The Nature of the Positive and the Negative
Inactivity begets writers block. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. I don't write anything for a few days, my mind stops thinking of things to write, and then suddenly I have nothing to write. It happens quicker than one would think. It has only been about a week since my last blog post and yet I have no ideas. The only thing I can think of to write about is the oddity that we've discussed on the podcast of our (Citizens) constant switching between being perceived as positive and negative. Back during April and May we kept looking at the Nats and we saw a team that had a positive run differential and a FIP much lower than their ERA. The Nats at the time were losing and ended May with a losing record. The Nationals in May were also putting out line-ups with Nate McLouth, Danny Espinosa, Greg Dobbs, and Jose Lobaton. The Nats simply couldn't score runs and they couldn't score runs because half their regular position players were on the DL.
The Nats ended May at .500, dropped below on June first against Yu Darvish, and then went on an impressive run through June and July. Since June third the Washington Nationals are 33-21 and have scored 4.4 runs a game. They've allowed 3.2 runs a game over that same period of time and built their positive run differential to the best in the NL. With all that success you'd think there'd be nothing to complain about, but even great teams, even World Series teams, have flaws.
Having a positive run differential is a great thing. It means that a team is playing well even if the record doesn't show it, and while the Nationals have a 3.5 lead in the NL East it should be more. They may have won 65 games but their expected win total is 65. They've underplayed expectations by five games. That is a lot and it is worth looking into why that is so. The biggest reason is that the Nationals are 13-17 in one run games and 3-8 in extra-inning games. Those are coin flip games and should produce a record closer to .500. All of this could be counted as bad luck or a result of a first year manager that has made questionable decisions at times.
When we look into the stats and see something either positive or negative we're going to share it. It is kind of what we should do as bloggers and podcast hosts. It doesn't mean that we're overly optimistic nut bags when the Nats are losing or doom and gloom machines when the Nats are winning. We are just looking at the stats and sharing what we find and saying, "Wait a minute. What we're seeing may not be what's really going on."