Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

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Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby UMFan83 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:43 pm

Interested in starting the discussion of this series. The Nationals scare me. Not that I don't think we are as good as them, but they are a really good team.

Starters:

Strasburg - 2.63 ERA, 3.27 xFIP, 5.3 WAR, has a 1.38 ERA and .506 OPS against since the end of June (12 starts)
Scherzer - 2.55 ERA, 3.29 xFIP, 5.9 WAR, has seemingly never given up a hit to a RHB
Gonzalez - 2.75 ERA, 4.21 xFIP,. 3.3 WAR, is good but is a very up and down pitcher in general and seems to be getting lucky
Roark - 4.59 ERA, 4.17 xFIP, 2.4 WAR

Offense has 4 900+ OPS guys, a couple of OK dudes and then some garbage. The bench has a couple of good bats as well.

Seems Zimmerman, Rendon and even Murphy started out really strong and have faded. Zimmerman has an OPS in the mid-.700's since June, while Murphy and Rendon's sub-800 OPS stretch started in mid-July. The Cubs are still in Zimmerman's head, and while Murphy is having a strong year relative to his career, he's taken a little step down from last year, and his defense sucks. Bryce Harper is very good but as a future Cub will suck in this series and blame it on rust coming back from the injury.

Adam Lind is having a nice run as a utility guy, and Trea Turner is going to be a handful when he gets on base.

The bullpen was greatly improved after the deadline. In the 1st half they were last in the majors in reliever ERA and WAR. In the 2nd half, they were 3rd.

Smarter people, please do smarter analysis please :)
Last edited by UMFan83 on Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Tim » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:46 pm

They have played half their games against the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Marlins. They are not nearly as good as they seem to be.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Old Style » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:48 pm

A small speed bump on the way to another WS crown.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby mul21 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:56 pm

Tim wrote:They have played over half their games against the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Marlins. They are not nearly as good as they seem to be.


This is exactly where I'm at. I have a feeling those numbers are a bit of a paper tiger for that reason.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Banedon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:58 pm

Tim wrote:They have played over half their games against the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Marlins. They are not nearly as good as they seem to be.


The were also 10 games over .500 vs a pretty tough west division.

Nats
Vs East 47-29
Vs Central 17-13
Vs West 21-11
Vs AL 10-10

Cubs
Vs East 21-13
Vs Central 43-29
Vs West 13-19
Vs AL 12-8
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Sammy Sofa » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:59 pm

I know in a 5-game series it's the usual, "the team that takes game 1 usually wins it," but I think that's especially critical here. Not because they're in DC, but because this is a Dusty team; get them immediately on the ropes right away and encourage Dusty to be at his Dustiest as he panics as only Dusty can.

I'll be really bummed if someone other than Hendricks or Quintana is starting game 1. Do the Nats have any kind of real team splits against RHP or LHP?
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby UMFan83 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:02 pm

Sammy Sofa wrote:I know in a 5-game series it's the usual, "the team that takes game 1 usually wins it," but I think that's especially critical here. Not because they're in DC, but because this is a Dusty team; get them immediately on the ropes right away and encourage Dusty to be at his Dustiest as he panics as only Dusty can.

I'll be really bummed if someone other than Hendricks or Quintana is starting game 1. Do the Nats have any kind of real team splits against RHP or LHP?


Pretty sure they are worse against LHP. Considering their 2 best hitters are lefty that would make sense

Edit: Nvm they are pretty even
Last edited by UMFan83 on Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Agony and Ivy » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:04 pm

UMFan83 wrote:
Sammy Sofa wrote:I know in a 5-game series it's the usual, "the team that takes game 1 usually wins it," but I think that's especially critical here. Not because they're in DC, but because this is a Dusty team; get them immediately on the ropes right away and encourage Dusty to be at his Dustiest as he panics as only Dusty can.

I'll be really bummed if someone other than Hendricks or Quintana is starting game 1. Do the Nats have any kind of real team splits against RHP or LHP?


Pretty sure they are worse against LHP. Considering their best hitters are lefty that would make sense


Team wRC+ of 106 against LHP and 107 against RHP. (edited to remove pitchers hitting numbers)

vs LHP .283/.339/.462, 21.0% K, 7.0% BB, wOBA of .339
vs RHP .271/.341/.467, 20.4% K, 9.3% BB, wOBA of .340

So they really don't have any meaningful split. I, for one, am looking forward to Justin Wilson navigating Harper and Murphy multiple times in this series.
Last edited by Agony and Ivy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby CubinNY » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:08 pm

The Nationals don't scare me as long as Dusty is managing them. He's burnt out his starters. I think whichever bullpen holds down runs better will win this series.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby biittner77 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:15 pm

If this series was played about 5 years ago, the Nats would be huge favorites based solely on their starting pitching. They'll probably be heavily favored this year. However, starting pitcher usage has changed drastically as illustrated last year by Maddon pulling the starter before facing the lineup a third time through the order. The keys to the series are how early the Cubs can get to the Nats' starters. Whoever has the better pen will win.

On to things that probably don't matter but it's almost lunch time and I could go for some meatballs. The Nats haven't had much success in the post season. The pressure is squarely on them to win now before the face the end of the road for Zimmerman and the departure of Harper in FA. Not to mention Dusty trying to ruin Scherzer and Strasburg. This may be their best chance, will they rise to the occasion or collapse? Meanwhile, the Cubs will come in "knowing how to win" and with nothing to lose.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:17 pm

Let's look at the 2nd half only to get a sense for how things are trending for them.

88 wRC+ is tied for 11th in the NL

3.45 ERA and 3.84 FIP are both 1st in the NL

Their true talent level with the bat is better than that, but like UMFan said, they've had some hitters fall off in the 2nd half. Dusty is going to fail to press the right buttons with lineup decisions too which is nice. As a team they're almost identical v. LHP and RHP so having 2 lefties in the postseason rotation isn't going to help or hurt. There's not really anything insightful to say on how to limit them. Keep Turner off the bases, don't let the soft underbelly of the lineup(Taylor, Goodwin, Wieters, Werth, Kendrick) beat you. Good news is the Cubs pen doesn't really have much in the way of extreme splits in the back end so they won't have to burn 5 relievers to get through an inning on matchups.

The rotation is obviously real good. Scherzer is a monster, but thankfully the Cubs depth will be able to stack 5+ lefties against him. Strasburg has a 0.98 ERA in the second half (in only 9 starts) and doesn't have the extreme splits. Gonzalez is having a good year but his peripherals belie his ERA and he's always been one to have his command come and go. Roark is easily the worst of the 8 starters that might feature in this series. The pen has been much better/deeper after their July shopping spree. Doolittle and Madson have been as advertised, but aside from them and a lefty specialist or two, they give a lot of innings to guys with unremarkable stuff. Matt Albers's ERA is way outpacing his peripherals, midseason aquisition Kintzler doesn't strike anyone out, and old friend Joe Blanton is around for good measure.

That middle relief looks like a potential advantage relative to the Cubs being able to go Edwards/Strop/Davis with Montgomery/Rondon/Duensing around for middle relief. It shouldn't be an end to and of itself though, especially given the SP matchups. Scherzer, Strasburg (and 2017 Gio) are still great the 3rd time through the order and Dusty sure isn't going to have a quick leash on them, so if you pass up hittable pitches early in the hopes of teeing off on Kintzler in the 6th/7th, you set yourself up for the SP going 7 strong.


Bottom line, you've gotta beat Scherzer/Strasburg at least once. Not easy, but their offense is a little less scary than it appeared early in the season, middle relief is an opportunity, and lest we forget, this group has never won a playoff series and has a manager that will absolutely screw things up. This will be their first postseason with a fully operational Scherzer and Strasburg though, but the Cubs have the best offense around that's deep enough to always have an advantage, a deep rotation, a very solid pen, and a manager that isn't going to let tradition force him into bad choices. Cubs in 4.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby UMFan83 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:23 pm

Thanks TT, that's the kind of info I needed.

If anyone is wondering what Nats fans are saying about the Cubs, leave it to your resident 'Obsessed What Other Team's Fans Are Saying About The Cubs' poster:

http://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=35740.0
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Cubswin11 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:24 pm

Don’t be afraid to pitch Scherzer on short rest, Dusty and also use your bullpen and lineup configuration in a completely wrong way.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Thed Hoyerstein » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:32 pm

Are we looking at an afternoon game for game 1 next Friday? I wonder if it's even possible for the Cubs to be slotted in the early game, but I would be kinda surprised.

I also wonder if TBS has set time slots for its games, which on the opening playoff Friday last year, they had the 12:08 (TEX-TOR) and 3:38 (CLE-BOS) games whereas FS1 had the 5:38 (LAD-WSN) and 9:15 (Eventual WS Champions - even year magic until the cubs) games. I'm guessing MLB makes the schedule.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby bukie » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:33 pm

It's not a question of if, but when pitchers will run out of gas with Dusty. Unfortunately, it may not happen until after the initial series, but it will happen.

I also anticipate Dusty will pitch to Bryant with the game on the line before Rizzo because Bryant hasn't beaten him before.

I also anticipate Dusty using the 25th man on a hunch to start over one of their productive hitters just because the dude's been there before.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Andy » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:33 pm

Thed Hoyerstein wrote:Are we looking at an afternoon game for game 1 next Friday? I wonder if it's even possible for the Cubs to be slotted in the early game, but I would be kinda surprised.

I also wonder if TBS has set time slots for its games, which on the opening playoff Friday last year, they had the 12:08 (TEX-TOR) and 3:38 (CLE-BOS) games whereas FS1 had the 5:38 (LAD-WSN) and 9:15 (Eventual WS Champions - even year magic until the cubs) games. I'm guessing MLB makes the schedule.

MLB makes the schedule. I'm guessing we end up around that 5:30 slot because the game in LA is likely to be the late game.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Cubswin11 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:36 pm

Thed Hoyerstein wrote:Are we looking at an afternoon game for game 1 next Friday? I wonder if it's even possible for the Cubs to be slotted in the early game, but I would be kinda surprised.

I also wonder if TBS has set time slots for its games, which on the opening playoff Friday last year, they had the 12:08 (TEX-TOR) and 3:38 (CLE-BOS) games whereas FS1 had the 5:38 (LAD-WSN) and 9:15 (Eventual WS Champions - even year magic until the cubs) games. I'm guessing MLB makes the schedule.

I bet we have a late afternoon game, one of the AL games will be the noonish start then we’ll go between 3:30-5:30 if I had to guess.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby ConstableRabbit » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:40 pm

Will there be a camera running when Joe tells Lackey he's not on the roster?
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:42 pm

ConstableRabbit wrote:Will there be a camera running when Joe tells Lackey he's not on the roster?


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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby UMFan83 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:46 pm

Thed Hoyerstein wrote:Are we looking at an afternoon game for game 1 next Friday? I wonder if it's even possible for the Cubs to be slotted in the early game, but I would be kinda surprised.

I also wonder if TBS has set time slots for its games, which on the opening playoff Friday last year, they had the 12:08 (TEX-TOR) and 3:38 (CLE-BOS) games whereas FS1 had the 5:38 (LAD-WSN) and 9:15 (Eventual WS Champions - even year magic until the cubs) games. I'm guessing MLB makes the schedule.


I don't think TBS/FS1 has a set time slot, it really depends on how MLB wants to schedule

This year is interesting because if both WC1 teams win, you are looking at these series:

Indians (Longest Drought) vs. Yankees
Red Sox vs. Astros
Cubs vs. Nationals
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks

Since there are only 2 teams that aren't in CT or ET, it seems almost certain that Dodgers/DBacks would be the late game whenever there is a 4 game day. The other games are difficult to predict, but historically the MLB loves putting the Yankees at night and the fact that the Indians take the Cubs mantle as longest drought makes me think they will get the early evening game.

I'm guessing Friday will play out like this:

12:00 - Red Sox @ Astros
3:30 - Cubs @ Nationals
6:30 - Yankees @ Indians
9:00 - Diamondbacks @ Dodgers

Now for Saturday, would they really make the Dodgers play an early afternoon (for them) game after giving them the late spot the night before? Maybe, but I think its more likely its Cubs in the afternoon and Dodgers at night.

Monday is another 4 game day and you are looking at the MLB deciding between Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field for the night game. Not looking great again for an evening game.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Banedon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:49 pm

UMFan83 wrote:Thanks TT, that's the kind of info I needed.

If anyone is wondering what Nats fans are saying about the Cubs, leave it to your resident 'Obsessed What Other Team's Fans Are Saying About The Cubs' poster:

http://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=35740.0


Lester has been terrible and Arrieta has gone 2.1, 5, and 3 innings in his last 3 starts. Quintana has been pitching like an Ace, but after that it gets dicey for them.


lol @ the total lack of mention of Hendricks.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Sammy Sofa » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:49 pm

Also: the Cubs need to win game 1 because I am going to game 2, and I am not confident my 2 year in-person streak of the Cubs going 0-8 can be overcome.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby biittner77 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:58 pm

Sammy Sofa wrote:Also: the Cubs need to win game 1 because I am going to game 2, and I am not confident my 2 year in-person streak of the Cubs going 0-8 can be overcome.


Ever been to Nationals park before? It's the least interesting stadium ever built. Somehow you're always facing the sun no matter where you sit.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby Banedon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:00 pm

biittner77 wrote:
Sammy Sofa wrote:Also: the Cubs need to win game 1 because I am going to game 2, and I am not confident my 2 year in-person streak of the Cubs going 0-8 can be overcome.


Ever been to Nationals park before? It's the least interesting stadium ever built. Somehow you're always facing the sun no matter where you sit.


A rotating stadium sounds pretty interesting to me.
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Re: Discuss NLDS vs. Dusty Baker's Nationals

Postby UMFan83 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:03 pm

biittner77 wrote:
Sammy Sofa wrote:Also: the Cubs need to win game 1 because I am going to game 2, and I am not confident my 2 year in-person streak of the Cubs going 0-8 can be overcome.


Ever been to Nationals park before? It's the least interesting stadium ever built. Somehow you're always facing the sun no matter where you sit.


I went there this year. It's a fairly boring ballpark. It actually reminded me a lot of the Reds park except instead of a backdrop looking at Kentucky, its a bunch of boring office buildings. I did like the beer selection and the Shake Shack inside however.
Last edited by UMFan83 on Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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