Since the “Predict the Nats performance” post was such an interesting challenge (and since Drew and I did fairly well), I think a June prediction post is well in order. The Nats have a challenging month ahead of them where they’ll be playing the entire American League East over the course of two and a half weeks. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once again, we’ll be splitting the predictions in two, with the First Ladies taking the first post, and CTmD taking on the second. Let’s get started!
Drew: I got a little carried away in my May preview with the ‘S’ word. I was thrilled to see the Nats actually get one sweep and take care of the Bravos in A-town. These two series are still going to be tough. I know the Braves have been struggling with injuries but so is everyone else. They’ve been pretty good team so far, with strong BB% and wOBA even with a mediocre pitching staff(1.03 HR/9 and 4.06 FIP). Despite that, I think the Nats have this group of Braves number. Since last season the Nats have played really well against the Braves. I’m going to say the Nats go 2-1 in both series and wind up 4-2 for June.
Maggie: This coming week is a big opportunity for the Nationals. They’ll be facing two division rivals, and one of those is the Braves, who they just swept. The Nats will (hopefully!) be getting some players back from the DL (can you say Michael Morse?), so they’ll continue to win. But after a long division road trip, I’m thinking they’ll be tired and don’t see them sweeping the Braves again. By the time we get to the end of the month, the Braves should have more players back and the Nats will be playing at Turner field again. I have a feeling this will be a turning point for Atlanta, so I’m only giving the Nats 1. (2-1, 1-2; 3-3 for the month).
Drew: I’m still not sure I can buy the Mets as real. Their defense is pretty shaky with a .307 BABIP (3rd highest in the NL), they still give up more than HR per game, they strike out 21% of the time(5th most in all of baseball), and they’ve actually given up more runs than they’ve scored (214-234). These are not the makings of a winning team. No matter how they keep winning I can’t believe this team is for real until some of those stats take a more positive turn. I’m going to agree with Maggie on this one and go 2-1.
Maggie: The Mets have been a real surprise this season – maybe more so than the Nationals since everyone was still ragging on them at the beginning of the season and was talking up the Nats. The Nats haven’t played them since their second series, so I have a feeling it will be close, but as a homer, I’ll give the Nats a slight edge. (2-1)
Drew: No one in Boston was really jazzed about the Sox over memorial day. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Rays and there isn’t much buzz. The thing is, they’re not playing terribly. Yeah, they’re last in their division but they’re over .500. In most other divisions they’d be competing for second. They’re offense seems to be performing with a solid wOBA (3rd in the AL, 4th overall), a decent BB% (ok, they strike out a fair amount too). Their pitching has been atrocious. The Nats have been a little bit inconsistent bat wise but I’m still going to pick their pitching to carry this one and say 2-1. I’d like to see a little revenge for April 3rd.
Maggie: The Red Sox have been really struggling this year. Of course, struggling in the AL East means sitting at .500 and still being in 5th place. This is definitely not the team that dominated for a stretch in the mid-aughts, so I’m giving the young and surging Nats a slight edge here (though it will be close playing at Fenway). (2-1)
Drew: I have no idea what to make of the Blue Jays (really resisting the urge to call them the BJs). They’re playing about as expected from a run production stand point. But since they’re in the AL, and Canadian I don’t know anything else about them. Flipping a coin here aaannnnddd….. 1-2. Nats gotta lose some time right?
Maggie: The Blue Jays are another team that have “struggled” this year (though currently sitting just over .500), but they haven’t had a real signature dominant win within their division. I was originally thinking the Nats would take just 1, but will bump that up to 2 since they may have a decent cheering section considering the franchise’s former base in Canada. (2-1)
We’ll finish things out tomorrow!