Game #5 shines the spotlight on the “Little Things”

Photo by Tom Sileo for TalkNats

Players win and lose ball games, and manager take a lot of the blame for decisions. In the first four games of the season, the Nats are off to another disappointing start at 1-3 on the season.  The offense is sputtering with just 12 runs scores. On the other side of the ledger, pitching and defense has yielded 15 runs. The per game differential is ¾ of a run per game. The pythagorean which calculates a fair W/L from the run differential thinks the Nats should be 2-2. If you look at each loss, there are 1-2 glaring plays that count in the “little things” as the difference between being 1-3 and 4-0 on the season.

The schedule does not get easier going forward. There are no easy games in the first two weeks of this season as the Nats were set to face all projected postseason teams. Is there anything these Nats can do to get back in the win column? Yes, outscore the opponent. Just that simple if they can play smart baseball and make some key plays.

FanGraphs WAR 4 9 2021

That chart shows the top-10 performers on this team. Nobody expected Jonathan Lucroy, Sam Clay, or Joe Ross to be in that chart. The issue is, where is everyone else? The team needs more contributions from the other 16-players on the roster. There is already too much negative WAR.

The Nats recalled Patrick Corbin today off of the COVID IL list to start tonight’s game, and optioned Kyle McGowin to the Taxi Squad. Adrian Sanchez was moved from the Taxi Squad to the Alt Training Site to make room on the 5-man traveling taxi squad for McGowin who had tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless, hitless relief across two outings. Sending him down kept Sam Clay up.  In his first Major League experience, Clay has retired the last six batters he has faced across two outings including strikeouts of Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna which is no small feat.

Since 2018, Corbin is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA (2 ER/30.1 IP) in five regular season starts against the Dodgers , and we will keep an eye on his changeup and curveball today which he was working in during Spring Training. Those two pitches were rarely used last year. This move with Corbin makes it probable that Max Scherzer starts tomorrow’s season finale against the Dodgers in L.A.

Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Stadium:   Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, California
1st Pitch: 9:10 pm EDT
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

  1. Victor Robles – CF
  2. Trea Turner – SS
  3. Juan Soto – RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman – 1B
  5. Starlin Castro – 3B
  6. Jordy Mercer – 2B
  7. Yan Gomes – C
  8. Hernán Pérez – LF
  9. Patrick Corbin – LHP
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