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The Baseball Show: A turning point last week?

May 4, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

The Nationals enter this week with two division series up ahead, first against the Marlins and then against the Braves. The Nats’ outlook is much better than it was just a week ago, as Washington has now won five of their last six.

Many people have pointed to the back-to-back 13-run outbursts in Atlanta as a turning point in the Nationals’ season. In this first clip, Mark examines that theory with Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak:

Did the Nationals reach a turning point in Atlanta?

How impressive was Strasburg in New York?

Should the NL adopt the DH?

  1. adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Should the NL adopt the DH?

    You mean double headers? 😉

  2. Whack-A-Mule - May 4, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    In Re:
    The D.H.

    Much more sensible to discontinue its use in the American League.
    A roster expansion from 25 to 28 players would quite the howls from
    the MLBPA about losing the “featherbedding” slot reserved for those
    otherwise-unqualified individuals.

    • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      I remember a few years back when my teenage daughter jumped into being a fan with both feet (I told stories back then — and someone here nicknamed her “The Wonkling” <– thanks for that!)

      Anyways, she picked up the game — and its strategies — extremely quickly. Extremely — I was blown away by her sophistication in such a short time. In short order she was complaining when the Nats weren't making "productive outs", particularly lefties not able to ground it to the right side with a guy on second, or moaning when Espi & Ankiel were striking out on high fastballs, and appreciating good throws from the outfield to hold a runner, and etc.

      She was a fairly advanced student of game-time strategy, but only from watching & discussing Nats games with me.

      So, the first time the Nats played an interleague game, I realized she had no idea what a DH was. So I explained it all to her in a very matter of fact way.

      She absorbed it.

      She thought about it for a second or two as she processed it all — and then said, "That's dumb!"

      I was a very proud father at that moment! 😉

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 4, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        I’ve got tears in my eyes reading that…

        😉

  3. adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    Scherzer: leads NL in ERA and WAR (for pitchers) and WHIP. (Nice!!!!)

    As for MW’s so-called disdain of small-ball the Nats have 8 sac bunts — which is the NL average for teams at this point.

    • TimDz - May 4, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      I believe three of those came courtesy of Gio on Saturday….
      Wasn’t it last year that he couldn’t lay down a sac bunt to save his life?

      • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 2:18 PM

        I think many are also complaining about only 3 SB so far. Everyone else has at least twice as much.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 2:24 PM

        +1 and Sac Bunts are opportunity driven with proper execution as we’ve seen plenty of failed Sac bunts if you recall (RZim Web GEM) some spectacular Nats D to thwart 3 or 4 on defense and in the NL it’s generally pitchers and with others putting on a play.

        The beauty of the Sac Bunt is putting pressure on the D (see MadBum on Ramos in Game 3).

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 4, 2015 at 3:19 PM

        The Nats may only have 3 stolen bases, but they’ve got 7 caught-stealings. If they’re only going to succeed 30% of the time (I know, I know) they shouldn’t be trying it at all.

      • ArVAFan - May 4, 2015 at 3:48 PM

        Yep. He was about 1-for-12 in Spring Training practice in 2014. Somewhat improved in 2015 (although the drills I saw were formatted differently, so I don’t have an exact comparison. But obviously something worked!

    • dcwx61 - May 4, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      MW was an exceptional ballplayer and is now an exceptional marine and planner. Doggedly Sticking to a plan and following habit are critical for the military. Unfortunately, key situations during a game require adjustments to one’s pre-conceived plans. I think he is indeed learning this faster than most of us can see (e.g.: playing the hot bat as he has said numerous time). He (nor I) will never forget the stuborn failures of handling the pitching and bullpen during the critical moments of last year’s playoffs.
      MW is smart enough to adjust and learn from mistakes. Some leaders are not, continually pointing failures at every one else’s mistakes except their own.

  4. NatsLady - May 4, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    For you critics of MW. It could be worse.
    http://www.thegoodphight.com/2015/5/1/8533601/the-manager-isnt-helping-marlins-4-phillies-3

    • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      Wow — you really hate to see someone risking a young arm in a situation like that. Giles was off-the-charts great last year (12.6 K’s/9 IP; WHIP .788 — for comparison, Papelbon had WHIP of .908) — but he got used an awful lot, at a pretty young age. He appeared 68 times (at age 23) in the minors and majors last year — I wonder if that’s too much.

      • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 3:17 PM

        (I see Storen pitched in 73 games at age 23. But as the Verducci theory goes — it’s not just how much you pitch, it’s how much of an increased load from the year before. I’m not sure Giles ever pitched more that 35 games or so before last year)

      • NatsLady - May 4, 2015 at 3:48 PM

        Giles threw 45.2 innings in 44 games last year plus another 28.1 innings in Triple-A. So he did have a heavy workload in 2014.
        2013 he only had 36 innings, perhaps he was hurt?
        2012 he had 82 innings.

        More concerning would be the lowered velocity, the fact that the previous inning was not easy, and that he normally doesn’t go two innings.

      • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 4:03 PM

        Ahh, thanks — I didn’t realize he pitched so much in 2012.

        Yep — there sure is reason for concern about him. One of the few young bright lights on their team.

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