The Good with the Bad: LAD Series Takeaways

The Good With the Bad is a segment in which Citizens of Natstown contributor Luigi (Ouij) de Guzman (@ouij) and Alyssa Wolice break down the negatives and positives for each series, respectively. You, the reader, can then decide to see the glass half empty - or full - with each series wrap.

The Washington Nationals dropped two of three games against the L.A. Dodgers on the West Coast—that now widens the New York Mets' hold of first place in the NL East to 3 1/2 games.

OUIJ'S TAKE:

Important Update: Nats 3.5 games behind the Mets, giving a tragic number 45 (combined Mets wins and Nats losses that would eliminate the Nats). As of today, the Mets playoff odds are at 59.8% and the Nats at 40.2%. Don't let wishful thinking get in the way of those realities.

Junior Varsity Killers: The Nats demolished some guy named Brett Anderson on Monday. That was neat. But they were totally shut down by Kershaw and Greinke, more or less what we all expected. The Nats' inability to hit real big-league pitching has been infuriating this year.

Gnome Hope: Jayson Werth Chia in the Dodgers series: 1 for 9, 4 Ks. Notice: no walks. Jayson Werth was always a good bet to take walks and grind out at bats. Not this year. His walk rate is down to 8% (well down from his career average of 12%). His strikeout rate this year (21.6%) isn't too far off his career average (22.7%). But ISO (Isolated power: Slugging minus batting average) has collapsed to a miserable .091. Remember 2011, when Nats fans routinely booed Werth's terrible offense? Werth's ISO that year .157. Yes, he is that much worse now. Nats GM Mike Rizzo's failure to pick up an extra outfielder at the trade deadline (Cespedes? Gomez? Beuller? Beuller? Beuller?) looms large now. Werth has been hurt all year. He is still hurt. The Nats keep running him out there every day for reasons that are beyond my understanding—Veteran prerogative? Marketing?—but they seem not to be related to winning baseball games.

ALYSSA'S TAKE:

Gio in Control. Sure, Gio Gonzalez is a far cry from achieving my preseason bold prediction of leading the Nationals in wins this season. (Disclaimer: If you take the full stroll down memory lane and listen to the preseason podcast in its entirety, feel free to skip through my expectations for “unlikely managerial candidate” Matt Williams.) Digression aside, Monday’s contest against the L.A. Dodgers marked Gio’s longest outing of the season. The left-hander made it eight innings without allowing a run, and gave up just seven hits and a walk. And, thanks to the Nats’ offense, Doug Fister’s awful ninth inning didn’t cost Washington the win.

Lucky 13. In the ninth inning of Monday’s game, Doug Fister did almost as much as he could to undo the ground that the Nationals’ offense had covered. Thanks, in part, to Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond, Fister’s foils weren’t enough to leave Washington winless in L.A. The Nationals as a whole tallied 13 hits on the night—10 of which happened with starter Brett Anderson on the mound (Hey, every hit counts, right?). Desmond led the onslaught with two homers—a two-run shot in the second, and a solo shot off J.P. Howell in the eighth. Werth’s performance the remainder of the series spiraled downward, sure, but on Monday night, he knocked in two of the Nationals’ eight runs. Michael Taylor, Ryan Zimmerman and Yunel Escobar added the other three ribbies.

Rip the Band-Aid off. Never mind the positive California wins-losses or runs scored records the Nationals carried with them to start the Dodgers series. (MLB reported that, with Monday’s win, the Nats held a 4-1 record with 35 runs scored in the Golden State.) With a dose of reality, Nationals fans should accept that the team’s success in California likely stops there—if that wasn’t already made evident by the Nats’ back-to-back shutout losses Tuesday and Wednesday, or the 60-53 record held by their next opponent, the San Francisco Giants. But, the positive news is that the Nats are getting what should be their toughest road stretch out of the way now, in mid-August. Yes, Washington’s season-ending series will take place at Citi Field against the now-first-place New York Mets (Remember: Only a physician can properly diagnose the cause for sudden onset heart palpitations). But, at the very least, the Nats have the cards in hand to regain ground in the many series following their four-game set with the Giants. Add to that, the Nats' upcoming road highlights include a six-day set against the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.


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