Nationals 7, Braves 0

The Nationals exploded for 7 runs on 10 hits, and now stand 9.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East.

Howie Kendrick led the way in enabling the Nationals to salvage a game from the 3 game series, going 3 – 4 with a homer and 3 RBI’s. Max Fried lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, walking 3, and was charged with 5 runs. The Braves managed only 4 hits, 3 of those off Anibal Sanchez, who went 7 innings.

The Braves had 7 games scheduled with the Nationals in September, and took 5 of them, winning both series, home and away. If history tells us anything, it’s that the Nationals are never *truly* delenda’d until they lose in the first round of the playoffs, but if that’s not a delenda-ing, it’ll do until a delenda-ing comes along. The magic number remains 4.

Josh Donaldson wasn’t much worse than anybody else today, so let’s force this in here somewhere.

Mulleted scamp, oh mist rolling in from the sea 
My desire is always to be here
Oh mulleted scamp.
Far have I traveled, and much have I seen
Darkest of mountains with valleys of green
Past painted deserts the sun sets on fire
As he carries me home to the mulleted scamp.

Philadelphia comes to town Tuesday at 7:20; Dallas Keuchel and Vince Velasquez scheduled.

Natspos delenda est; Braves defenda East.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

65 thoughts on “Nationals 7, Braves 0”

  1. Looking for something to be cheerful about I was surprised to find that whereas Fried walked three, Walker one, The General (bye bye, thank you for your earlier excellence at an important time) one and Sobotka two, Mr Wright who carried with him a history of wildness ended his 13 pitch innings totalling 8 strikes, 2 strike outs and no walks. Something to offset a pretty dreary afternoon.

  2. They just gotta keep defenda’ing.

    Has there been a timeline given on Camargo or an update given in the past few days?

  3. Peanut just posted his postseason roster post-Culby. Did anyone know that Cervelli had a lacerated finger? I assume the term “lacerated” means it wasn’t a paper cut. That would explain why we haven’t seen him in a while.

  4. With a whopping 43 games played at first base, it looks like Duvall is our backup 1st baseman. McCann has played 19 games at first, Cervelli 13 games and Flowers 7. As soon as we clinch, I hope we give Duvall some work there and give Freeman some rest for the playoffs.

  5. Bowman also said that Ender is likely to be unavailable for the NLDS.

    He picked McFlowers, Hechavarría, Riley, Duvall, Hamilton and Ortega for his bench. No Cervelli.

  6. 8 — DOB tweeted a few days ago that Jacob Webb had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow. That was the first I had heard of that.

    Come on beat writers tighten this up. Our guys are savages!

  7. @10- Maybe Bowman has inside information, but bringing Ortega makes no sense to me. Why carry 2 outfielders who couldn’t break a 600 ops to save their lives? I guess Cervelli could be hurt worse than anticipated, but 3 backup outfielders are enough.

  8. “Ortega hit a big grand slam against the Dodgers on Aug. 18, but he has provided below-average offensive production. Still, with the switch-hitting Camargo out of the mix, there’s seemingly a need to carry another left-handed bat on the bench. Ortega’s candidacy would be voided if Inciarte is surprisingly ready within the next two weeks.”

    I think “sub replacement level” is more accurate than “below average.”

  9. Cervelli at least gives you another option if you pinch run Hamilton for McCann. Ortega is left handed, but he hits right handers and left handers poorly.

  10. This might be a silly viewpoint, but I hope one of Camargo or Ender will be ready for the NLDS. It would be a frustrating turn of events for this many injuries and the ineffectiveness of Riley to turn our bench from a true strength to a weakness. I like what we can do situationally with Riley and Duvall against a LHP and Joyce and McCann against a RHP, but overall I just hate expecting a healthy Camargo and Ender and an effective Riley and having none of them.

    But for me it’s about pitching. I think we’ll hit, and I think Soroka, Fried, and Keuchel will be fine. But I continue to see Folty as a wild card. A true fourth shutdown option in the rotation with this offense is exciting. One will turn in a clunker, but having the hope that 3 of 4 could put in shutdown performances would make my outlook about the postseason a lot better. And really, I think it’s our only shot against the Dodgers.

  11. Cards only have a 2 game lead over the Cubs (if you listened to Chip more you would know this) and only 3 over the Brewers.

    They have to play the Nats for 3 and Cubs for 7 and 3 at the DBacks. The Cards are in the driver’s seat and have to be the favorites at this point (especially with Rizzo and Baez down for the Cubs and Yelich out for Mil), but there’s still a strong chance it will be someone else we play in round one.

  12. To clarify, WHOEVER we play in the first round is the team I worry about besting first, then come who may. We haven’t won a first round playoff series since tfloyd was a newlywed.

  13. 17 — I also think that’s more likely to happen than Bowman’s prediction. I think there is almost zero chance Ortega is on the roster barring any more injuries.

  14. My position player roster predictions:

    Acuña, Albies, Freeman, Donaldson, Markakis, Joyce, Swanson, McCann, Flowers, Hechavarría — 100%
    Duvall, Riley — 88%
    Hamilton — 75%
    Cervelli — 50%
    Inciarte — 25%
    Ortega — 10%
    Chance they go with 12 pitchers — 50% and climbing

  15. 21 – On that note, I am coming up on my 20-year wedding anniversary in December and the Braves have won exactly 1 playoff series since I’ve been married…it would be great to add another one (or three) before we hit 20 years.

  16. Interesting KLaw comment on Gausman and the Reds with arbitration looming around 10 million. Says do it, his upside is well beyond that. I don’t recall when he was with us, good and bad, any such significant upside in the discussion. Was it/is it? health?

  17. Congratulations, Dusty. The first 20 are the hardest. May you get a world series title for your anniversary.

  18. @25 It all boils down to whether he can start. If his stuff will play out of a starting role, then do it. If not, then he’s just a fairly expensive reliever.

    Gaus has always had upside. It’s possible he can right the ship and cruise to a couple of Cy Young quality seasons (like Jake Arietta did), but after what I’ve seen I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.

    IMO, no contending team needed good pitching more than our Braves, and they waived him.

  19. 27 – I think there’s a big difference between “good pitching” and “ace pitching” though. I disagree that the Braves are in need of “good pitching” as there are at least 10 guys in the org that could step in right now and be a “good” SP, most of which with more upside than Gausman. I’d probably put money on each of these guys having more potential for an “ace” season than Gausman next year:

    Keuchel (though he is a FA)

    I may be streching it at the bottom of the list, but one thing ATL doesn’t have a shortage of is quality starting pitching.

    It might be nice to consolidate some of that into an “ace” or just sign Cole or Bumgarner (or even Keuchel) though. Point is, we won’t miss Gausman.

  20. You’re taking a heck of a gamble giving Gausman his arb money next year. Sheesh. He’s a decent bet to get back to league average pitching, which for a SP would be about 2 WAR. But you’re going to commit to $10M+, so wouldn’t you want a better gamble on his upside? He’s got a career 4.30 ERA in 919 IP, so it’s not like he’s had too many runs where he’s had the upside of a TOR.

    You could literally go out and sign someone like Tanner Roark for the same money, and he would be both a better bet for league average pitching and slightly above average pitching. I’ll be really interested to see where he ends up. I liked him until he was this bad for this long, and now that he hasn’t excelled as a reliever for Cincinnati, then I’m not sure what to make of him.

  21. I think that an arb offer on Gausman could be limited (1/6th?) if he is released by 3 / 30 or so. And that means you take a look in spring and see. So, a 1.6 mill guaranteed minor league contract with an opt out would act similarly. Only thing worse on the arb offer is it ties up a 40 man spot from now until release, whereas a minor league contract doesn’t.

  22. Considering how many players have either exceed expectations or are having career years, my expectations are just simply higher than a first round exit. Not saying it won’t happen as, of course, we’ve been conditioned to expect, but I feel like we’ve got enough going for us that we need to get through the inferior NL Central opponent, whoever it is. Am I setting myself for disappointment? I absolutely could be.

  23. Roark has been incredibly underrated. So has Gio Gonzalez. They’re kind of like Julio Teheran, or the most recent incarnation of Anibal Sanchez; all they do is go out there and throw reasonably league-average innings. That has a lot of value, especially considering that it doesn’t appear to be nearly as easy to find in the bullpen.

    By the way, Rob, a good case in point for why WAR is bad for relievers: Wander Suero of the Nationals, who was an integral part of our victory on Saturday and who has played that role for a huge number of the Nats’ opponents this year, has 1.3 fWAR this year. (17th-best in baseball among relievers!)

    But he has -1.4 WPA. (Ninth-worst in baseball among relievers.) The latter is accurate, and the former is insanely misleading, even if it’s part of why Mike Rizzo has gratifyingly refused to boot him off the roster.

  24. 35 – Great point by AAR. WPA is not predictive, but it does a great job of telling you what actually happened, especially for relievers.

  25. To be fair, I did consult WPA for my impression of Gaus, and he has a negative WPA in relief as well. But how much are the Reds going to pay Gaus to see if he’s an elite reliever (as observed by WPA)? The reason I used WAR was for him as a starter. I wouldn’t be willing to pay him $10M to see if he’s an elite reliever, so you’d have to be giving him that to see if he’s worth it as a starter.

    I see no other option for him than to non-tender him and sign him to a lesser deal as a reliever. Even if they cut him in ST and were on the hook for only 1/6th of his salary, why did you take the risk in the first place? He wasn’t going to be a $10M reliever.

  26. Anibal is another example. Would you rather give Gausman $10M for next year, or have signed for Anibal for, what, 2YR/$19M? I feel like even Anibal, going into the season with one good season in the last however many, was a better bet to be worth that contract.

  27. @34–Rob, are you setting yourself up for disappointment? Of course you are! That’s what the playoffs are all about.

    The better a team is during the regular season, the bigger the disappointment in not winning it all, e.g., 1993, 1997, 1998. It really is a crapshoot. The important thing is to get there.

    Having said that, I also like this team’s chances in the playoffs. There is just something about them.

  28. Yeah, I’d much rather let someone else be on the hook for figuring Gaus out. He actually gets a lot of swinging strikes. But he also gives up tons of hard contact.

    Despite the fact that he has pretty good velocity, his four-seam fastball is actually a seriously below-average offering: by Pitch Info, it’s -2.4 runs below average, and by another measure, it’s -6.3 runs below average. Last year, when he had a substantially better ERA, his four-seamer was actually worse: -7.0 runs by Pitch Info, -8.7 by the other measurement.

  29. @28 Well, first off, I was saying that at the time that Gausman was waived, they needed pitching. The rotation was short on arms with Folty in the minors and Fried appearing to have hit a wall. It was Soroka, Teheran, and Keuchel–and not everything was peaches with Teheran and Keuchel.

    But the longer I look at the rotation and at the list of arms you provided, the more convinced I am that the team still needs another good pitcher. It deserves an ace, but it could still use another good pitcher.

  30. One note on Gausman that I think the Reds will view as a positive- they’re looking at a one year deal. Even if they grossly over pay in arb, it’s less of a long term obligation. For a franchise like the Reds, that isn’t a popular FA destination, you can’t discount that because they’d have to tack on years and money to beat out other teams for top level FAs.

  31. I’m sure that there’s a little bit of truth to the idea that a bad team in a less-desirable city has to pay more than a good team in a more desirable city, but I’m not sure how much you really have to overpay. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons a player might prefer one city over another — likelihood of winning, and proximity to family, seem to be the biggest, though I’m sure that Florida and Washington’s 0% income tax is up there too — but I guess I don’t think Cincinnati would have to overpay that much. If they offer $25, and the Cardinals offer $23, I bet a lot of guys would take the $25, especially because the overall number has such a follow-on effect on all future contracts.

  32. Braves should be in the position where their gambles on FA should be very calculated and Gausman, even if it’s just a year, isn’t the risk to take and ridding his $ brought in the September guys in Hech, Cervelli, and Hamilton.

    Also, if Ortega makes the postseason roster because he’s a LHH, I’d be shocked. If Cervelli can swing a bat, that spot belongs to him.

  33. After the gNats lost last night, we should clinch by Thursday or Friday. After that, let’s give Cervelli every opportunity to win a playoff roster spot. Beyond that, my biggest concern is what role Fried should play.

  34. Dusty S
    has no truck with fusty excess
    so pointedly his sharpened arrows find their mark
    his humor though suggests the fun, it’s all a bit of a lark.

  35. @46 tomorrow

    …and tomorrow … and tomorrow (?)
    creeps on this title race from day to day
    to the last billable hour of recorded time.
    And after all those many games, heroes and fools,
    the Gnats go die their way to dusty death.
    Out out brief candle! Their team’s but poor players
    who strut and fret their hours upon the field
    And then will play no more.
    ‘Tis a tale spoke by idiots, full of sound and fury
    signifying everything.

  36. John Ryan Murphy’s contract has been purchased and Charlie to 60-day IL.

    2 things this likely tells us:

    1. Cervelli isn’t progressing.
    2. With injuries to Camargo, Culberson, and Ender, Braves are likely to carry 3 catchers in the postseason for PH purposes, with Murphy being the emergency backup.

  37. @52

    It would be very sad if that becomes true on the day we need him. His first appearance for us shocked with his excellent contact rate and even his speed on the basepaths.Get him well!

  38. Sadly routine, mundane even, today. Epstein had them by the dozen over a forty year span. So he’s a Pirate. So?

  39. “How are the brownies? Hey, Felipe, I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. I’ve got some chatlogs here that I think you’re gonna wanna talk about.”

  40. Alex and Roger, thank you both.

    There’s some life in the old dog yet. He just asks you forgive the wildly uneven quality of what appears.

  41. @58

    I take your point. But to what extent that would be news would be in Pittsburg not here or anywhere else today.

  42. Another star in AA’s cap. He REALLY did a good job of structuring the bench to deal with the new reality without waiver deadline trades and continuing to make pick ups.

  43. I hold out hope that one of Camargo or Ender are a factor in the playoffs. We need them.

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