Tom Boswell of the Washington Post has an observation about the overall state of the Nationals. Specifically, he writes about what is lacking with the team right now:
“The Nats need a stronger spine, one less likely to crack. They don’t need to fix all the vertebrae. But it is backbone, something no baseball analysis has ever been able to define, much less measure, that’s now one of the core issues.”
I could not help but think a comment like that drives certain bloggers crazy (rhymes with Talcaterra), in that Boswell is pointing out a specific problem he says needs to be addressed, yet says it cannot be quantified. Actually, to some extent it can be
Let’s look at Chemistry – the real one. We all know of the “Baking Soda Volcano”. You take Vinegar, toss in baking soda, and the mixture “erupts” and foams over like a volcano. Vinegar and Baking Soda when left alone are perfectly fine. When combined, they react violently.
Now lets look at the Nationals bullpen. Drew Storen was probably the only bright spot in the Nationals bull pen thru late July. He had a 1.73 ERA and 29 saves against 2 blown saves – both of which were one run save situations, and the Nats ultimately won both those games. And yet he lost his job when the Nats trade for Jonathan Papelbon. For his part, Papelbon gets along fine everyone (maybe a little too fine….not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but Storen clearly was miffed. Since the trade he has had a 6.75 ERA, and some pretty spectacular meltdowns.
So one of two things clearly happened. Either Storen somehow had the wheels fall off at the exact same time Papelbon arrived, or Storen is Vinegar and Papelbon is Baking Soda. Now, to be clear, the Nationals troubles have many facets to them, and certainly Drew Storen comes off looking pretty thin skinned in all of this. But to look at what has transpired and say there was not a Chemistry issue is just plain nuts