Great Moments in hubris: The Nationals will make the playoffs every year forever

26 Comments

It’s not outside of the realm of possibility. The Yankees have made the playoff almost every year for 18 years. The Braves did it year after year for ages. Until this season the Phillies had a nice run too.

But it just seems … wrong to say stuff like Thom Loverro of the Washington Examiner says here:

…if you’re into magic numbers, you might want to start the count for 2013, 2014 and beyond.  Yes, the Nationals are annually going to be traveling down this road to playoff baseball … The Nationals are good, and they’re going to be better next year — and perhaps the year after that and beyond.

I’m not suggesting a jinx or anything. I don’t believe in those. It just seems like anyone, as a point of analysis, who starts from the proposition that a team is going to win in perpetuity, basing that assumption on the sure-fire maturation of various prospects while making no room for the possibility of injury or bad luck is going about things backwards.

The Nats are a decent bet to be good for several years. But it is a bet, and even if they have better odds than any one team in that division, I think “field” gets even better odds than the Nats.

Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start with forearm tightness

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.

Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.

Ivan Nova finally issued his first walk. It was to an AL pitcher taking his first major league at-bat.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
2 Comments

Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.

That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.

Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.