What's right with the Nats, and what's wrong with the Nats? 8/16/15

It’s easy to say what’s wrong with the Nats as you can take a look at the W/L record and see that is a problem, and you can take a look at the standings and see the Nats are in 2nd Place and that’s a problem, and you can look at the 2nd half stats and see that several players are stuggling and that’s a problem.

So what’s right with the Nats?  Several players are playing well including Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, Blake Treinen, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmermann.  Denard Span has begun a rehab assignment in Potomac.

According to FanGraphs the Nats still have approximately a 33% chance of making the playoffs which I think is good news that the Nats are only 4.5 games behind the NY Mets with 45 games to play and 6 head-to-head games with the Mets.

The coaching has had it’s ups and downs, and I think “on the road” I’m consistently troubled by outfield positioning.  In the warmer weather and while the sun is up you play deeper in San Francisco.  It was a big difference in this series, and shouldn’t have been.  You give up a few more singles but protect against those killer triples and doubles.  Even Bumgarner got one past Bryce Harper.

Matt Williams has classic groundball guys who make contact.  With faster runners on base, you have the perfect recipe to go “hit and run” and stay out of doubleplay catastrophes, but of course there’s risk in swing & miss or line drives to infielders.  Bunt a little more for hits with your guys like Michael A. Taylor and Espinosa.  Play smart ball when you are facing pitchers like Greinke, Kershaw, and other pitchers throwing up zeros.  1-0 or 2-1 might win the game.

If Rick Schu isn’t reminding his batters of the situation in critical spots, he should be because execution and the end results are showing too often recently that players aren’t getting it done.  3rd and 1st and 1 out and Michael A. Taylor struck out on high pitches from Vogelsong.

The bigger problem I see is the returning players didn’t raise the level of play.  Werth has not been good on offense or defense and that may be an understatement.  Rendon has struggled on offense, and Ryan Zimmerman has had a tough week.

Clint Robinson could be worse than Adam Dunn between 1st base and LF defense and that’s something I never could have imagined until the CRob sample size got larger.  CRob pulled a LoDuca in not being able to catch a throw at 1st that was right in his glove.  That’s scary to imagine.

The little things add up.  It seems several players have been exposed and the Giants are good at exposing weaknesses. I’m not sure it was the right time to bat Michael A. Taylor at leadoff.  I do like pushing Werth to the back of the lineup and that took a lot of B@!!$ from MW to do that.  Some people say lineup construction doesn’t matter but of course it does by circumstance and opportunity.

Tuesday is a new day.  Nats have to turn this around and dates are coming off the schedule.

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