I saw about half of those three games on Saturday. There's nothing I love more than a single admission one-and-a-half-header, so after the lights went out on Friday I made sure to get myself a seat in the very hottest part of the stadium, rendering me a deep mahogany color. Blog game George Hamilton.
The narrative seems to be that the Nats ran into a "gauntlet of aces," so who can blame them for losing? The Dodgers threw reigning MVP Clayton Kershaw, unpleasant weirdo Zack Greinke, and even Mike Bolsinger at us - we should be happy we won one of them!
Which, I mean, yeah, it's tough to hit Kershaw and Greinke, just as it's tough to watch Kershaw's Subway commercial or (I'm guessing) have a conversation with Greinke.
|I. Like. To. Eat. A. Sandwich. With. A. Steady. Diet. Of. Fastballs. Oh God I'm so lonely|
If you can't score runs off good pitchers, you lose. My evidence for this is the 2014 postseason, in which the Nationals couldn't even score runs off the remains of Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy, and they lost.
So this series loss is not something to brush off as bad starting rotation timing. The playoffs are nothing but bad timing. They don't let the Bolsingers pitch in October; you have to hit the good ones.
This winds up being a happy corollary to my Aroldis Chapman longings. As I baked in the right field sun, I was musing on how odd it was that the Nats were starting Clint Robinson against Kershaw. I don't mean to pick on Robinson, really. He's a great story! And he's producing, which is more than you can say for some of the jockjaws on this team. Of all the people who have ever played baseball, he's definitely one of the twenty best who are currently on Washington's active roster. He's a glittering gem of a baseball professional.
But you have to think that any manager - even Matt Williams! - would rather not play Robinson, who is a marginal major leaguer who bats left-handed, against Kershaw, who is the best left-handed pitcher, no matter how dry and clinical his Subway commercials come off.
I can't even blame Williams for this one, though. The only other option in left was Matt den Dekker, who also bats lefty. Personally, I would have given den Dekker the start in the second game on Saturday, since about 40 minutes previously he'd won the first game of the day by den Dekking one into the upper den Dekk, but whatever. Williams had no choice but to pencil in a marginal lefty hitter against Kershaw.
The Reds aren't selling only pitchers. Remember Marlon Byrd? He hits right-handed, he's making more money than the Reds want to spend, and he was a National as recently as 2006. All of that screams "throw-in in a Chapman trade" to me.
Ten years ago, he saved us from starting Endy Chavez every day. He can save us again.
Seriously, a Robinson/Byrd platoon in left field every day goes a long way toward solving Priority Number One for the low cost of about three million dollars. It ain't my money.
|Artist's conception of what it would look like if Marlon Byrd played for the Nats again.|