Long Road Update:
Early Games : Goal 5-1, Actual 1-5
Current Part : Goal 6-10, So Far 5-5.
The Nats are doing more than just surviving this tough stretch of games. During this run of 16 straight against teams from the better half of the NL, they are holding their own so far, winning 5 and losing 5. We can talk all we want about "the Giants can't hit" and "the Marlins aren't as good as their record", which are both very true, but how does that matter? These teams may be flawed but they are still the good ones. It's not the Nats fault that the only truly special team in the NL is the Phillies (though I really like the Braves to keep coming on strong). If you are holding the Nats to a standard where they have to not only beat the 2nd tier teams but compete with the Phillies, you are setting your expectations way too high.
They are two "non-sweeps" from surpassing my meager expectations for this stretch, and are a 3-3 run from possibly setting themselves up for a little .500 action when they hit the dregs of the NL for 13 games. Hey, if the Pirates can do it!
(How ARE the Pirates doing it? It's not luck. Pythag has them at 16-18. Offensively, Doumit is having a resurgance and Garret Jones is showing that 2010 was the fluke year for his power, not 2009. Neil Walker is a minor star. But this isn't enough - they are soooooooo bad on the left side of the infield that Brandon Wood can come in and immediately play everyday, be below average, and vastly improve their lineup. Nope it's the pitching - two starters having good years, two about average, and a bullpen with enough pieces to keep the games close that they need to. Kevin Correia is having the year of his life. Former Nat Joel Hanrahan is finally keeping the ball in the strike zone enough (2.5 BB/9) to let his stuff shine. They'll fall back but there's no reason this group can't win 70. )
Some quick notes:
Here comes the Ramos crash? .154 with 1 2b in the past week.
Ian Desmond should have a baby every week. After a fast start back he's hitting .095 / .083 / .190 in the past week. Quick FJB - Tell him he needs to go down!
The Nats bullpen is rocking it. In the past week, unless my math is off, they've given up only 3 runs in 19 2/3 innings. That's n ERA around 1.40. Burnett hasn't let a man get on base since the Mets debacle. Slaten, in his limited role, has yet to give up a run. "Not the closer" Storen hasn't given up a run since his first appearance of the season.
Tom Gorzelanny has a 1.95 ERA after his first start this season.
Maya looks ready in AAA for another shot but he may have to wait to see who loses the race to long relief, Livan, Lannan, or Marquis. Early favorite is Lannan, but don't rule out Livan!.