From our roving reporter, Chad N. Freud:
On July 30, moments after the NY Mets lost a bizarre, rain delayed, unloseable game in the ninth inning 4-8, the Washington Post’s Tom Boswell tweeted this bit of fun:
Mets: RIP. That's in 1K tie for Worst "L" Ever. -3 games. Fun team. Ain't gonna happen. Don't trade away good future. There's no 'present.'
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) July 30, 2015
Oh, hubris: thy name is Nats.
The ‘ain’t gonna happen’ Mets have won 11 of 13 since, while the ersatz WS Champion Nationals have gone 4-9. Well, Tom Boswell has also predicted World Series parades for the Nats for years now.
The best thing in the world would be for the Braves to win the division and send the Nats golfing. Second best would be somebody else winning the division and sending the Nats golfing. Could it happen?
Sure. Max Scherzer has looked human, going 2-3 since the AS break with a near 4 ERA. (But Stephen Strasburg looked fantastic in his first start back from his third? fourth? DL stint, and Gio Gonzalez has also pitched very well in his last ten starts. ) Ryan Zimmerman is back and is, to my surprise, hitting well. Jayson Werth is back and, not to my surprise, not hitting well. He’s basically a more expensive Dan Uggla at this point. (The Nats have two starters who have an OPS+ above 100 — Bryce Harper and Yunel Escobar. Werth’s is 47. And they simply won’t sit him down.) The bullpen is still a mess — inexplicably, the Nats went out and got Jonathan Papelbon, a known clubhouse cancer, and moved Drew Storen, who frickin’ led MLB in ERA over the last two years, from closer to setup man. Storen has since gone in the tank. I can’t imagine why.
On the other hand, the Mets are now staring at a real pickle. Their three studs are all rapidly approaching innings limitations imposed by youth (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard) or recent surgery (Matt Harvey). What happens when those limits are realized and they’re still in the hunt?
I think the Nats are done — 4.5 back with less than 50 to play. The Nats have 3-4 automatic outs in their lineups, and there’s no help on the way (Span continues to rehab slowly, and their AAA phenom SS Trea Turner, who is a clear improvement over Ian Desmond, will get some spot starts after callups, but won’t be leapfrogged over Desi).
I just don’t see this entitled, arrogant Nats team as having any real backbone or fight, and if the Metropolitans go .500 here on out, the Nats would have to go 30-18 to win it. Not happening. There’s no sense of urgency — quotes from the clubhouse continue to predict playoffs.
I feel somewhat disloyal to America’s Team to be more invested in the Nats’ debacle than in our season. But hey, it’s pretty fun. Get the popcorn.