Last night, I posted a depressing Win Probability graph if there ever was one. In the interest of equal time, I'll now post one that will pump you up:
[Thanks again, WaPo.com]
Aside from strongly resembling the trends in Needham's hit counter, this graph reminds me of something: If you're going to fall way behind, it's probably better to do so early on because at least there's still time to chip away at the lead. And chip away the Nats most certainly did, at least if you count Church's three-run homer a chip. The ninth inning was thrilling and somewhat predictable in the sense that Jorge Julio is Armando Benitez Junior.
Anyway, a fun win is a win we'll gladly take as fans of the Nats, but after the first two games I reckon we'd have taken even a mundane win. In a weak moment, I did a little superficial research on the 1988 O's, the squad that started the season with 21 consecutive losses. I remember that team well, and I wouldn't for a second have predicted anything close to that kind of start out of the Nats. Even a double-digit losing streak to start the season is, what, a once-a-decade event? But, after two opening blowouts, I was curious about how the O's lost those twenty plus one games.
Twelve out of the 21 losses were by three runs or less, with five of the defeats by a single run (and a couple in extra innings). Is this normal or abnormal for a team that bad? I confess I don't have much experience with the final scores of teams that lose a score (the other kind) of games in a row. While it sounds like the O's were hanging around in many of the losses, nearly half of the defeats were by four runs or more, including 12-1 games aplenty.
Like I said, I doubt there's much of a comparison here (especially after the Nats, you know, won a game), not that this is tremendous consolation if the team is like 5-16 after 21 games. Maybe they will be, but I'm not changing my initial prediction of 65 wins. Neither the two pathetic losses nor the stirring comeback win changed that.