The gurus at MLB.com have ranked the Nats at the TOP of their power rankings, as we head to the playoffs. That has me worried a bit mainly because I’ve had a lifetime of experience watching favorites NOT being able to live up to expectations, ESPECIALLY in the game of baseball!
Yes, Matt Williams has the team peaking at just the right time. And even Ryan Zimmerman finally got some ABs at the end of the regular saeson. Winning the most games in the NL (96) is quite an accomplishment for a rookie mgr. and the players. (Before the season began, I predicted they would win 88-92 games). And The Nats “run-differential” was huge (+131 I think). That is a very important stat.
But even more important in baseball playoff games is starting pitching. This is why teams will pay the big bucks for John Lester, David Price, John Shields, Zack Grienke, etc. The Nats have 5 playoff-ready starters, more then any other team! Their only problem is which of the 5 gets added to the bullpen. I’m thinking it will be Roark because he has done it before and was effective. In their final 13 starts the other four guys (Strass, Zimm, Fister and Gio) went 13-0! In their last “turn” (meaning the last 4 starts) they pitched 31 innings, gave up ZERO runs, 6 hits, had 38 strikeouts and only 4 walks!
Here’s hoping they play the Giants rather than the Pirates in the first round. The Pirates have given the Nats a harder time this year:)
Note: the 4-day layoff (Monday to Friday’s game) could be a problem, but I know Williams is trying to counteract that with simulated games and other activities.