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Nats make it seven straight

Sep 14, 2013, 12:50 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

These days just about everything is going the Nationals’ way.

Returning home for a ten game homestand, the Nats pulled Stephen Strasburg from his start in a surprise move because of forearm soreness. In came Ross Ohlendorf who had been a disaster since July, and off he went with a 31-pitch inning that saw an early Phillies run come across.

But Ohlendorf quickly settled in and gave the Nats four more innings of scoreless ball, his teammates followed suit with early offense and Washington won 6-1 to take their seventh straight.

That’s nine wins in their last ten games and puts them a season-high nine games over .500. Oh, and the Cincinnati Reds also happened to lose.

The Nationals are now 4 ½ games out of the final NL Wild Card spot with 15 games remaining in the regular season, the closest they’ve been since July 11.

“We’ve still got a chance,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “We just have to keep going out there and playing and see what happens. That’s all we can do right now, win each game that we can, and somehow sneak in.”

Zimmerman scored three of the Nats’ six runs on Friday, including a solo home run to lead off the third inning. He belted a line drive into the corner of the visitors bullpen off Kyle Kendrick, his seventh homer in his last seven days. The last Washington baseball player to accomplish that feat was Frank Howard in 1968.

Wilson Ramos also deposited one in the bullpen in left field, his off the scoreboard on the back wall. The Nats as a team have now homered in seven straight games and ten of their last 11.

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  1. dgourds - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Wow, I seriously have to consider plunking a lot of money down to reserve playoff tickets. I have until the 20th. If they are within 3 games by the 20th, I’m doing it. Of course you get the money back if they don’t make it. But I really didn’t think I’d even have to make that decision. Get in or not, the Nats recent run bodes very well for the future. I’m really happy about the team. 1-7 in the line up are just mashing. Love it. Keep making it interesting!

  2. Sonny G 10 - Sep 14, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    This winning streak is awesome. And how about that Ryan Zimmerman.

  3. laddieblahblah - Sep 14, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Haren, Roark and Ohlendorf – not exactly the rotation the Nats expected to use during their stretch run. But they all came through in the clutch. It looked like Haren and Ohlendorf would need oxygen to complete their last innings of work, but they did. Everyone is giving it their best shot, and that is proving to be very, very good – maybe even good enough.

    What kind of numbers would Zim put up if he could just get healthy, and stay that way, for one full season? I hope we finally get to find out next year.

    • David Proctor - Sep 14, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      Zimmerman is capable of 30+ HR and 100+ RBI. He’s done it before. Only one season, granted, but he’s shown that capability. Add into that he’s just now in what should be his prime years. I expect a monster season from him next year, I really do.

      • laddieblahblah - Sep 14, 2013 at 5:59 AM

        I had thought it would be this year, but his shoulder took so long to recover from last winter’s surgery that I was wrong. Every year since 2009 has been marred for Zim by injury, including the first several months of this year.

        He has already lost most of his prime years, but he has at least a couple of them left. I see him as a .320 hitter with 40 HRs and 100 RBI, if he can just stay healthy.

  4. Baseballswami - Sep 14, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    No matter how this thing ends up, we are going to the off season knowing what this team can be. And perhaps not expecting to see Zim at first next spring after all. Every team that makes a late run seems to have help from some previously unknown player. One of the awesome things that is baseball.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      I’m loving this winning streak, but as for how much it relates to next year … “September lies.”

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Good win!

    Btw does Span seems weaker at home? I know numbers don’t seem to agree at first.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Well found some evidence for my claim.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=8347&position=OF&season=2013

    His batted ball data suggests that he hits more GB at home than away. LD% and FB% is almost 5% more at away than at home. However, besides this data, every other stat seems to indicate that he has had a better year at home than away (113 wRC+ at home than 85 wRC+ away).

  7. Joe Seamhead - Sep 14, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    As to Ryan Zimmerman going to first next year! I have laughed at that whole prediction for two years running. It isn’t going to happen this year, next year, nor in 2015. Any bets? Also, though he has had statistically the worse defensive stats in the league this year, he has been hurt. I would not be surprised if he not only continues to play 3rd for at least three more years , but will contend for a Gold Glove there again.

    Also, I said in May that Denard Span was the overall best defensive centerfielder the Nats have had since they came here in 2005. I still believe it to be true.He’s not perfect, as he demonstrated with his throw to first last night, but he’s good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Gold Glove without it being a silly statement. And he has gotten pretty comfortable at the plate, too. Rizzo fail? I don’t think so.

    Laddie Blah Blah and I have been on the Billy Burns Express for a while. I’m glad to see him get some recognition for his great year. It was implied here by one expert here that because of his lack of size and power, and because of Brian Goodwin, that Burns was not seriously considered as a legit ML prospect. With his speed, smarts, and defensive ability he has now moved at least even with, if not ahead of Goowin.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      Goodwin, not Goowin.
      I sure wish that we had an edit function.

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    If Adam Jones can win GG, so can Span.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Span makes fewer mistakes, makes better reads, and gets better jumps than Jones, in my opinion. Nothing against Adam, he’s an exciting player.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    JoeS, defensively there is no doubt in my mind that Span is much better (than Jones) but I believe people consider offensive stats also while voting which is why Span will never beat McCutchen (who also plays very good CF defense).

    • nats128 - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      McCutcheon has a slightly better Range rating then Span. Span has a better overall UZR. Gomez should get the Gold Glove.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        I am aware of advanced stats but I am not sure they capture defense as good as they do with offensive stats. I think Span plays better CF than anyone I have seen. The only thing where he lacks is arm.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Bryce has yet to hit a HR with 2 or more base runners on. All have been solo or 2-run shots.

    Has anyone made a list of Harper’s HR videos?

  12. nats128 - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Sec 3, My Sofa – Sep 13, 2013 at 11:45 PM
    Well, assuming he’s as good next season as he has been so far this one, but I agree it’s worth a million or so to find out. Problem comes if somebody else thinks it’s worth $4MM to find out. They will need several, because they won’t all work out. “No such thing … “

    As far as I know Olendorf is under team control next year in his last year of arbitration. As good as he has been Im sure the Nats will try to tie him up on a 1 year deal as there long man in the pen.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      That is correct, Ohlie Dorf is not a Free Agent until after next season.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Thanks for the correction.

  13. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Seamhead —

    You might, possibly, I flatter myself, be referring to something I said last week about Burns’s size. I said I hoped he would turn out to be Brett Butler, and I sincerely do. The problem is that every time Burns shows up on the radar, some un-named source puts a “but” on the end of the sentence that erases almost anything positive. Most recently, he might have a .340 BA “but he hits off his front foot a lot.” We’ve heard this about many, even most, of the Nats’ minor leaguers, as if there is a deliberate effort to dampen our enthusiasm. Yet many among those so dissed seem to be turning out OK.

    For one, I would love to have a guy on the bench with a high BA/OBP who steals the pro-rata equivalent of 74 bases a year. Those are qualities that would allow said guy to play for an extended period in the event of an injury to one of the team’s as of now non-benchable OFs. If Burns turns out to be Butler I don’t see it happening with this team as I would expect them to invest in extending Span if he continues to produce.

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    btw Vlad retired. Has he already made a HOF case?

  15. MicheleS - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Theo/Sofa from the last thread.

    Thanks for the new slogan, Return of the Wooo Hooo! I have been at most of the games and the phone has died before I can post to the thread. And sadly, I haven’t figured out Word Press on my phone since we moved to the new format. So been on Twitter mostly, posted a bunch of picks from last night. Will spend the off season culling through those for some of the best

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Missing you, Gonat, and Mick. The new format brought in new people and lost others.

      • MicheleS - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        I am trying to figure out WordPress from the phone

    • natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      Glad to see Michele back! Hope that others are eventually successful in making the transition.

      (I thought maybe nats128 was Gonat but I guess not.)

  16. MicheleS - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    And I might have finally done it….

    Anyway, was hoping NatsJack would make it up again. And Candide, I swear, I will find you at some point. I Miss SJM too.

    • Candide - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      And Candide, I swear, I will find you at some point.

      Possible translation 1: “Sorry we missed each other at the park yet again!”
      Possible translation 2: “I will hunt you down like a dog and rip your still-beating heart out of your mouth!”

      FWIW, I’ll be at the games Monday, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday. No Cunegonde on Wednesday, just a skiing buddy. Cunegonde and I will be at the last home game, but will almost certainly be late, as we have another social engagement we can’t get out of, so unless the hosts’ house burns down…

      (Excuse me while I go find the gasoline can…)

      • slidell2 - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Candide; I believe the Wednesday game is a 7 o’clock-er.

      • Candide - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        slidell2 – You’re right.

        Good thing I didn’t show up at the park at noon…

  17. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Faraz —

    Re: Span’s arm, one of his abilities is to reach the ball so that (A) he is in plenty of time but (B) on the move in a position to make a throw with something behind it, e.g., in the direction of the base/home plate. While it’s no howitzer it’s enough to keep some runners from taking an extra base. And he’s accurate. We’ve had enough lame-winged CFs to appreciate the difference.

    So called “advanced metrics” aside, I don’t know who the competition is for the Gold Glove. Pollock is AZ?

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Yes, theo I agree that his arm is much better than who played CF for us before. You are talking to the guy who likes arms such as Ichiro, Vlad, Jeff, Ankiel. By those standards, he is at least couple of tiers below but so are many others.

      Yes, AJ Pollock is from AZ and has played much fewer innings than Span at CF. Only 3 CFs have logged more innings than Span but none of them are better than Span defensively.

  18. ArVAFan - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    So our post-season probability is up to 5.5%. More than tripled from that 1.7% a couple of games ago. But not enough for me to risk the $20 buying playoff tickets. But one game at a time–starting with tonight. I will be there in 313 last row tonight, wearing my easily identifiable shirt. However, given the weather, I might be wearing my less-than-easily-identifiable hoodie over it.

    GYFNG!

  19. Doc - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    “in came Ohlendorf, who had been a disaster since July…”

    Really Chase??

    Ohly has a problem going more than 5, but other than that he’s done the deal with a 3.15 ERA.

    You might want to give us your definition of ‘disaster’, Chase.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      I was going to go back and look at his stats for the period in question, since I didn’t recall it being a disaster, either. Glad I’m not the only one.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        I don’t usually do this, but I had time while waiting for a call. Here’s his game-by-game summary since mid-July. Sorry, Chase, but there just ain’t no disaster in here anywhere. Every game he either did pitch well, was uninvolved in the outcome, or the Nats won. WTH?

        July 21 vs. Dodgers, here: in relief, 6 innings, 2 runs (earned) Nats lost 9-2
        July 26 vs. Mets, here: started the 2nd game of a DH. Pitched 7 innings. Nats won 2-1.
        July 31 at Detroit: in relief: 1/3 inning, no runs, but 1 inherited scored. Nats lost 11-1.
        Aug. 21 at Cubs; Started, 5 innings, gave up 4 (all earned) runs, but the Nats won big, 11-6.
        Aug. 27 vs. Miami, here: Started, 6 innings, 1 run. Earned a W for a 2-1 Nats win.
        Sept 1 vs Mets, here: started, 5 innings, allowed 4 runs (all earned), but Nats did win, 6-5.
        Sept 7 at Miami: 1 inning in relief, gave up 2 (both earned) runs in a Nats blowout, 9-2 win.
        Sept 13 vs Phils, here: 5 innings, 1 run, W. Nats win going away, 6-1

      • natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Me three.

    • Candide - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      In July he pitched to a 1.69 ERA.

      Would be more accurate to say, “He’s been inconsistent since mid August.” Three bad outings, and a one very nice one.

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/gamelog/_/id/28695/ross-ohlendorf

      He looks to me like he’s making a strong case to be next year’s long relief guy. When he’s on, can give you five or six strong innings, but hasn’t shown he can do much more than that. Which is fine – we need a good middle-innings guy.

      • Candide - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Three bad outings, and a one very nice one.

        Should have added, “Not counting yesterday.”

        FWIW, I like the way he doesn’t melt down when he gets in a jam, even if it does take a first inning visit from McCatty.

      • ArVAFan - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Yes, we need someone like him, because there will be rain delays. It’s not like we play in a dome.

  20. Doc - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Thanks for the stats work on Ohlendorf, Sec. 3!

    One of the NI best lawyers just won the case.

    Email them to Chase. LOL

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Thanks, Doc. If he’s not reading the comments on his own post, I don’t know what to tell him.

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    So I think we’ve established Chase owes Big Windup an apology.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      I think that’s subjective. Someone who has Walter Johnson as display picture, probably has higher standards.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Sorry, Faraz, but I don’t understand. It would probably help if I saw the pictures in question, I think. Who’s got Walter Johnson’s picture?

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Chase’s twitter account.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Ah. Well, I guess “owes an apology” is a matter of taste. But “disaster” was just flat untrue. No opinion room there.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      I think the 12:18 post from Chase may qualify, but maybe it’s just me.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        [self-edit function on]

        may qualify as an apology

        [self-edit function off]

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        I read it. He backtracks from “disaster” to “recent slump,” which I still don’t agree with, but at any rate, I wouldn’t say that qualifies. Not that it matters what I think, I’m just saying.

  22. NatsLady - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    There is a guy (on another site) who posts these little charts every day. Interesting that we have the same odds as the O’s at this point–who’d have thunk it a few weeks ago?

    Updated playoff percentages:
    
    Team   Cool   B-Pro
    TBR*   71.7    72.1
    Cle      26.6    28.4
    NYY      8.0    11.9
    Bal        3.4      5.4
    KCR      2.8      2.9
    
    WsN      3.0     5.5

    *holds WC spot

    • natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      To quote the always pithy Nelson Muntz: haha!

  23. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    To quote Winthrop Paroo: we all get pithy thometimeth.

  24. Doc - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    In the interest of pithyness, Faraz, what picture, who’s got it, and what is subjective????

    Oh, and do you and Chase share the small definition of ‘disaster’?

    May The Windmill be in your future!

  25. Joe Seamhead - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:50 AM

    I just inadvertently hit the ‘report comment’ button with my thumb while scrolling on my iPad. Arrgh!

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