No Analysis

No analysis today, just emotion.

I watched the Nats clinch the first post-season playoff berth in DC since 1933. I am so amped right now I don’t know what to do or how to feel or what to say.

“Remember where you are,” Charlie Slowes always says, “so you remember where you were.” I was in Section 316, Row C, Seat 12. I had taken my time getting up to my seat. Uncharacteristically, I did not keep score. 

It was a beautiful, cool night. Again, my thoughts turned to October, and whether I might need some new cool-weather gear.

As the outs ticked away, I remember doing the math in my head. Clippard had appeared twice on Wednesday; Garcia had pitched the 7th, Mattheus the 8th.

It was going to have to be Drew Storen.

Drew Storen, whose Nats park debut I watched–who, when he was announced into the game, caused me to bolt from the hot-dog line and back to my seat to see what the new kid had to offer.

Storen struck out the side. He struck out Matt Kemp. A Dodger fan somewhere in the lower bowl took issue with this, caused a fight, and was escorted off, yelling and pointing to the last. He struck out Adrian Gonzalez. 

He faced Hanley Ramirez and baffled him so completely that, on any other night, I would have laughed with joy.

But tonight, the fireworks went BANG ZOOM behind me, and all at once, thirty thousand people at Nats park were roaring. It was as if at that moment, we had finally given ourselves permission to feel joy–not just happiness or giddiness, but genuine joy. 

“What’s the big deal?” I hear a recorded Davey Johnson ask, as I get to my car and drive home. There are bigger things now to hope for. The Nationals are no longer just scrappy, or surprising, or lucky.

They’re good. And they’re on their way.

Tomorrow is another day. I’ll have to go to work, but I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow night just a bit more. This baseball season is already so much better than I could have predicted–and there’s still more of it to come.

My face still hurts from smiling.

Go Nats.

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4 thoughts on “No Analysis

  1. I would like to see you re-visit your statistics on shut-downs, melt-downs and heartburn. The bullpen has just not gotten the job done lately. It feels like a Braves lead in the late innings is a lock. I know special sauce doesn’t really play out in the post-season, but the blown saves recently are troubling.

    • Two words: don’t panic.

      As a staff Nats relievers lead the NL in shutdowns this year, with 140 to date. The Braves? Sixth, with 119 shutdowns.

      In a neat bit of symmetry, however, the Braves have the fewest meltdowns in the NL (46). The Nats are…sixth with 64.

      The Nats and Braves are pretty evenly matched. Who wins? Well, as they say, that’s why they play the games.

  2. I have pored over Clippard’s stats and it is difficult to figure out what has gone wrong for him in the second half. He seems okay in terms of whip and the like. The only thing that I can find is that he is walking a bit more batters than he should and that he has a low ground ball rate, as I recall. Could it just be bad luck or is it rather regression to the mean and this is what he is, a decent but not great reliever? Any thoughts?

    • Answering this question would require more time on the pitch f/x database than I have available. The worst of the BB binge seems to be behind Clip. He posted a 4.5 BB/9 in August, but in September that has dropped to 0.96 BB/9.

      If it’s anything, I think it’s his HR/FB rate regressing a bit towards league average. I am still not overly concerned about Clippard. I don’t think anything is “wrong” with him–he’s just not Rollie Fingers.

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