Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So Long, '62 Mets

With tonight's win over the Brewers, the Nationals have won five of eight and now have a 31 wins and a .313 winning percentage. To beat the '62 Mets' .250 winning percentage, the Nationals need to win just ten more games over their final 63.

There's no way that even this team will go 9-54. It's finally safe to say that the Scats will not be the worst team in the modern era.

It goes to show just how difficult it is to be this bad this long. All the Nationals have done to blow away the Mets is take two of three from two terrible teams--the Padres and Mets--and then pick up an additional win over the Brewers.

That's it. This little run of barely .500 ball was all it took.

In fact, at this point I think it's safe to say that the Nationals now aren't even the worst team in baseball now.

If you were doing one of those "power rankings" lists, you'd have to put the Nationals at the bottom, just because they are still a solid seven games in the win column behind San Diego.

But to take a snapshot right now, I would say that the Nationals are certainly better than the Padres team we saw in DC last week. You're talking about a team that starts just two guys with an OBP over .327, and one of them is Tony Gwynn, Jr. Their best starting pitcher is either Kevin "don't call me Chick" Correia or "Hanging" Chad Gaudin. Based on run differential, the Nationals should be about three games better over the course of the season.

Kansas City won last night for only their second time in their last 13. They have four automatic outs in their line-up every night in Mike Jacobs, Yuniesky Betancourt, Miguel Olivo, and Willie Bloomquist. Their best hitter is... wait for it... Alberto Callaspo. They hit that guy fifth. Bloomquist bats second. Sheesh. Zach Greinke is wonderful (though merely good lately), and you have to love the SABR-ific Brian Bannister. Luke Hochevar will be very good someday. But their bullpen is no better than ours after Joakim Soria. Based on run differential, we're no worse than the Royals, and we're almost certainly better than they are right now.

I made the case last week that the Scats are better than the Mets, and I think that's probably true, though that's so much a function of injuries that it feels a little unfair.

Oakland is another team that would get an argument, especially since they shipped off Matt Holliday. But they have so many good young pitchers--Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Dallas Braden, and Andrew Bailey--and such a strong farm system that they'll surely be contending years sooner than the Nationals.

In any case, the Nationals are finally proving that no, they really aren't that bad. Truth is, it's really, really hard to be that bad, and it's pretty amazing that they were that bad this long.


matthew houskeeper said...

I don't know enough about the Royals right now, but I would rank the Nationals ahead of the Padres at this moment.

Anonymous said...

One Word Steven.....Acta....He sucked all the energy out of the team. Rigglemen is not the answer at all but he at least gives them a kick in the pants and has gotten in a few umps faces. I was behind the plate at the park this past week when I heard, "Knock it off Jim! I mean it any more and your gone!" Ump was hot and was just about to toss him about a few check swing calls. Acta....not a chance.

All this team needed to be .375 was some pride in the game, fire from someone on the bench and a manager who looked like he cared what they were doing...oh a some defensive practice every day!

Grover said...

Speaking of bad teams ... is anyone else worried that if the Padres stay horrible for the next three weeks and the Royals are merely mediocre, Strasburg will hold out for the chance to sign with his hometown as the third pick in 2010?

Dave Nichols said...

anonymous, i respect your opinion, but disagree. the 5-of-7 has nothing to do with the manager, or the fielding practice, but simply playing other lousy ballclubs.

John O'Connor said...


That would be a big bet to make on August 17. Unless the Padres had put a lot of distance between tehmselves and the Royals, I wouldn't want to bet what would happen with 40 games left in the season.

Also, if the Padres completely tank, they could catch the Nats. What if the Pads got the #1 pick and toom Bryce Harper? Then Strasburg would be looking at going to, say, KC at #4, and with zero leverage.

Anonymous said...

Could be but we have played lost of bad teams before the all star break. This is the first time we have played over .300 all year. Defense would not matter if it were a bad team or a good team in the other dugout.....Defense is much improved. Fundamentals the same.

Anonymous said...

"This is the first time we have played over .300 all year."

Au contraire, mon frere. For games played during the period May 1 through May 15, the Nats were 7-6. That's not only above .300, it's above .500! But I guess those games don't count because Acta was managing then, huh?

Anonymous said...

I was talking about record for the year.....FOR BOTH ACTA AND RIGS TIME WE ARE FINALLY OVER .300 for the year...I am not sure but I think this is the first time for the whole season!

David said...

I don't know it looked like good pitching and defense to me in 4 of the win? Somewhere I've heard that before (hum)can't remember where. Also some "old" guy named Nyjer seems to be playing pretty well.

When will we see some Nyjer love. If one of the young kids had played like Nyjer you guy would be touting him as the next Joe DiMaggio. Oh yea he's playing so well it's an aberration to be completely ignored. :)

Steven said...

I've been high on Nyjer from jumpstreet.


Crash said...

The only thing worse than finishing with the worst record this season, would be to finish with the SECOND worst record by only a game or two, thus playing their way out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

At least with the worst record, you get that little consolation prize of the first pick in next June's college draft.