Ok guy (that is, if anyone is still reading), I know we’re behind. I know we’ve been “bad bloggers” this season, but perhaps it’s because there’s other things we’re doing with our time. When you’re watching baseball games every night, it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on on the TV AND to write a blog post. And then there are the non-baseball things going on in our lives. In any case, Drew and I are still making predictions, and while I haven’t gotten around to rounding up our July predictions (super quick summary: we weren’t quite optimistic enough), we’re going to put in our August predictions before the month gets too far ahead of us. And because we’re going for speed here, there won’t be pictures (at least for a little bit).
Maggie: I’m thinking at least 2. They’re having a crappy year, and showing it, but the Nats do have to face Cliff Lee. (2-1)
Maggie: We’re playing them at home (as opposed to Miami, where they historically cream us), so I’m happy enough to say (3-1)
Maggie: All my past predictions have been so cautious. They have more losses than we do wins. I’ll go with a big series win. (3-1)
Aug 10-12: @ Arizona
Maggie: For whatever reason, the Diamondbacks make me wary. I’ll go with (1-2)
Maggie: This is the right time of year for a late season Mets collapse. (3-0)
Maggie: I think it would be silly to count Atlanta out since they’re the last team other than the Nats that seems to have any spark in the NL East. I’ll say Nats win the series, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta took it instead. (2-1)
Maggie: A group of Nats fans will be visiting CBP on Saturday night, and I’ve got high hopes they leave happy. I say we sweep the series. (3-0)
Maggie: Visiting Miami has never been the Nats strong suit. Thank goodness it’s only a 2 game series! (1-1)
Maggie: The Cards are one of those more historically (well, recently historically?) dominant teams. I don’t see them fading off into the autumn light. I should end my optimistic month with a won series, but I’ll call it a split. (2-2)
Maggie: a ridiculous 22-10.
So – are we totally nuts for imagining a 22-10 run over the month of August (plus 1 day in July and 2 in September)? Let us know your predictions in the comments!
The Nationals start the second half of what seems like a beautiful season so far tonight. Back in early April, we posted our predictions for the coming season. I was fairly optimistic, and Ashley tempered my optimism. And apparently, we shouldn’t have been quite so moderate in our guesstimations. Let’s take a look at those prognostications and see just how things stand here before the Nats start up again.
Original Answer: Ryan Zimmerman
Current Leaders: Desmond at 17, LaRoche at 15 … Zimmerman 8
Oh Ryan. He had a rough first half, and things didn’t turn around until about 3 weeks ago when he got that cortisone shot. In the mean time, Desmond is having a career season, and Adam LaRoche is getting off to a faster start than usual.
Modified Answer: LaRoche – I’m not sure Desmond can keep up his furious pace through the rest of the season though I’d love to see him try.
2) Who will lead the Nats in RBI?
Original Answer: Danny Espinosa
Current Leaders: LaRoche 53, Desmond 51… Espinosa 24
This prediction was probably wishful thinking in the first place. Espi had a great first half last year – would it be silly to think he’d repeat? Maybe he’ll bounce back in the second half this time around, but it looks like it’ll be difficult to catch up with LaRoche and Desi who are running away with this so far.
Modified Answer: If we’re going with the “second place guy takes it” again, then we’ll give it to Desmond.
3) Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases?
Original Answer: Roger Bernadina
Current Leaders: Espinosa 14, Desmond 11, Harper 10 … Bernadina 8
This is a situation where the Shark’s new role as a pinch hitter has hurt him. He’s still a speedster, as evidenced by the fact that he’s only 6 bases behind Espinosa despite his fractional number of plate appearances.
Modified Answer: Gotta give this one to the Kid. Harper loves to run, and I have a feeling he’ll do a lot of base stealing in the second half.
4) Who will lead the staff in wins?
Original Answer: Jordan Zimmermann
Current Leaders: Gonzalez 12, … Zimmermann 5
Poor Jordan. We should have known from last year that the team’s bad habit of not giving him any run support would hold over. He deserves a better win-loss record (and fingers crossed tonight gives him another W in that column).
Modified Answer: Gotta go with Gio. He’s a workhorse, and he seems to love pitching in Nats Park. I have a feeling this one is locked up.
Original Answer: Ross Detweiler
Current Leaders: Detweiler 78.2, Wang 23.2, Lannan 0
This is one of the few answer’s we’ve got right so far. Yay us! With Wang’s hip acting up again, and Lannan pouting in Syracuse, we’ll stick with our original answer.
Original Answer: Roger Bernadina
Current Leaders: Harper 248, Ankiel 158, Bernadina 111
With Ankiel in a reduced role, Bernadina as pinch hitter, and Harper debuting in the big leagues WAY before anyone expected, it looks like we were wrong on this one.
Modified Answer: Harper. He’s run away with it so far, and the only way I see this changing is if the worst comes to pass.
Original Answer: June 2
Actual Answer: April 28
We were OH SO WRONG. But really…whoulda thunk? And dude is really proving himself.
8) Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season (other than Bryce Harper)?
Original Answer: Anthony Rendon or Matt Purke (btw, check out that photo!)
With Rendon essentially out for the season with a broken ankle, and Matt Purke not starting his season until late May followed quickly by a trip to the DL, it seems that both of them won’t be doing much for a while. In the mean time, we’ll be keeping an ear to the ground about Alex Meyer who did an awesome job at the MLB futures game.
9) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who?
Our Answer: 2, Zimmerman and Strasburg
Real Answer: 3.5, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Desmond (withdrew), Harper
Let’s give ourselves partial credit. Of course Strasburg would go – that was the obvious answer. But the other 2.5 (we’ll call them that since the Nats technically had 4 all stars, but only 3 showed up) were awesome surprises. Congrats to the team on making the great leap from the last few seasons when they had someone at the All Star Game only because every team HAD to have someone at the All Star Game.
10) Total wins and what place in the division?
Original Answer: 85, 2nd
Current Answer: 49 wins, 1st in NL-East, 1st in NL, 3rd in MLB … more than halfway there!
This is amazing. The team currently stands 10 wins behind their entire win total from both 2008 and 2009. They’ve got 79 more games to win the 36 games needed to meet our prediction. That’s .456 over the second half of the season. It’d have to be a big drop-off on the current pace, but that means this team is likely to at least meet and probably exceed our expectations.
We won’t amend our prediction (just because we’re cautious), but yeah. This is very good.
Original Answer: The team really needs to stay healthy. Physically, this includes trying to avoid silly injuries early in the season that could be avoided and not overworking injury prone players. Mentally, the team needs to keep up camaraderie in the clubhouse and not get caught up in early season hype until they’ve proven themselves.
Response to Essay: DAMN STRAIGHT. How many more games could this team have won early on if they’d had Morse from the get-go? Had Storen as their closer, and didn’t have to deal with the nagging Lidge elbow-issues. What if Zimmerman had gotten his cortisone shot earlier? Or if Werth could have continued producing in his sophomore season without the devastating wrist injury? If Desmond and Harper didn’t have nagging injuries that they’re playing through (to All-Star caliber), that might be holding them back from their full potential? Who knows what would have happened…but it would have been fun to watch. Thankfully the camaraderie has been there to make up for the other failings. This is a team with clubhouse chemistry like you would not believe, and they seem to be having fun, but also being realistic about expectations. Good on them!
Ok – the second half starts now. Good luck, boys!
Sorry for the delay in putting up the link to part 2 of our July predictions. Drew had them up on the 5th, and then I think I was distracted by the wonders of Atlanta (have you been to the Georgia Aquarium? Or the World of Coke? Holy crow, those are cool places!).
In any case – Drew puts part 2 up here.
Time for another prediction post with Drew from Crunching Through My Day. We made predictions for both May and June…so let’s see how things go for the month of July! We’ve both got birthdays at the end of the month, so I know we’d like to see some wins on those days. I’ll present the first half of the month here, and Drew will show us the rest of the month later this week.
7/3-5 vs San Francisco Giants
Drew: Well now, the G-men have really come on lately and taken the NL West by storm. Does this scare me? Yes actually. It does. The Giants just swept the Dodgers (which killed the Nats back in in May.) In many other ways, the Nats and Giants are similar. Their pitching staffs (staves? What’s the rule here?) are about K/9 and HR/9. The Nat’s pitching staff provides a few extra WAR while the Giants offense beats the Nat’s in that category. However, with the heat and a tough road trip against the Braves, plus the bottom half of the Nats rotation coming up, I’m going to say the Giants take 2 of the three games. However, the Nat will win on the 4th of July to support Truth, Justice, and The Natiude Way!
Maggie: There is nothing in this world that makes me sadder than missing the Lincecum-Zimmermann matchup tonight. The game should be epic. Drew has said with stats and whatnot what I see with my eyes: the Giants are a team that is coming on strong in the middle of the summer, and they should be rightly feared. Not enough where I don’t think the Nats will take a game…but appropriately feared. Nats lose the series, 1-2.
Drew: The Nat’s took advantage of the thin air (is the humidor still on?) in Colorado to awaken their anemic offense. I have a feeling that the bats will slow a bit in the warm confines of DC but that the Nats will still beat up on the Rockies. I know the Rockies are probably better than their record indicates but I can’t be much. When Jamie Moyer is your staff ace at the start of the season, there’s not a lot good things I can (besides the 4.11 FIP and .340 opponent BABIP say enough). I’m going to say 2-1.
Maggie: Sure, we split the series with the basement-dwellers, but that was at the end of a long series of road trips and homestands against the toughest divisions (the Easts) in baseball. Can you blame them for “taking a break” and “only” scoring 35 runs during that series? I have a feeling that once the Nats are back in their stadium, with the top of their lineup that the distinction between best and worst in the NL will become quite clear. Nats sweep, 3-0.
Drew: As much as I like the pageantry surrounding the All Star game, I’ve got to admit that the AL is probably going to win this year. They spanked in the NL in interleague play. I want my NL to win but I’m not going to hold out hope.
Maggie: This is another place where I agree with Drew. I love that the Nats have 3 players (maybe 4?) in the fight, but when the AL spanks the NL in interleague play, it doesn’t bode well for a reversal at the All Star game.
7/13-16 @ Miami Marlins
Drew: Miami has been a real disappointment so far. I spent the offseason worried that they might steal the last playoff spot from the Nats. Of course that was before the Phillies free fell into almost nothing. Since then, the Marlins have gotten lucky. They should be about even with Houston and Colorado in terms of wins. Their pitching has been pretty awful, with the lowest K/9 rate and opponents BABIP of nearly .300. Despite that, I don’t think the Nats can sweep this series. Due to the vagaries in the tea leaves and baseball, I’m saying we split the series 2-2
Maggie: More Miami hate from me. Watching them suck it up this year has been nearly as enjoyable as watching the Phillies tank. And because the Nats seem to do well when they play in Florida, I’ll expect them to continue to kick butt and take names in Miami. Nats take it 3-1.
Look for the last half of July later…
We’ve come to the end of another month, and Drew and I are about to post a new prediction post for the month of July (look for it tomorrow night before/during the first game against the Giants). In the mean time, we’ve got to review the predictions from the month of June and see how what we thought matched up against reality.
Unfortunately, the Nats had to deal with another rain out, but we’ll get to see this game played on July 21st (and Ashley and I may be there)! So we’ll just say for now that the Nats are living up to expectations. A half point each…since we don’t know if we would have been right or not.
What can we say? Psychics-R-Us. And the Nats? Kicking butts and taking names. 1 point apiece!
@ Red Sox
This was a turning point. The Nationals showed that they could really hold their own and thrive against a team that has been quite strong in the recent past. And it didn’t hurt to give a little payback for the final pre-season game in April. 0 points…not that we’re sad about being wrong.
@ Blue Jays
If you don’t believe that Boston was the turning point, look to this set of games. Are the Nats for real? That’s a clown question, bro. Another 0 points apiece, for being wrong in the best way possible.
We’d said earlier in our predictions that the Nats were going to lose sometime…it just happened to be in the form of being swept by the Bronx Bombers after sweeping two other AL East opponents. 0 points. It could be worse though.
After a tough series against the Yanks, the Nats could have folded. Instead they came back tough against the Rays to prove that they still had IT and could run with the big boys. 0 points for flipped standings.
We were both wrong. Drew was optimistic, I was pessimistic. The Nats gave us halfway in between. Not being swept against a surging team? Pretty good. 0 points awarded.
This was a close one. For the two games they lost, things were close – especially the last game. So while Drew wasn’t going to be right, it looks like I was a lot closer than I thought. 0 points for the split decision.
Gotta hand this one to Drew. The Nats seem to have the Braves’ number this season. Good stuff. 1 point to Drew!
Drew was a bit closer on this one thanks to the missing game, which gave him the correct losing record. And he wins this month overall, with a score of 2.5 points to my 1.5. We were both fairly wrong about this month…but in the best way possible!
Look back tomorrow for the first part of our July prediction post, and then keep checking back through the rest of the week when Ashley and I go through a backlog of old games we haven’t posted about!
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!
Back in the beginning of May, Drew and I made some predictions about how the Nationals would fare in the coming month. Those posts are here and here. We’ll be making predictions for June too, so be on the lookout for those posts this weekend! Let’s take a look at how the Nats actually did, compare that with the predicted results, and assign 1 point for each correct series.
Who knew that we were being too pessimistic? This was a good start to a difficult month.
Maggie: 2-1*, 1-2
Drew: 1-2, 2-1*
Actual: 2-1, 2-1
Both Drew and I score a point for accuracy by getting one of the series right – but obviously we didn’t know the extent of how injuries would depress the Philly’s play.
Maggie: 2-1, 1-1*
Drew: 3-0, 1-1*
Actual: 1-2, 1-1
Ouch. I guess we both forgot how strong the Pirates are when we play them at home, and we can’t overlook the fact that Andrew McCutcheon played strong those first few weeks of the month. Still, one point apiece for predicting the split at home.
Maggie: 2-1 *
The Nats were really on a tear at this point, which was sort of surprising considering they’d just lost Jayson Werth and (when did LaRoche and Zimmerman come off the DL?). One point to Maggie for being optimistic.
We couldn’t sweep the Padres in San Diego, and couldn’t do it at home either.
Maggie: 1-2 *
The O’s turned out to be a much stronger team than we thought. Apart from the one close game, which the Orioles won, the other two were fairly lopsided. One for each. Point to Maggie for predicting that the lop would fall on the O’s side.
We both thought we were being quite optimistic with the 2-1 prediction against the Braves. I guess the Nats had a few more uninjured players than the Braves, which let them take their first sweep of the year!
Eeep! Seriously – that’s not a fun outcome. And watching those games wasn’t fun either. Maybe it’s an end of the month thing (the Nats were swept by the Dodgers at the end of April), or maybe like Ross Detweiler said after the game, the Nats met a hot team at the time when they were hottest.
Each off by one. Not bad at all! But for accuracy, Maggie wins this month with a score of 4 points to Drew’s 2.
So, yesterday we left off in mid-May with the Nats facing the Reds. Fortunately for all of us, there are four more teams that the DC boys of summer will face before we actually head into summer months. And since this May prediction is a co-post with Crunching Through My Day, we’ll let Drew pick up in the middle of the month and let us know how things should turn out for the Nats.
See that post HERE!
The Nats have been off to an awesome start in the month of April. To end the month at 14-8 is somewhat unexpected. Fans were optimistic before opening day, but I’m not sure that anyone would have predicted how many ways our boys on the field would find ways to win (despite the frustrating road trip to California).
And now we leave the first month, and we start to have some real data to work with instead of merely making guesses based on limited opportunities. But because I’m not REALLY a baseball math person, I called up someone who is – Drew, husband of First Lady Ashley, who also writes a stats blog called Crunching Through My Day. We’re going to try something new this month, and depending on how things go…this could be a semi-regular thing. Let us know what you think, and we’ll see what happens.
The next month is going to be the Nats first real challenge. Everyone said that their opening schedule was one where they had a chance to dominate, and clearly they did since they sit tied for first at the top of the NL leaderboard. What we’re going to do is go series-by-series and using Maggie’s guts and Drew’s computer programs, try to predict how things will look by the end of the month. We’ll address the first four teams the Nats will face in today’s post on FLoB, and the back half’s opponents tomorrow on Crunching Through My Day.
Currently, the DBacks sit in the middle of the NL West with a record of 12-11. After this series, the next time they’ll see the Nats is the middle of August, once things get interesting. Last year the Nats were 2-5 against the D-backs who finished 1st in the NL West with a record of 94-68. With that history and the back end of our rotation facing Arizona, I predict 1-2.
The Dbacks are an enigma to me since I hear so little about them. Looking at the #s this will be an interesting series for the Nats. Arizona’s pitching looks awful, allowing 1.09 HR/9 and a 4.01 FIP. 290 BABIP. The Pirates aren’t that bad. However, their offense seems better than most. This should be a real series with the Nats pitching strength pitted against their offense and their poor pitching against our abysmal offense. After the series with the Dodgers, I’m going to say that our offense won’t get it done here. One upping Maggie and saying a sweep.
The Nationals will take on the Phillies twice in the month of May – during the first weekend of May for the highly touted “Our Park” initiative, followed by a trip to Citizens Bank Park towards the end of the month. They’ll face the fury of Strasburg during the first series, and will see the middle of the rotation up in Philly. I predict 2-1 for the first meeting, and 1-2 for the second (we’ll blame the Philthies for that) for an even 3-3 for the month of May.
The Philthies suffered a huge set back this spring with Howard and Utley going on the DL. While questions swirled about whether or not their pitching would be enough to carry them through the NL. Through April, the results aren’t pretty. The Phillies pitching staff has pitched pretty middling, with middle of the NL stats in K/9, BB/9 and BABIP (oddly enough, their FIP is 2nd in the NL behind the Nats). Their offense has been fairly nondescript which probably explains their record. While April results don’t have much bearing on post season outcomes, particularly for the Philthies, I’m not counting them out yet. Playing the Nats brings out the best in both teams (and the worst in Philthies fans). For the two series, I’m going to say that there’s a split, with the Philthies taking 2 of the first 3 and the Nats taking the 2 of the last 3.
Pittsburgh Pirates – 5/8-10, 16-17
The Pirates are a team that I always feel bad for. They haven’t had a winning season since 1992, and they’ve been dumped on for so long in a way that the Nationals only had to endure for a few seasons. They’ll face off for a three game series in Pittsburgh, followed by a 2 game series a week later in DC. I say 2-1 for the first series, and 1-1 for the second, leaving a prediction of 3-2 for the month.
I agree with you Maggie. Despite the fact that Sid Bream sliding into home is still the most exciting baseball moment of my life (Braves win! Braves win!), I feel bad for the Pirates. Even for a bad team, they’re underperforming. The Pirates pitching is ok but their offense atrocious, falling near the bottom in BABP, H, HR, and K%. Pair that against the Nationals pitching and I’m calling for a sweep in the first series and a split in the second. Assuming the Nats actually hit, that is.
Cincinnati Reds – 5/11-13
The Nats played the Reds as their first home stand of the year and took 3 of 4. If the Nats stay on top of their game, I bet we’ll see another win…even if they are playing this series in Ohio. I predict: 2-1.
While the Nats took 3 of 4 from the Reds at home, they got lucky. Going into the 8th inning of each game, the Nats’ win probability was 94.8, 21.6, 94.2, and 50.0. Games 1, 2, and 4 went into extra innings and the Nats lost the last one. The Nats could have easily lost the first two of those games and we’d be looking at a very different season right now. While the Reds haven’t been outstanding, they’ve got a core that’s as good as the Nats. I’m afraid the ball is going to bounce their way in the series. I’m going to be a downer here and say the baseball gods will smile on the Reds with a sweep.
We’ll finish up the rest of our thoughts tomorrow on Crunching Through My Day. Be sure to check back for the thrilling finale (haha) where we reveal how we think the Nats will finish out the month.5 Comments