzer)

- Hit 7 HRs including the 5 by the first 6 batters of the 3rd inning (Murphy was the slacker after they started off 4-4 in the inning)

- Scored 13 runs

They've scored 22 runs over the last 5 innings including last night.  Fun baseball is fun!

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2 minutes ago, TedE said:

including the 5 by the first 6 batters of the 3rd inning

This must at least tie an MLB record.

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3 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

This must at least tie an MLB record.

I think the 4-in-a-row to start the inning does, unless somebody has done better since 2010

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2 minutes ago, TedE said:

I think the 4-in-a-row to start the inning does, unless somebody has done better since 2010

And apparently the 5 total also ties the record for most HRs in an inning!  It's funny, I would have thought that number would be higher over the course of baseball history.

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25 minutes ago, TedE said:

And apparently the 5 total also ties the record for most HRs in an inning!  It's funny, I would have thought that number would be higher over the course of baseball history.

Yes, but not with only one out!

(If 4-in-a-row to start the inning ties the record, then 5-out-of-the-first-6 by definition at least ties the record, and maybe breaks it.)

I assume Scherzer will pick up the win today?

Wait a minute, do they have *8* home runs so far?!

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3 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Wait a minute, do they have *8* home runs so far?!

Yes, that is what they ended up with. A team record, but the MLB record is 9.

And Max did not make any outs.

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A couple of important facts:

"Ryan Zimmerman Passes Frank Howard for Most Home Runs in Washington History" by Tyler Conway on bleacherreport.com

"Nationals Land Twins' Kintzler in Deadline Deal" by Noah Frank on wtop.com

In Tom Boswell's chat today, someone asked, "Should the Nationals prioritize a reliever or starter?" I breathed a sigh of relief when Boswell answered, "Closer, closer, closer." The Nationals may have given up more than Kintzler is worth on the open market, but right now, Kintzler is what you need.

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Gio Gonzales with a no hitter in the bottom of the 8th against Miami. Bryce Harper just made a great catch battling the lights to keep it going.

3 hours ago, dracisk said:

Gio Gonzales with a no hitter in the bottom of the 8th against Miami. Bryce Harper just made a great catch battling the lights to keep it going.

... and it's done in the bottom of the ninth. Oh, well.

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That was exciting! And the Miami crowd really responded well to Gio. I was in the crowd at Nationals Park when Randy Johnson got his 300th win, and the reaction from the crowd was similar to what we saw last night.

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42 minutes ago, MC Horoscope said:

And the Miami crowd really responded well to Gio.

He's from Miami (Hialeah), so it makes sense that the crowd would be particularly interested in his success!

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Tonight's game, delayed 3 hours, has brought a new addition to the DL (and I personally wouldn't be surprised if it's for the rest of the season) after Harper slipped on 1st base at full speed in the bottom of the 1st.  Legs are not supposed to move that way.  He couldn't put any weight on left his leg as he left the field.  I'm sure there are tears in some of his knee ligaments.

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12 hours ago, lovehockey said:

Tonight's game, delayed 3 hours, has brought a new addition to the DL (and I personally wouldn't be surprised if it's for the rest of the season) after Harper slipped on 1st base at full speed in the bottom of the 1st.  Legs are not supposed to move that way.  He couldn't put any weight on left his leg as he left the field.  I'm sure there are tears in some of his knee ligaments.

Thank goodness it's just a bone bruise, and not a ligament or tendon tear. Still, bone bruises can *hurt like hell* - I fell on my knee in January (wet kitchen floor), and I was howling for about ten minutes on the ground - I thought *sure* I had cracked my kneecap, but I guess I didn't. The pain died down in about two weeks.

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Jul 29, 2017 - "Nationals Acquire Howie Kendrick from Phillies" by Daniel Rapaport on si.com

Aug 15, 2017 - "Howie Kendrick Hits Two Home Runs for Nationals against Former Team" on csnmidatlantic.com

Kendrick has homered in 3 of his last 4 at-bats, including a walk-off, 11th-inning, Grand Slam on Sunday against San Francisco.

Gio Gonzalez lowered his ERA to 1.79 tonight - the best ERA in the major leagues.

There's something to be said for depth.

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14 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Gio Gonzalez lowered his ERA to 1.79 tonight - the best ERA in the major leagues

With Scherzer's continued dominance, angst around yet more Strasburg time on the DL and the abysmal bullpen, Gio has been having himself a hell of a year in the shadows.  I think it suits him well.  The dig on him over the past several seasons since his stellar stretch in 2012 has been that he lets the pressure get to him when things go awry in the early innings and tends to unravel.  No reason to think that wouldn't apply to being in the constant spotlight, either.  When he's just allowed to go out and pitch while the news focuses on seemingly every National not named Gio Gonzalez he's at his best.

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15 hours ago, DonRocks said:

There's something to be said for depth.

As a friend pointed out the replacements for the entire starting outfield have posted a combined 4+ WAR (the literal "replacements" in Wins Above Replacement are outperforming themselves!).  We may not see a projected starter in the outfield until the end of this month, even next month without a division race to worry about (whenever Werth comes back).  If healthy (a HUGE "if" this season) a Harper, Werth, Goodwin/Taylor/Kendrick outfield is an incredible luxury.

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Your runaway NL East champions!  If you'd said we'd be thinking about catching the Dodgers for top seed just 2 weeks ago I would have laughed.  The series this weekend is now going to say a lot about that.  Consensus is the Nats don't *want* the best record in the NL and would be better off seeing the Cubs in the NLDS.  Diamondbacks are surging with a strong rotation, and the defending champs are not.  The next 3 weeks is shaping up to be a doozy for the rest of the NL.

Interesting to see all of the replacements out there for the clincher today (Turner was the only regular starter).  That's the line up you usually see the day AFTER they clinch, when the regulars get a day off to nurse their hangovers.  Robles certainly showed he belongs at this level, but I wonder if we see him on the playoff roster as a direct AA call up.  That probably depends on how Harper/Werth are actually doing when the time comes. 

Rendon - Quietest MVP caliber season I can remember seeing (which is why he won't get the votes ...).  Leads the entire NL in most calculations of fWAR.

Strasburg - Holy crap!  Including today, 34 straight scoreless innings.  Since the All Star break and coming off the DL: 0.61 ERA.  If Scherzer gets the rest he needs, and Gio continues his come back season, that is a scary starting postseason roster.  Roark hasn't exactly been a slouch, either.  Aside from Doolittle the 'pen so far has been ... better.

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It was fun being there when they clinched yesterday, worth the extra 90 minutes watching the 7th - 11th innings of the Marlins - Braves game on the Jumbotron.  (Also VERY odd to be rooting for the Braves. The folks in the stands doing the tomahawk chop really went above and beyond...) There weren't a whole lot of us left when the players came back out on the field wearing their division champion shirts, but we were enthusiastic.  It was cool having the players throw swag up to us, even though I'm sure they'd rather have been popping corks instead. I ended up with some curly W beer coozies:P .  Harper looked good out there, seemed to be moving fine.  (Or maybe  that's just my willful delusion.)

Strasburg pitched really well, just those two hits to Franco, but appeared to be cramping again.  To his credit, Lively was also very good, even if he wasn't pitching to our top players. It was a pitcher's duel for a good long time and a fast game. The depth of the team is amazing, when they can field mostly 2nd and 3rd stringers and perform so well.  All three of the starting outfielders began the season in AA. The future is now, I guess:)

I cannot believe how fast Robles is.  He's got to be faster than Turner, which in itself is astonishing.  I looked back in towards the infield after he hit that ball to the outfield, expecting to see him approaching second base and he was already 1/3 of the way to third! Too bad he couldn't stay on the base.

Turner's home run landed very near us, the closest I've ever been to a home run ball.  That turned out to be the difference in the game, a homer from the only Opening Day starter in the lineup. That factoid alone doesn't come close to representing the game, though. 

I heard somewhere yesterday (it may have been Bob Carpenter being piped in over the PA) that this was the 6th fastest a team has ever clinched its division. He said something about the '75 Reds, so they must have been the fastest, given that those were the peak years of The Big Red Machine.

I hope the Nats enjoy their day off today, after 21 games in 20 days. 

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