As a general rule, I don't do game recap posts. It's not that I consider them the lowest form of baseball blogging, or at least not quite. It's just that I'm not at the game, and I'm not a sportswriter, and it seems that I'll leave the "gamers" to sportswriters who were at the game. As another general rule, I don't do Win Probability Added posts. It's not that I think they're pointless "Ooooh" type posts, or at least not quite. It's just that if you're going to go the WPA route, you might as well do it right, like Lookout Landing does.
With these general rules in mind, I now embark on a game post that uses WPA data. But I offer only a little bit of both.
What this graph means is . . . well, what this graph means is that literally the only time the Nats were in tonight's game was prior to the game's first pitch. The Marlins scored four in the opening frame (in unremittingly ugly fashion), and their odds of winning never dipped below seventy-five percent. Another way of putting that is the Nats never had better than twenty-five percent odds of pulling it out. For the bulk of the night, they weren't even at, what, fifteen percent? This is another way of saying it must have been a desultory night at the ballpark.
As for the game itself, it's probably important not to fall for two simple urges. The first is to take anything Carpenter and Sutton were saying on the MASN broadcast too seriously. This was my first game with (legitimate) MASN access, and it seemed to me Sutton in particular was accentuating the positive to the point of obvious spin. Carpenter was innocuously pleasant. Let's have a little fire, something like a Harry Caray, "Oh, those errors" lament.
Conversely, the second urge worth avoiding is to start the self-flagellation after a pair of opening losses. Yes, they were ugly losses; in a certain sense, this one was even uglier than Opening Day. And yes, there will be a fair share of ugly losses. However, there will be some good days mixed in, and it's worth spotting the positive even on the ugly days. This evening, for instance, Kory Casto made his big league debut, going one for four with a walk. Carpenter tried to characterize Casto as a peer of Zimmerman, a bookend who will be in DC for years and years. That's stretching it a bit, but this is the team's best hitting prospect at the moment. If he develops even a shade better than a reasonable projection at the moment, then he's a valuable contibutor. So let's highlight Casto tonight and think happy thoughts.
Continuing with the happy thoughts theme, I'll decline to comment on Josh Wilson's performance. It's better that way. Instead, I'll note that Shawn Hill comported himself fairly well despite essentially facing off against two teams at once. Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus (reg. req'd) spots Jerome Williams as the rotation's potential revelation; while that may be, I do think Hill could pull off a passable performance if he remains healthy. So that's what we'll take from tonight. Hill could have been gone in the first but instead went five with room to spare. Happy thoughts.