Monday, August 06, 2007

18 Down, 8 To Go

Well, that was fun! Six games. Six wins. It's hard to do better than that! They won the close ones. They won the blowouts. Everything cranked on every last cylinder, especially the bats.

I hope it's a sign of the team waking up from their Lenny-induced slumber, but I'm reminded that we played these same two teams a few months back with similar results. Maybe -- and here's a newsflash -- they ain't that good! Still, a win's a win and the WAY they beat them was the most impressive part.

Nats Record: 6-0, baby!
Overall: 51-60, a 74-88 pace. That's 12th in the National League, just a half game out of 10th place. If the season ended today, the Nats would have the 8th draft pick. They're 1.5 games behind Oakland, who would have the 13th pick.

Since July 4, they have the best record in the National League, and the second best record in all of baseball, 17-10. Only the Yankees have been hotter. In case you're wondering, the Nats are 9.5 games out of the Wild Card with 8 teams between them; don't print the playoff tickets!

Runs Scored: 41 (6.8/g), 439 overall. They're within 13 of Pittsburgh for last, a big improvement.
Runs Allowed: 14 (2.3/g), 520 overall. They're up to 9th in the league, just 5 behind the Braves for 8th place.

Expected Record: 69-93, a SIX WIN improvement over last week. That's what happens when you blow every team out. The 11-run win over St. Louis on Saturday was the biggest victory by the team since they moved to DC (surpassing a 10-run thrashing of Dontrelle Willis and the Marlins in '05). The 12 runs scored is the second highest total since the move. Only this year's 14-10 win over the Marlins (and strangely, Dontrelle again) yielded more runs. But to move the Pythagorean needle that much, it requires some smart pitching. They allowed 3 runs or fewer in 6 straight games, the second longest streak since the move, one of only two such streaks over 4 games. The record is 9, which came right in the middle of that magical June in '05.

What's Good?

1) Ryan Zimmerman! What to say about the week he had? 6 extra-base hits, 11 RBI and a .519/ .536/ .889 line. It's hard to get hotter than that.

2) The bullpen! Know how many earned runs they gave up? Two. (and one of those by Rauch was because of some shoddy defense)

3) Everybody else!
Dmitri: .478 .500 .609
FLop: .318 .444 .455
Church: .364 .417 .500
Logan: .524 .583 .619
Schneider: .400 .600 .900

What's Bad?
1) Nothing! You know you've had a good when when the worst regular had a homer a double and hit .200/ .259/ .360. (Kearns)

2) Nothing! I'm serious! The 'worst' pitcher was Chico and he allowed 5 runs over 2 starts for a 4.50 ERA.

3) If you're pushing me, how 'bout Flores? He was hitless in AB, but the man still reached safely twice.

Game O' The Week
It's gotta be the blowout win, doesn't it? They're not always exciting to watch, especially when the game is over early, but this team has had so few offensive explosions (fans cheer a big inning when we score two!), that it had to feel good!

Weekly Awards:
MVP: Zimmerman! 7 runs scored and 11 RBI really helps the team's win total.

Cy Young: How 'bout that Tim Redding? 8 K in 6+ innings, with just 1 ER?

LVP: Ummm... Kearns?

Joe Horgan: I can't in good conscience give this to Chico!

Weekly Whips:
7/31: Two hits, a homer and 3 RBI is a pretty good night for Zimmerman.
8/1: Kearns had the biiiig blow in the first inning.
8/2: Hohum. Three more RBI and hits for Zimmerman.
8/3: Zimmerman had 3 more hits, but I'll take Redding's 8 Ks and his poor man's Loaiza impersonation.
8/4: Besides, I'll take Zimmerman's 3 RBI here.
8/5: And his 3 more hits and game-winning RBI in this game too.

What's Ahead?
Four with the geezers by the bay, and a likely date with Al Downing in the history books. Then three with first-place Arizona to see the fruits of Mike Rizzo's labor paying off.

SF should be an easy match, a team full of ancient geezers hobbling around the field, trying not to break their hips as they play through a season of futility while everyone focuses on the actions of their best player. They've got young pitching, especially with Morris' strange trip to the 'burgh, but they just can't hit.

Arizona's going to be a tough matchup. Their kids are finally starting to hit, after a first-half struggle, and they're playing really well, and with something to play for. Can the Nats be a spoiler as they have with so many pretenders this year?


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