Call it what you will; a statistical oddity; an inability to string together two straight above average or subpar performances; simple, dumb luck. Whatever it was, the Nationals ended a bit of a bizarre streak with their 3-2 win in Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon. The victory gave the Nats a two-game winning streak, marking the first time since April 15-17 (three straight wins... one in Philadelphia followed by two straight at home over Milwaukee) that they either won or lost consecutive games. That's right! There were ten straight days of a win followed by a loss. Some quick notes:
- The streak saw the Nats outscored 39-37. By the Bill James' Pythagorean Theorem, they would have been expected to win 4.74 and lose 5.26 in a ten game span by those numbers. To extrapolate to a 162 game total, we'd be looking at 76.73 (or 77) wins if they were to stick with the pace.
- It included two shutouts... One for the Nats in Sunday's 1-0 win over the Dodgers.... One against the Nats in last Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Rockies. It also included two games that saw the opposition score ten runs. Ironically, Scott Olsen was involved in the Nats' shutout and one of the games in which they allowed ten runs. He allowed six in two innings in a 10-4 loss to the Rockies before tossing seven shutout frames against the Dodgers on Sunday.
- The Nats' highest offensive output during the streak actually came in the first game of the streak, and it came in a loss. They were stuck playing catchup after Jason Marquis imploded before hitting the disabled list, but made a game of it in an 11-7 loss.
More non-streak stuff after the jump....
It's definitely been a great start to the 2010 season. Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Cubs moved the Nats to 12-10 on the year. In 2009, the Nats didn't win their twelfth game until May 13 (6-3 in San Francisco), moving them to 12-21. Sadly, as was the case with many Nats wins a year ago, it was followed by a lengthy (in this case, seven game) losing streak.
The question is, what's most impressive about what the Nats have done so far? Is it that they've managed to stay afloat without their best player in the lineup consistently? Is it the fact that they've shrugged off the absolute bust that big ticket free agent Jason Marquis has been (yes.... some of us were expecting that)? Could it be the way they've handled what seemed like such a brutal schedule in the preseason?
I have to go with the schedule. Losing Zimmerman for the better part of the past two weeks has certainly been disappointing, and the fact that the club hasn't folded without their leader in the lineup is a pleasant surprise. However, the fact remains that the Nats have played seven series so far. Of those six opponents (they've faced the NL Champion Phillies twice), three made the playoffs a year ago (Philadelphia, Colorado, Los Angeles). Another was over .500 (Chicago... 83-78). Even the Brewers fell just shy of the .500 mark, posting an 80-82 season. The only team that actually took a series from the Nats in April was the Phillies (twice). For a team that's won a combined 118 games the past two years to go over .500 against that bunch in the season's first month certainly indicates that there could be better days ahead.
Now, if they can just keep this going against their nemesis in Miami this weekend......
Signing off (optimistically, for once).......