Friday, August 31, 2012

Nats' Bats the Key in Pennant Chase. Their Strasburg-less Pitching Will Be Fine

The Nats are now 2-0 since I quit sniffing glue and taking amphetamines . And although the mentality on how this team does moving forward into September and (hopefully) October, seems to be to dwell on the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg (see Ken Rosenthal's columns over the last week), you must look no further than what happens to this team when their bats go limp.

The Nats pitching- with or without Stephen Strasburg, is going to be fine. As I've documented before, their rotation with him out of the lineup, is still pretty gosh darn good- second only to San Francisco in the National League. So its not Stephen Strasburg's ass on the pine that will keep this team from  running deep into October; its their bats that will prevent that.

Take a look at the 5 game losing streak last week that had the majority of the DMV at the top of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge ready to do their best Tony Scott impression. Besides some awful play in the field, and base running blunders that you'd expect to see at the T-ball level, the Nats simply weren't hitting.

In not a single one of those 5 losses did the Nats post double digit hits. And over the course of those 5 games they scored a combined 6 runs.

6 runs.... over 5 games!!! Are you kidding me?!?!

Hey Ken Rosenthal, and Stephen A., and Meathead Rob Dibble, and career underachiever and Atlanta Braves apologist Leo Mazzone..... I don't care if Cy Effing Young is on the mound. You're not going to win baseball games when your offense averages 1.2 runs per game.

And its not as if the Nats pitchers didn't show up during that 5 game span. They got boat raced in one game. (9-0 vs. Miami), which by the way,  the before mentioned Stephen Strasburg started. The other four games they yielded 5,4,4, and 4 runs. Not exactly getting shelled.

The Nats' losses in games they've played since the All Star break are even more telling.

The Nats' have an impressive 30-17 record since that break. In those 17 losses, the Nats have been shut out 5 times. 8 different times they scored 2 runs or less. So in 13 of their 17 losses since the All Star break, the Nats have scored 2 or fewer runs. You can't pin that on pitching.

In fact, of the 17 losses post All  Star break,  the Nats have only lost one game in which they scored more than 5 runs (July 20th, versus the Braves, when the Nats blew a 9-0 lead, eventually losing 11-10 in extras).

If the Nats bats are alive, like they have been over the past two nights since breaking the losing streak (8-4 win at Miami, 14 total hits....8-1 last night versus St. Louis, 13 total hits), this team can make a run, and even win it all. Not having Strasburg in mid to late September and beyond does suck, but that decision was made 5 months ago. So get over it.

Their rotation of JZ, Gio, Detweiler, and even E Jax (did you see him dealing last night?) will be fine. Its the production of guys named Werth, R. Zimmerman, LaRoche, Harper, Morse, and Desmond, that will make or break this team over the next 7 weeks.

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Jayson Werth's favorite song, and apparently MASN's Bob Carpenter's favorite band

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