Monday, May 7, 2007

Five-Game Non-Winning Streak is Inconsequential

It would be very easy to be down on the Nats right now, with a five game non-winning streak, another injury to the man thought to be the staff ace, another blown save, and the team in fifth place in the NL East. But it's not so bad and, more importantly, still not historically bad. Perhaps we do harp on this not-the-worst-of-all-time point a little too much, but we feel it only fair, since it was the one season result deemed most probable for this team by much of the baseball world. It's also worth noting that the Kansas City Royals are only 1/2 game better than these would-be-all-time-worst Nationals. So let's see pundits and angry sports radio hosts talk about them and the '62 Mets.

But on to the positive. Check out Shawn Hill, part of the starting rotation that was supposed to be completely laughable. In six of his last seven starts he's allowed two runs (in the other he allowed three). By all rights he should have had his third win yesterday, but, well, no reason to dwell on that. Others can do that for us. His unexpected emergence is a bright spot even as John Patterson continues to struggle. Jason Bergmann has also settled down, bringing his ERA to a near-respectable 3.34. The bullpen has shown signs of being legitmate (recent closing trouble notwithstanding), or at least servicable.

The pitching situation, combined with a gaggle of hitters who do have the collective ability to drive in runs, is a sure indication that the debacles of the first couple weeks of the season are not going to be the norm. In fact, since that difficult time, the Nationals have been quite competitive, losing a lot of one-and-two-run games.

So, we say yet again, it's not as bad as it could be (and actually is a little bit encouraging). Besides, we all know what this season is really about anyway: the draft!

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