Thursday, May 8, 2008

You hate to say it, so I'll say it

The Nats are actually looking good right now. Sure, they lost two winnable games in a row. But the difference between now and before the pseudo-streak they're on is that they're staying close in games. Sure, they won't win every 1 or 2 run game, but they are at least giving themselves a chance to win. The Nats have lost 11 games this year by 3 or more runs, which is a pretty scary thought. But now that they've kept themselves within a few runs, they'll be able to hang with the big guns. As long as Lannan pitches the way he is (and, like I said before, I'm 100% happy with the 2 quality start, 1 implosion pattern he's on, because he puts us in position to win 2 of every 3 games he pitches), as long as Redding pitches the way he is, as long as Odalis pitches the way he is, and as long as Chico stays in the bullpen (had to throw that one in there), I think the Nats will be able to play near-.500 ball. Fundamentals are what it all comes down to, and I think this team has more figured out than we think.

Looking ahead at our next 7 games, the Nats could have some favorable pitching matchups. They will be facing Ricky Nolasco (6.10 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, facing Redding), Andrew Miller (7.96 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, facing O'Connor) and Nelson Figueroa (4.81 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, facing Odalis). I know these guys have potential, but as of now, they're hittable. We'll also have our two best pitchers (although Redding is arguably better than Lannan, we'll just say they're options 2a and 2b right now) facing the two best opposing pitchers: Shawn Hill facing Scott Olsen and John Lannan facing John Maine. Probables are not listed for the last two games of the Mets series, but it looks like they will be Tim Redding vs Mike Pelfrey (liking that matchup at this point of the season) and Johan Santana against O'Connor (crap!!). Right now I like our chances against Nolasco (3-1 vs us, but high ERA, high AVG against, some of the decisions may have been in relief), Miller (hasn't pitched against the Nats), Figueroa (outdueled by Lannan earlier this year only for Hanrahan to blow it in extras) and Pelfrey (has been hit hard by the Nats before this year, shut them down this year). Let's see if we can take those 4 games (and maybe a 5th in the Hill vs. Olsen game...and the Nats hit Maine hard, with 6 HR and a 5.21 ERA from 05-07, so anything could happen) and continue playing at or above .500 ball for the next week!

I just want to be better than the Orioles. Is that too much to ask?

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