Nothing in sports is sure… but there are some things that you can almost always count on:
- When you fire a head coach or a manager, the team almost always wins the next game.
- When the pitching coach comes to the mound to talk to the pitcher, the next pitch is almost always a strike (unless the pitcher is Daniel Cabrera)
It is hard to say. It isn’t as if Milledge was single-handedly costing the Nats games, so the “addition by substraction” thing doesn’t work here by itself.
Communication guys like me are always ready to point to some sort of synergy issue when it comes to analyzing how a team performs (or in this case, under-performs), and it is a tempting conclusion to jump to here. Sending Millege down could be an attempt to send a message that working “hard enough” is not “hard enough”. It could also be the message that no matter how secure you are in your station on the team, you have to perform to stay there.
It could also be about getting Milledge some reps in a situation where his presence on the field isn’t quite so expensive.
Winning tonight won’t answer this question. The Nats are close enough that they’ll luck into a win eventually, and making a connection between a win and Milledge’s departure would be meaningless. And a loss wouldn’t necessarily mean that the Nats are sleeping through their alarm clock, either. We still don’t know if Cristian Guzman will play tonight, and the injuries to Belliard and Harris and the tentative play of Alberto Gonzalez and Anderson Hernandez make for a shaky middle infield.
Being the optimist that I am, I think the Nats are finally set up with their best shot to get off the schnide. But there are no sure things… If the Nats finish the homestand 4-4, come ask me then.
So this morning, in order to get some reassurance, I went to the one place I go when I need the defintive answer: The Magic 8-Ball. It said:
Answer uncertain. Ask again tomorrow.
And with that, I will see you at Nats Park tonight.