Series Preview: Nationals, May 8-10

Well folks, on the one hand, we just finished taking two of three games in a series!

On the other hand, it was against the Phillies. To be fair though, we did get to see some solid performances from our batters. Andrelton Simmons has been hitting the piss out of the ball. Freddie Freeman has continued to be Freddie Freeman. Kelly Johnson has been the man of K’s dreams (Editor’s Note: Can Confirm). And the rest of our role players all took turns knocking guys around, too. All told, we scored 18 runs in the series, putting us at 125 runs over the season, good enough for third place in the National League. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Shelby Miller’s beautiful complete game shutout on Tuesday night. He struck out 8 batters while only walking 1 and allowing 3 hits. It’s still to be seen how good of a pitcher he’s going to develop into, but nights like that are certainly promising.

Tonight we’ll start another three game series against the Nationals, who just got done winning two of three against the Marlins. This puts them a half game behind us, four and a half behind the Mets, and about twelve behind where they were predicted to be at this point. I know they’re still a legitimately good team. I know they have absurd amounts of talent. I know this is just an early-season small sample. I just don’t care. Few things bring me more joy than watching that God-forsaken team fail to live up to their expectations.

One of the broken pieces of what were the Nationals’ expectations is one Stephen Strasburg, who lasted only 3 innings the night that Shelby Miller went 9. Strasburg is rocking a 4.73 ERA on the year, but if I’m honest is likely due to a bunch of bad luck. One guy who has not seen a lot of bad luck recently is Bryce Harper. On Wednesday Bryce put on an absolute show by hitting three home runs off of Marlins starter Tom Koehler. It’s kind of dumb that folks can hardly bring up Bryce without someone mentioning Mike Trout. It’s not fair to compare anybody to Trout. Bryce is only 22 years old, is already in his fourth year in the majors, and so far this season is hitting over 60 percent better than an average hitter. Hate him for his antics. Hate him for his team. But respect the dude’s talent.

This series is going to see us face Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and Jordan Zimmermann. Gonzalez and Zimmermann have both been bitten by the Nationals defense bug this year, but by all accounts have still been pitching well. With Stults being the one tabbed to face Gonzalez, I don’t have a lot of confidence in winning the first game. However, Teheran and Fister should be a good match-up, along with Alex Wood and Zimmermann in the third game. All four of those are pitchers who are capable of much better results than they’ve shown this season, so both of the games should be exciting to watch. If we can continue our offensive strategy of getting guys on, getting them over, and getting them across, and if our pitching can put together a solid enough performance to keep things close, we’ve got a legitimate shot at taking this series, putting a foot in the ass of the Nats, and emerging next week as an above-.500 team. Tune in starting tonight, and be sure to follow our Twitter account for notes on each of the pitchers before the game.

20150508 NATIONALS

Stephen came up with the idea for this blog shortly after graduating from Tech. Realizing that life is ephemeral, he decided to put (metaphorical) pen to paper and catalogue his thoughts. His thoughts are series of numbers and spreadsheets, casually categorized as “research,” and said research is usually conducted on the margins of what is both relevant and socially acceptable.

Posted in 2015 Braves Series Previews, Baseball, Columns, Sports Tagged with: , , , , ,

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