|Tim Locastro - CF||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Corey Seager - SS|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Max Muncy - 3B|
|David Peralta - LF||Cody Bellinger - 1B|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Chris Taylor - CF|
|Josh Rojas - 2B||Joc Pederson - LF|
|Andy Young - 3B||Matt Beaty - DH|
|Daulton Varsho - DH||Enrique Hernandez - 2B|
|Carson Kelly - C||Austin Barnes - C|
|Luke Weaver - RHP||Clayton Kershaw - LHP|
Yesterday, I posted the Tankapalooza standings for the first time, and noted the collapse of the Nationals, who may be going through the worst season for a reigning World Series champion since the 1998 Marlins. I actually dug into the numbers a bit, to find the teams who have shed the most wins from one season to the next. Typically, really bad teams don’t become so overnight; there’s usually a slide into terribleness, over the course of two or three seasons. Since the D-backs entered the league, only four teams have been 30 or more wins worse of, year to year.
- 1998 Marlins: 38 fewer wins (92 to 54). Unsurprisingly, we start with the franchise who are still the record-holder in recent history, and among the greatest fire-sales of all time. Barely had the champagne dried on the floor of the locker-room, before Dave Dombrowski was putting up the “EVERYTHING MUST GO!” signs. By mid-July, their payroll was $13 million. Yet, five years later, they won the World Series again. Thev’ve still never won their division.
- 2004 Mariners: 30 fewer wins (93 to 63). As is well known, in 2001, the Mariners won a record-shattering 116 games, and didn’t make the World Series. Each of the following two years, they won 93, and didn’t make the post-season. In 2004, they didn’t come close, despite Ichiro setting a major-league record for hits. “A team that had held on too long to veteran players, overrated its farm system and was still dealing with the disaster that was Jeff Cirillo.” — Larry LaRue
- 2004 D-backs: 33 fewer wins (84 to 51). This wasn’t a great team, to be sure. However, things didn’t start out that badly. On May 5, they were 12-14, after Casey Daigle combined on a six-hit shutout, to beat Kerry Wood and the Cubs. But the loss of slugger Richie Sexson triggered an implosion, which included a fourteen-game losing streak, during a spell where the Diamondbacks went 4-30 from June 18 through July 25. Yeah, we’ve got a ways to go before this year gets to be spoken of in the same breath.
- 2011 Twins: 31 fewer wins (94 to 63). Injuries decimated Minnesota, especially their everyday line-up. Only three players - one of them rookie Ben Revere - played 100 games, and big acquisition Tsuyoshi Nishioka had his leg broken by Nick Swisher in the first week [unlike St. Buster, no rule change followed...] After losing their Opening Day game 13-3 to the Blue Jays, almost everything which could go wrong, did so. But like the 2004 D-backs, it still had an individual highlight, in the form of a Francisco Liriano no-hitter.
Obviously, we can’t really compare win totals for 2020 to 2019. But for the Nationals to join this club, they need the equivalent of a 63-win season or worse. Scaled down to sixty games, going 23-37 would do the trick. Going into play today, they’re at 12-22, which is on pace for 21-39. To my mind, that qualifies them. Though there’s a case that a shorter season would need a more extreme total to match up. But I’ll have to save that for another day, because it’s over to Jack for:
Pre-game audio from Kevin Ginkel
Felt he was “prepared” for his opportunity and had good stuff. Is still confident in his ability and his stuff. He hung a slider and “Mookie Freaking Betts” hit it out. He spoke at some length, actually. Better to listen to him speak for himself, in order to understand his mind set.
Pre-game audio from Torey Lovullo
No injuries for Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar. Just getting at bats for the younger players. Torey was pressed on why rest them both at the same time and put so many lefties in there against Kershaw. He believes the young players getting opportunity will be better off long term and down the road by letting them get at bats vs. elite pitching. “I’m not putting these guys in there as cannon fodder” He communicated with the veteran players up front about his plans.
Travis Bergen (moved to the active roster earlier today, with Joel Payamps going to Salt River) will be ready for usage tonight and step in to the lefty reliever role.
Bullpen/Closer Role: “How it shakes down from here on out is going to be fairly unpredictable”
Pitch Counts: I asked Torey why he felt there was such a strong belief in baseball that it’s necessary to limit pitch counts so much compared to previous decades, citing the fact that human physiology hasn’t changed. “I usually defer to the medical team in this area because they are the ones studying it, paying a lot of attention to the science, to the arm angles, the motion, the delivery, the follow through, the deceleration”.
It sounded like he’s very locked into the system of “magic number” of right around 100 pitches and that number is dictated to him. He said he doesn’t know why, he trusts the information he’s given. He did say he would have let Gallen go to 105-107 last night had he gotten the first batter out.