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Q. THREE HOT STREAKSHi Tom, The Nats' great start has been a real pleasure to watch. But I can't help remember that last year a completely average team was able to post two hot streaks where they were 12-4 and 13-4. How would you interpret the meaning of this year' streak vs 2011?A.THOMAS BOSWELL :Streaks where a team plays 10-or-more games over .500 are the core of almost every good-to-excelleent season I've ever seen. So, when you see 13-2 or 15-3 or 21-7 for a team, that is not a fluke or freak event; it is central to baseball.I once spent a ridiculous amount of time analyzing the past seasons of 90-to-100 win teams. If you have three +10s and only one -10 (like 2-13), you'll win 90 games. In all parts of the season that are not VERY hot or VERY cold, almost all teams play around .500.So, the Nats __who are currently on a 10-2 run after a 2-2 start__ should keep pushing to turn this into one of those +10- streaks, like the ones so many Davey Johnson teams have had in the past. You always level off. And you always have bad spots. But NOTHING is more important to reaching the playoffs than milking streaks like the one they are on now. And 12-4, though an excellent start, should be seen as a chance for a REAL streak __more like 20-8 or some such.It doesn't matter whether the streak feels lucky __with a lot of one-run wins or a mysterious ability to overcome injuries (at least temporarily) or a knack for ignoring the negatives that often derail a team (like two blown saves by Lidge). That's almost ALWAYS how it feels. Sooner or later, the Nats starters will stop having ridficulous ERA's __like the combined ~1.25 for Strasburg, Gonzalez, jZ'mann and Detwiler. But you want it to be later, even if that means just staying on this current torrid form for one or two more turns through the rotation.No, of course, they're not "this good." But it looks like they ARE good enough to run off two or three +10 streaks in a season; outstanding rotations make that easier. The next question will be: Does the streak turn instantly into a slump. That happens a TON. So, you want to go from hot to mediocre, not hot to horrid.
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