With two games in the books, the Nats are 2-0. 2 games compose approximately 1% of the 162-game season, and any sabermetrician will tell you that such a small sample size is all but meaningless. Nevertheless, it is just too tempting to draw lots of somewhat unrealistic conclusions, so here we go!
- Bryce Harper is absolutely for real. His power, his speed, his arm, and his swagger have all been on display in great doses. He’s slugging 1.375, fired an insane ball home out of left field to start a 7-2-3-4-2 double play, and has been generally everything we hoped and more.
- Stephen Strasburg still has a short leash. He was at 80 pitches after seven innings in his first start, but was pulled before he could make his first career appearance in the eighth inning. There’s something to be said for the fact that everyone has an especially short leash coming out of Spring Training, but even so, eighty pitches is quite a low total.
- Gio Gonzalez is exactly the same as he was last year. Although he was pitching against the Marlins, he still gets credit for his dominating performance. He allowed two hits and two walks in six shutout innings (91 pitches). The relatively high pitch counts and the walks are characteristic of him when he’s not totally on, but he locked it in later in yesterday’s game. Also, he hit a home run?!?! With all his great pitches, maybe he’s decided to add a deep ball to his arsenal?
- Rafael Soriano is also for real. He cruised in his first save, going 1-2-3 and capping it with a strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton. In his second, he allowed a hit and then a walk with one out, but showed some savvy by not getting rattled and inducing two flyouts to end it. He looks like the answer at the end of the Nats’ bullpen.
- Despite low run totals, the offense is fine. Ricky Nolasco isn’t half bad, and the Nats put on seven runners against Kevin Slowey in a little over five innings. Every batter, including both catchers, has somehow reached base except Jayson Werth, and there’s no reason to be concerned about him.
- The bullpen is back in form. Tyler Clippard, Ryan Mattheus, and Drew Storen have all posted strong one-inning outings thus far, and seem to have forgotten any bad memories from last season.
If you liked this, don’t worry; pretty soon, I’ll have enough data to draw some real conclusions!