The Search for Blame


This isn't just a baseball problem. This is a societal problem, but as this is a Washington Nationals blog we won't get into that. This also should have been written yesterday but I forgot my idea almost as soon as I had it. Videogames are rotting the middle-aged minds of America, and I am middle-aged if I die at 64. Like many adults this week I have been suffering from GTAV addiction so you get a blog post about Wednesday's game on Friday, because I still want to give you guys something while serving my own addiction. 

On to this problem I was speaking of. It is that the most important thing to people is placing blame, and there always has to be one reason. After the Nationals 5-2 loss to the Braves most of the callers were all over Olhendorf, and I know writing a blog in response to the lowest common denominator isn't always the best idea, but I’m going to let those other blogs take the high road. I am going to charge through the low road to the Phil Wood callers.  

Most of them were blaming Ohlendorf, or really Davey leaving him out there, and that is an easy thing to blame. He was a spot starter, there should have been some kind of pitch limit on him, and in his brief time as a Nationals starter he struggled the third time through the order. These are all things Davey should have known and even though Ohlendorf was pitching great maybe he should have taken him out. But, the Nats bullpen also hasn't been great this season and even though Ohlendorf gave up three runs, as well as the lead in the immediate half inning following the Nats obtaining it, the bullpen gave up the other two.    

Phil Wood responded to the callers by saying that the pitching wasn't to blame but that the offense was, because they only scored two runs. I am here to let the callers and Phil Wood know they are both wrong and they are both right. Yay for being right, it is the most important thing to be these days after all. The truth is when a baseball team in 2013 scores two runs they have a .257 winning percentage and when they allow five, .339. Neither are good odds, but here is a bit of a kicker. When a team is leading heading into the sixth inning they have a .809 winning percentage. That takes care of the 10% edge Phil Wood had and may give the advantage to the callers, but my point isn't that either has an advantage. It is that blaming one person or one aspect of a team for a loss is foolish.

The Nats lost to the Braves on Wednesday because they scored two runs and because they allowed five. They lost because they hit only singles or drew walks and they lost because Ohlendorf, Davey, and the bullpen couldn't protect a two run lead with four innings to go. They lost for all of these reasons and more. Baseball can be broken down in so many ways and to such a fine point but still people want the one simple thing to blame. They want someone to point at so they can form a mob and scream, "It is this guy’s fault, burn him with fire." This is the world we live in and why should our reaction to sports be any different than our reaction to anything else? 

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