Filtering by Tag: Expectations

When Expectations End

It has become a yearly tradition for me to write a post just before OpeningDay on how reality is waiting to make us all look like idiots, and I will freely admit that this post was more enjoyable when the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees were picked to be the best teams in baseball. Now it is the Nationals. The team I root for is the team everyone is expecting to be the best team in baseball just like the Tigers last season and the Red Sox the year before that (I don't remember who was predicted to be the best team in 2010 but it certainly wasn't the Giants or the Rangers). While the Tigers did ultimately make it to the World Series they didn't make it look easy. The Tigers, predicted to have the best record in baseball, finished ten games back of the Washington Nationals.  ​

Now the Nationals are in the Tigers shoes and lots and lots of very smart people are picking them to win it all, but keep in mind these are the same smart people that picked the A's and Orioles to finish last in their divisions in 2012. Every season something unexpected happens, and it is going to happen again this season. Even with the best odds in Vegas at 7 to 1 the Nationals have only a 14% chance to win it all. The fact that teams defy the odds and make us all look foolish is what makes baseball great, but now as Washington Nationals fans we're no longer rooting for Luke Skywalker to blow up the Death Star. We are instead hoping that the Death Star turns its icy gaze upon Tatooine before Luke Skywalker even meets Obi Wan.

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Lowered Expectations

I was perusing some of the darker corners of the Natsmosphere the otherevening and I came across a discussion about the blind optimism and unrealistic expectations for 2013. I don't know if they meant specifically from Nats fans, from the Nats manager, or from national publications which have picked the Nationals to win the World Series. That much was unclear, but a couple of interesting points for their doubt were brought up. The first main concern a lot of people have is that the Nats pitching staff was lucky last season and destined to have an injury this season. The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore was on MLB radio last night and mentioned that the Nats were lucky to have gotten 150 innings from their top five starters. My first thought was to wonder if they were really the only ones so lucky and if so what other teams were just as lucky.   ​

Because I wrote about the Reds yesterday and the 3 1/3 innings they gave to Todd Redmond I didn't need to look them up, but the Giants were just as healthy having Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Zito all pitch over 180 innings and giving only 6 innings to Eric Hacker and 4 2/3 to Yusmeiro Petit. Those two teams ended up being healthier and using less pitchers than the Nationals because they had no shutdown or Wang experiment as part of their rotations. There were also at least three other teams that had five pitchers who did pitch over 150 innings as parts of their final rotations, but for the Tigers and Sanchez, the Dodgers and Blanton, and the Angels and Greinke most of those 150 innings were done for another team. There are also the Phillies that could have done it but shipped Blanton out of town and shuttled Kendrick between the rotation and the bullpen. Most teams that had four starters over 150 innings but not a fifth did so because their fifth starter wasn't good, not because anyone got injured. ​

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