Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Yunesky Maya is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four big-league starts.
1. Yunesky Maya may prove some day to be a quality, major-league starting pitcher, but he's not yet. Then again, that's not all that surprising. How many pitchers can be expected to be big-league ready after five minor-league starts? Even Stephen Strasburg got 11 tune-ups before making his debut. I understand that Maya's eight years older, and I understand this was a unique case. But in hindsight, what was the rush getting him up here? Given a choice between the two, would you have rather seen Maya or Ross Detwiler make five big-league starts in September?
2. Speaking of Detwiler, what a wasted year this turned out to be. Obviously, his hip surgery was to blame for it. But it's now been more than three years since the Nationals drafted him sixth in the country (four spots ahead of Madison Bumgarner, eight spots ahead of Jason Heyward) and we don't know much more about him now than we did then.
3. The combination of Roy Halladay starting, the Phillies holding a magic number of 1 to clinch the NL East title and rain in the forecast all day and evening is probably going to make for a really miserable Monday night at Nationals Park.
4. Then again, the rain might help wash away any vomit emanating from the mouths of Philly fans (intentional or unintentional).
5. For all the ups and downs he experienced along the way, Ian Desmond's going to wind up having had a really nice rookie season. If I told you back on Opening Day that he'd wind up hitting nearly .280 with 10 homers, 64 RBI, 27 doubles and 16 stolen bases, would you have taken that? (Yes, I conveniently left out the part where he committed at least 33 errors.)
6. The best pitcher, top to bottom, on the Nationals' staff this season was Sean Burnett. That his record is 1-7 after finally recording his first win yesterday tells you just how misleading a pitcher's won-loss record can be.
7. Speaking of won-loss records, thanks to yesterday's no-decision, Livan Hernandez is going to wind up with a losing record this season. At best, he'll finish 11-12. At worst, he'll be 10-13. Which is a shame because he deserved much better. Did you know eight times this year, Livo allowed two earned runs or fewer without getting a decision? On two other occasions, he gave up two earned runs or fewer and was charged with the loss!
8. Alberto Gonzalez is a nice bench player, and he does everything the Nationals ask of him, but did you know he only has four RBI this season despite 176 plate appearances? FOUR! Wil Nieves, with six fewer plate appearances, has 16 RBI! Just how rare is Gonzalez's feat? Since 1900, only 13 players have ended a season with at least 176 plate appearances and no more than four RBI.
9. The last guy to do that? Jeff Reboulet, who with the Orioles in 1999 drove in only four runs despite 192 plate appearances.
10. Adam Dunn got a lot of attention for hitting two homers Friday night, but he probably should've gotten more attention for his two-run single off left-hander Mike Dunn later in the game. Adam Dunn simply doesn't record many hits against lefty relievers. In fact, he's now 3-for-33 with one homer and four RBI against lefty relievers this season.
11. Despite that last stat, I'm still firmly among those who believe the Nats need to re-sign Dunn.
12. If Ryan Zimmerman misses the season's final week with a strained ribcage muscle (and I wouldn't be surprised if he does) his final 2010 numbers (25 homers, 85 RBI) aren't going to look so fantastic. But don't forget he'll have missed 20 games this season to ailments (a hamstring injury in April, plus the current rib injury) and that skews the numbers. Zim posted career-highs in batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.388) and OPS (.899) while continuing to play Gold Glove-caliber defense. He is absolutely one of the 10 best all-around players in baseball. Sadly, he probably won't even finish in the top 10 in voting for NL MVP.
13. If the Braves miss the playoffs, they'll have the Nationals to thank for making it possible. The Nats went 10-8 against Atlanta this season, including 4-2 over the last two weeks.
14. The only other teams the Nationals have posted a winning record against this season: the Royals (2-1), the Pirates (5-1) and the Mets (8-7, though that could change this weekend at Citi Field).
15. If John Lannan (who starts tonight on his 26th birthday) gets the win in his last two games, he'll set a career high with 10 victories. Who would have guessed that would even be possible back in late-June when Lannan was demoted to Harrisburg?
16. If you combine the numbers Roger Bernadina and Michael Morse have amassed this season only while playing right field, they've posted a .287 batting average, .348 on-base percentage, .480 slugging percentage and .828 OPS. The major-league average for all right fielders: .270 average, .343 OBP, .444 slugging, .787 OPS.
17. A Bernadina/Morse platoon next year wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
18. In the 141 major-league games he's played at any position other than shortstop, Morse has never committed an error.
19. In 167 major-league games overall, Ian Desmond has committed 39 errors.
20. Anyone who tries to use those numbers to claim Morse is a better defensive player than Desmond has no idea what they're talking about.
21. The Nationals need to average 14,204 at each of the next three games to finish with a season attendance greater than last year's total of 1,817,226. Come Wednesday night, you can thank all those Philly fans for making the increase possible. If the Nats were closing with the Marlins, I don't think they pull it off.
22. Think back at everything that's transpired this year in NatsTown: Stephen Strasburg made the greatest debut in MLB history and then blew out his elbow 10 weeks later, Jordan Zimmermann returned from Tommy John surgery, Elijah Dukes was released, Matt Capps won the All-Star Game and then was traded two weeks later, Cristian Guzman was traded, Barack Obama attended two games at Nationals Park, Stan Kasten resigned as team president, Rob Dibble was fired, Drew Storen made his big-league debut, Nyjer Morgan served an eight-game suspension and had a separate seven-game suspension dropped, Miss Iowa threw out the first pitch before a game, Yunesky Maya was signed and was pitching in the big leagues one month later, Bryce Harper was drafted and signed less than one minute before the August deadline, the Nats hit one inside-the-park home run (and surrendered two more), Danny Espinosa hit two homers and drove in six runs in the fifth game of his career and Adam Dunn hit 37 homers while dealing with a daily barrage of questions about either getting traded or not re-signing. That's a pretty eventful year.
23. If you listen to 24 hours of local sports talk radio today, you won't hear the Nationals mentioned once.