Monday, May 23, 2011

Series preview: Nats at Brewers

Monday, 8:10 p.m. -- LHP Tom Gorzelanny (2-3, 3.56) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-2, 4.70)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Tuesday, 8:10 p.m. -- RHP Livan Hernandez (3-6, 3.64) vs. LHP Chris Narveson (2-3, 3.44)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. -- RHP Jason Marquis (5-1, 4.08) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (2-1, 6.43)
TV: MASN Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WHFS-1580 AM

Nobody in the National League has played better at home than Milwaukee, which just swept the Rockies over the weekend to improve to 16-6 at Miller Park. Winners of 10 of their last 13 overall, the Brewers love hitting in their friendly confines. As a team, they're batting .298 with 30 homers in 22 home games (compared to only .220 with 16 homers in 25 road games).

Production is coming from all over the lineup, but especially from their two big studs: Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Braun leads the league with 12 homers and 100 total bases to go along with a .299 average. Fielder, meanwhile, leads the league with 36 RBI and has posted a robust .923 OPS.

Less-heralded is 24-year-old catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who is merely hitting .320 in his second big-league season. Lucroy's impressive performance hasn't opened the door for much playing time for former Nationals backstop Wil Nieves, batting a scant .150 with no RBI in 16 games.

Speaking of ex-Nats, Nyjer Morgan won't be around for this series. In the final stages of rehab from a fractured middle finger, Morgan is slated to play in two extended spring training games in Arizona tomorrow and Wednesday. He was hitting .379 with two doubles and two triples before suffering the injury.

The Brewers' biggest offseason acquisition, Zack Greinke, starts the series finale against a Nationals club he spurned over the winter. The right-hander hasn't exactly lived up to the hype yet; after opening the season on the DL, he's posted only one quality start in his first four outings. Greinke has, however, notched 29 strikeouts in his first 21 innings, including nine his last time out against a potent Rockies lineup.

Nats' best vs. Gallardo -- Adam LaRoche (6-for-19, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K), Alex Cora (3-for-9, 3 K), Danny Espinosa (1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI).
Nats' worst vs. Gallardo -- Jayson Werth (1-for-10, 5 K), Jerry Hairston (1-for-10, 2B, 5 K), Ivan Rodriguez (1-for-7, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K), Ian Desmond (1-for-6, 2B, K)
Nats' best vs. Narveson -- Michael Morse (4-for-7, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K), Wilson Ramos (2-for-3), Adam LaRoche (2-for-5, RBI, BB).
Nats' worst vs. Narveson -- Jayson Werth (0-for-5, BB, 2 K), Danny Espinosa (0-for-2, RBI, K), Laynce Nix (0-for-1).
Nats' best vs. Greinke -- Ivan Rodriguez (11-for-30, HR, 4 RBI, 3 K), Adam LaRoche (3-for-3), Jerry Hairston (3-for-4, 3 2B, RBI).
Nats' worst vs. Greinke -- Laynce Nix (2-for-9, RBI, 3 K), Matt Stairs (2-for-8, 2B, 2 K), Michael Morse (0-for-2, BB, K).

Brewers' best vs. Gorzelanny -- Ryan Braun (10-for-21, 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 BB, 2 K), Wil Nieves (2-for-6, 2 2B, BB, 3 K).
Brewers' worst vs. Gorzelanny -- Casey McGehee (0-for-6, 3 K), Mark Kotsay (1-for-6), Prince Fielder (6-for-30, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K), Corey Hart (5-for-27, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K).
Brewers' best vs. Hernandez -- Craig Counsell (17-for-47, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K), Mark Kotsay (13-for-38, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K).
Brewers' worst vs. Hernandez -- Prince Fielder (2-for-17, 2B, 2 BB, 3 K), Rickie Weeks (4-for-20, 3B, RBI, BB, 3 K), Ryan Braun (5-for-20, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, K).
Brewers' best vs. Marquis -- Corey Hart (7-for-17, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 K), Ryan Braun (8-for-18, 3 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K), Craig Counsell (12-for-36, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 4 BB, 3 K).
Brewers' worst vs. Marquis -- Yuniesky Betancourt (0-for-5, K), Prince Fielder (4-for-19, 3 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K), Wil Nieves (0-for-2).


Luqman said...

With the Nationals usually have a problem hitting, maybe a trip to Milwaukee will do good, here is the deal, the Nationals usually do well in Milwaukee the past couple of years.

Doc said...

Looks like we may have the Brew Crew beaten on pitching. Don't think our hitters can beat their hitters. Stats, however, can be like day old bread.

Be nice to beat Cranky, though.

Tim the Enchanter said...

A Brewer sweep could herald a team collapse. Fortunately, Lannan's not pitching. That would be a guaranteed defeat.

Steve M. said...

Adam LaRoche 3-3 against Greinke like that means a thing at this point.

Ryan Braun OWNS Gorzelanny. 1 out of 7 ABs is a HR against him. A real good sample size to know that he has Gorzelanny's number so I would say, get smart Riggleman and pitch him like he was Barry Bonds. Then get your LH/LH matchup against Fielder who Gorzelanny has had success against.

HHover said...

Although I'm tempted as a Nats fan to gloat over Greinke's performance so far, he's been pitching much better than his 6.43 ERA would suggest. His FIP is 2.90 and his K and BB numbers are excellent. He's been the victim of an extraordinarly high BABIP this year--.370, 2d worst among NL starters and 60 pts over his career average. The Nats hitters have the lowest team BABIP in the NL so far, at .274.

Here's hoping his bad luck continues for at least one more night, and the Nats get a break.

Hendo said...

The Nats website hasn't posted Marquis as Wednesday's probable pitcher yet.

Wonder if that's just Jim's way of saying "don't diss me when I pull you from the game" -- or if there's an injury or something else we don't know about?

PAY TO PLAY said...

Hendo, the Nats website has been doing that all season for some strange reason.

Anonymous said...

Could be Ladson ... he's been known to be that way as well ... ;)

Big Cat said...

With the possibility of Laroche goin on the DL I was checking the stats of our 2 minor league prospects at 1b. Chris Marrero a notoriously slow starter is hitting .285 with4 hr's and 19 ribbies in 41 games. Tyler Moore, the Carolina League player of the year last year is at .248 with 5 hr's and 15 ribbies. He also is known as a slow starter.

Of note: Brad Peacock is opening eyes in Harisburg. He is 6-1 with a 2.05 era. In 48 innings he has given up only 31 hits with a whopping 66 k's.
Blog favorite Ross Detwiler is getting hit pretty good in AAA. He is 3-3 with a 5.04 era, giving up 58 hits in only 44 innings.
Corey Brown, an outfielder we got in the Willingham trade(?) is at .205 with 2 hr's and only 4 ribbies in 38 games.

Wally said...

I share the same concern as Tim the Enchanter. Nats could really hit a bad stretch, which would be demoralizing for everyone.

At least we miss Marcum this series.

Will said...

Peacock is actually 4th in all of the minors in strikeouts. The problem is after they promoted the other Brad (Meyers), there's suddenly a plethora of quality starting pitchers in the upper levels of our farm system.

Meyers, Stammen, Maya and Milone have all been very good so far. Detwiler is the weakest link, but he deserves more time before the Nats make any decisions about moving him to the bullpen. He's still only 24 and a former 1st round pick.

But it's good to know that if any of our pitchers (starters or relief) go down with an injury, we've got plenty of back up options in the pipeline, which is one of those good kind of problems that we've never had before.

Tim the Enchanter said...

Tyler Moore made great strides last year but he has a great weakness- a very poor BB to K ratio. It is May 22nd and Moore still only has four or five walks in comparison to 40 strike outs. Major League pitching will abuse such a hitter with such a terrible command of the strike zone.

Anonymous said...

Has Sammy Solis been heard from lately? Everything is a secret with this organization. Seems like it anyway.

Grandstander said...

Of note: The Star-Ledger wrote up an interesting piece on Bo Porter.

Quick, interesting read on his background and aspirations.

Also of note, Ankiel is starting his rehab assignment in Harrisburg today. Considering Adam LaRoche is almost definitely hitting the DL, Matt Stairs retains employment with us for the moment. Morse is the obvious candidate to take over at first.

If you take away his PH ABs and look only at his starts, he's 10 for 21 (.476) in May. Even if you add in those ABs, he's 12 for 30 (.400) in May. He's been looking pretty sharp at the plate, so hopefully with an actually lead off man, Werth heating up LaRoche gone and Morse heating up, we can start putting some runs together. Although of course, this lineup did nothing on Sunday and we're going up against Gallardo tonight, so...

Cwj said...

I'm not completely sure of this, but it seems the Nats tend to do well against good (but not great teams) this season.
I have a feeling the Nats will take 2 of 3, getting them back on track.
I'd hate to see them dip too much below .500 this early in the season.

Come on Nats. Take the series for us.

JD said...


As long as you concede that these guys are all bottom of the rotation starters I'm with you. We know what Stammen brings to the table (I like Stammen) and these other guys are producing pretty much at his level.

Peacock scares me. He's been in the organization since 2007 and has always put up pedestrian numbers. Is he really a prospect or is he just having one of those J.A Happ streaks?

Tyler Moore is 24 and struggling at AA; not a prospect. Marrero is a fringe prospect. I think he will make it to the majors but I don't think you are talking star potential.

Morse at 1st and Nix in left sounds OK to me for now at least until Nix regresses back to his normal levels.

Anonymous said...

As a lifetime Red Sox fan since the 1940s and now Nats fan and STH, I like to compare the two teams. Great differences, but interesting similarities in the way they are managed.

First, the Red Sox core is its home-grown guys--Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester, Buchholz, Papelbon, etc. That's the way the Nat are building.
Second is respect for quality players, even if past their prime. What do you think it did for the Sox rep to give "one more chance" to guys like Billy Wagner and John Smoltz? That's why guys like Mike Lowell (WS MVP) and Schilling turned down more money to go elsewhere. And why guys like Nomar Garciaparra wanted to come back and retire as a Red Sox. (He got a one-day contract.)
A couple of years age the Sox faithful were ready to can Ortiz when he had hit one HR in two months and was batting about .200. Right now he's hitting .299 with 9 HRs, 9 doubles and 22 RBIs. And they also felt it was time to retire Tim Wakefield back then. He'll be 45 in August, and yesterday he went 6 2/3 with 1 run on 4 hits.

Respect for players builds team chemistry. I see Rizzo and Riggleman doing that, and in the long run it will pay dividends. The incident with Marquis was unfortunate but atypical. And just as Terry Francona got his butt in a jam when he pinch hit for Ortiz a while back, but then fixed the damage, Riggleman will do the same, I'm sure.
I read the rules. You can root for two teams--one in each league. The great days are when they both win.

Grandstander said...

13-17 against teams over .500. Interestingly, we've only played 3 teams under .500. The Mets, Bucs and Os. With the exception of 3 games against the Phillies, the next 3 weeks features teams that are terrible (Padres, DBacks) or that we've handled in previous series (Brewers, Giants).

I think you have to view this tonight's game as a stopper of sorts. With the exception of the 17-run extravaganza, this team has not played well offensively and continues to lose heartbreakers night after night.

Let's hope the hitter-friendly confines and currently warm weather in Milwaukee heat up some of our bats.

Cwj said...

Oldguy- Thanks for that different perspective!

I think you're right about Team chemistry.

Cwj said...

Grandstander- hmmm, 13-17 against .500+ teams wasn't quite what I was hoping for. But take out the Phillies and it's probably what, 12-12 or 11-11?

masnstinks said...

I am firmly convinced that we will be no-hit this year. Any guesses as to the team/ pitcher? I am guessing that it will be some no-name guy on a mediocre team that has just come up from AAA. Did we really beat Lincecum? On any given night - which nats team will show up? The team that played well against the Giants, the 17 -run team? Or the team we saw against the Mets? Every game now, I pray for that first hit.

Grandstander said...

If you take out the Phillies, then it's 12-12. But that's not really fair, right?

If you want to play with stats that make you feel better about the team, how about this one. Against non-divisional opponents over .500, we're 7-3.

If someone wanted to make a pool of when we get no-hit, I'll put my money on Dustin Moseley in San Diego in 3 weeks.

TimDz said...

This bugs me:

They list the contenders and the left handed relievers in their AAA roster and ML roster. In the NL East, they have the Mets listed as "contenders," even though they are only a game ahead of the Nats. Also, the Mets are 3 games behind third place...

While I don't see the Nats necessarily as being contenders, I don't see how the Mets rate. In the AL East, all five teams are listed as contenders.

Not that is any beacon of light in the MLB just bugs me that the Nats don't seem to get any respect.

Grandstander said...

"For now I'll define a contender as any team five games out in the division or wild card at worst."

Seems generous to me, but he's not arbitrarily deciding the Mets are contenders and the Nats aren't. Especially with their financial woes, I think most would classify the Mets as sellers unless they go on some big winning tear and force themselves into the top half of the NL East.

TimDz said...

Grandstander: I missed that part...thanks for setting me straight (one day, I'll learn to read a bit closer), although I agree it is generous.

JaneB said...

Grandstander, thanks fir the link to the Bo Porter story. I hope he gets a shot sometime soon. Maybe even with us. I'm loving the guy's passion and the way he's gotten our guys to be more aggressive on base.

Doc said...

@ Grandstander: Thanks for the link to the article on Bo Porter.

His 1st to 3rd running mentality, will pay off big time, at some point. It already looks real good, and makes the team look real good on average plays.

Cwj said...

Grandstander- Thanks for all the info!
I love stats, btw. I don't understand some sabermetric stuff, but I do love lots of numbers.

I actually have game logs for all the Nats starters written on paper with pencil :)
Of course there are plenty of online sources, but I like my hand written stat charts :)

Post a Comment