About that Team Chemistry thing…..

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


8 thoughts on “About that Team Chemistry thing…..

  1. I’m pretty sure Papelbon is vinegar. Where’s NatsLady to confirm?

    As an aside, my buddy (O’s fan) sent me something he saw online about troubles in the Baltimore clubhouse, which of course coincides with their poor performance of late. The chicken and the egg debate continues…


  2. I hate to be a hater, but as soon as Papeldouche went to the Nats and replaced a proven capable closer, I hoped their season would fail and prove the move utterly foolish. Let’s face it. It was foolish. The Nats could have improved in ways that cost less and didn’t miff their current closer. The upside to having a Papeldouche was never worth the downside, in my humble opinion.


    1. My buddy is a Phillies fan. She called him Papeltrash on a regular basis.

      People male the mistake of thinking Paps is like AJ Pierzynski. He’s not. Many folks eventually warm up to AJ, whereas Paps is always an asshole.


      1. Yeah, AJ is kind of irrelevant as a player now that he’s on the lowly Bravos, but back in the day he was easy to hate if he was not on your team. Even when on your team, he may have been easy to hate. That being said, he does have a personable side and is extremely knowledgeable of the game and speaks eloquently about it in general. He will be in the booth a few seconds after he retires and I look forward to it. I think the booth time he’s had thus far has been above average work. It would be great if he immediately replaced Hawk Harrelson on the South Side.


      1. That’s exactly what happened to the Nats’ bullpen if you ask me…chemistry or ego or whatever looks like it played a role in this fiasco. Someone quantify! 😉


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