clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Federalbaseball.com Guarantee...The Washington Nationals Will Not Lose 100 Games In 2008.

New, comments

My Grandfather used to tell me that a guarantee and a nickel will get you five cents of candy. Alright...I never met either of my grandfathers, they both died long before I was born, but in order to lend weight to that opening maxim I decided to attribute it to some sort or archetype for wise counsel, but the truth is I have nothing with which to back up my wild claims, and as soon as the idea to offer the "guarantee" that the Nationals would not lose 100 games dawned on me, I put my rudimentary math skills to work and realized that I had better not offer any sort of reward against my pronouncements...

After 96 games in the 2008 MLB season, the Washington Nationals* are 36-60. That leaves 66 games to be played when the Nationals return for the beginning of the "second-half" of the 162 game schedule Friday night in Atlanta, a second half in which the Nationals will have to win at least 27 games to avoid losing 100, which would leave them 27-39 in the last nine weeks of the season and 63-99 when it ends. The franchise hasn't finished with that bad a record since 2004, when they were still known as the Expos, and finished 67-95, and they haven't lost 100 games in a season since 1976, (Andre Dawson's rookie campaign), when Montreal finished 55-107, and before that the Expos' Inaugural Season in 1969, when the team dropped 110. (52-110, C'est horrible!)

As for the Washington-based franchises, the last time the Original Senators (who would become the Twins) dropped over a hundred games was back in 1955, when the Roy Sievers-led team finished 53-101 in a 154 game season, and before that you've got to look back to 1909, when George McBride, Walter Johnson and the boys dropped 110 out of 152. 

The second time around for the "Senators", (who would also leave the District and become the Texas Rangers), the DC-based franchise dropped 100 or more in each of its first four seasons, with a rebuilt team that was left devastated by the Twins' departure in '61, dropping 100, 101, 106 and 100 decisions in consecutive campaigns from 1961-64...a fact made more difficult to stomach in light of the success the Minnesota Twins enjoyed upon relocation, finishing first in the American League and losing the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers just four years after moving in 1965, and then winning two more Division titles in their first ten years, with a roster lifted heavily from the nation's capital. (ed. note- "Big ups to Baltimore for knocking the Twins out of the '69 and '70 Postseasons, though, couldn't the Orioles have beaten the Mets in 1969 too? Please?")

In 2005, DC's newly relocated Nationals, managed by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, surprised just about everyone, by not only finishing at .500, with an (81-81) record overall, but by actually occupying first place in the NL East as late in the year as July 24th, before a dismal "second-half" left them once again in last, fifth out of five in the NL East when the season concluded. '06 saw the Nationals come back down to Earth, finishing twenty games under .500 at 71-91, and last year, with all the preseason prognisticators predicting a 100-loss season in Manny Acta's first as Manager, the team improved a little, and defied the expectations, ending the season at 16 games below even, 73-89 after 162. 

Can the '08 Nationals manage a 27-39 record in the 66 remaining games? Through the first 66 games of the '08 season, the Nationals were 26-40, which, (even after a brutal, early 9-game losing streak which saw Washington go from a 3-0 start to 3-9 before they'd win another game), would be just one game short of avoiding losing 100 if they could replicated that (lack of-) success rate over the remainder of the season. Over the previous 66 games, from May 2nd-July 3th this year...the Nationals have gone from 12-18 to 36-60...yeah, that's 24-42...(this could be a problem)...but with Ryan Zimmerman, maybe Lastings Milledge and eventually Elijah Dukes coming back, and a few young pitchers coming up from Columbus...or even Harrisburg? They could play .500 baseb...

Uh...yeah...About that "guarantee" thing...

(ed. note - " * = Team Stats all linked to baseball-reference.com)