Time to take time off from our misery and hope to enjoy other’s miseries. In this case, Washington’s.
I expected the Nats to play somewhat better this year, largely because for the first time in three years, the media hype had subsided and expectations, which had been “World Series or bust,” were lowered to realistic levels. And they have. But, after tearing it up for the first half of the season, the Nats may have discovered that they could very well still be — the Nats.
So, what’s the frequency, Kenneth?
Stephen Strasburg has figured it out. Yeah, he’s gotten great run support. But he has finally maybe put behind the “I got a boo-boo” fragile mentality aside. I have to say, the starts I’ve seen, he’s been lights out. Almost every hitter starts out 0-2. With Scherzer, they make as good a 1-2 as exists in the NL. With Kershaw hurt, he’s likely to win the Cy.
Bryce Harper hasn’t. The league responded to his MVP year by just refusing to pitch to him. He was unintentionally intentionally walked for two months (the Cubs walked him 7 times. Not in a series. In a game.) Bryce took it in stride for a while, dutifully taking his base. Then, either boredom or immaturity took over, and they got in his head, and he started to try to hit 7-run home runs every time. He’s now hitting a mere .240, although with 20 taters. He’s completely lost at the plate. The strategy of using the kid’s own arrogance against him is working.
Daniel Murphy wishes he had figured this out at 25. The batting adjustment he made at the end of the season last year that spurred his Superman performance in the playoffs continues. He’s leading the league in BA, and he’s a clear candidate for NL MVP. In a lineup of mostly stiffs, he’s carried the team by himself, with some help from…
Wilson Ramos, who can now see. Last year, he was a human out. He had Lasik in the offseason, and he’s OPSing .953. He’s the best catcher in the league right now in his walk year.
Danny Espinosa is playing very good SS and is STILL not a switchhitter (OPS RH is 100 points higher than LH). Don’t take my word for it – take a look at this debacle, when he can’t even connect with a piñata from the left side. Seriously, if he bats RH, he’s a better than average SS in the league, and he won’t be because his ego won’t let him admit he can’t switch hit.
Ben Revere, their big offseason acquisition, was supposed to be the tablesetter they have been lacking for years. He hurt his oblique on the very first swing he took on Opening Day. Since his return, he has absolutely stunk (.216/.262/.302).
Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, the big money veterans, continue to decline into below replacement level players, but must be played because they are making $15 and $21 mil, respectively.
Jonathan Papelboncontinues to bring joy. The trade that Mike Rizzo made to bring in a Closer™ because Drew Storen wasn’t a Closer™ grows more disastrous every day. Papelbon blew the last two games in epic fashion, and given the Cubs’ acquisition of Aroldis Chapman, the Nats will surely go out and try to find a new Closer™. Should be fun – they’ve got a lot of coveted prospects who they’ve stoutly resisted trading. Their hand may be forced.
There’s a lot of déjà vu going on here, as the Marlins and Mets continue to draw closer to the Nats and the Nats’ collective collar seems to grow tighter each week. Could we see the late season collapse that is the hallmark of teams managed by Dusty Baker? Let’s hope so – we need something as a distraction.