Friday, July 8, 2011

Series preview: Rockies at Nats

Friday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Jason Hammel (4-8, 4.31) vs. LHP John Lannan (5-5, 3.50)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM

Saturday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.39) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (7-3, 4.11)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM

Sunday, 1:35 p.m. -- RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-6, 3.28) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-7, 2.82)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM

Colorado comes to town reeling and banged up, having lost five straight and 10-of-13 while also seeing its two best all-around players forced to the bench due to injuries.

All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki strained a quadriceps muscle running down the first-base line on Monday and hasn't returned to the lineup since. He took batting practice yesterday and is making progress, but he won't be ready to play in tonight's opener at Nationals Park. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, meanwhile, has a swollen wrist and was unable to return to the lineup last night as the club hoped. He could, however, play tonight.

Offense, though, really isn't the Rockies' problem. It's pitching, specifically a rotation that hasn't seen its ace pitch like an ace so far this season. Ubaldo Jimenez, who burst onto the scene in 2010, is 3-8 with a 4.39 ERA, though he has slowly been getting better with each outing. At the end of May, he was 0-5 with a 5.86 ERA. Since then, he's 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA.

Left-hander Jorge de la Rosa (whom the Nationals attempted to sign over the winter) had done a nice job picking up the slack, going 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA. But he's since undergone Tommy John surgery and is done for the rest of the season. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who leads the club with eight wins, a 3.28 ERA and 97 strikeouts, has emerged as the staff's best starter.

With Tulowitzki and Gonzalez sidelined, the pressure to produce at the plate falls upon Todd Helton. The veteran first baseman has responded in kind, hitting .315 with a stout .397 on-base percentage at age 37. Amazingly, those numbers are still below his career averages of .324 and .423.

Nats' best vs. Hammel -- Matt Stairs (5-for-8, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K), Ryan Zimmerman (4-for-11, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K), Ivan Rodriguez (3-for-10, 2B, K).
Nats' worst vs. Hammel -- Ian Desmond (0-for-3), Jayson Werth (1-for-5, BB, K).
Nats' best vs. Jimenez -- Jayson Werth (4-for-6, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K), Ryan Zimmerman (5-for-14, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Ivan Rodriguez (4-for-12, 2 RBI, K).
Nats' worst vs. Jimenez -- Ian Desmond (0-for-6, K), Laynce Nix (0-for-3, 2 K), Alex Cora (0-for-3).
Nats' best vs. Chacin -- Ryan Zimmerman (2-for-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, K), Jayson Werth (2-for-3), Ian Desmond (1-for-2, 2B).
Nats' worst vs. Chacin -- Ivan Rodriguez (0-for-2), Laynce Nix (0-for-1), Matt Stairs (0-for-1).

Rockies' best vs. Lannan -- Carlos Gonzalez (5-for-7, 3B, 2 RBI), Ian Stewart (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI), Troy Tulowitzki (4-for-10, 2 2B, 3 RBI, BB, K).
Rockies' worst vs. Lannan -- Chris Iannetta (1-for-5, BB, K), Ty Wigginton (2-for-11, 2B, BB).
Rockies' best vs. Marquis -- Ty Wigginton (9-for-21, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K), Todd Helton (9-for-30, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K), Ryan Spilborghs (3-for-8, 2B, 2 RBI).
Rockies' worst vs. Marquis -- Jason Giambi (0-for-3), Troy Tulowitzki (1-for-8, 2B, RBI, BB).
Rockies' best vs. Zimmermann -- Carlos Gonzalez (1-for-1, BB), Ian Stewart (1-for-2, 2B), Troy Tulowitzki (1-for-2).
Rockies' worst vs. Zimmermann -- Todd Helton (0-for-2, BB, K), Chris Iannetta (0-for-1, RBI).


UNTERP.NAT said...

One game at a time, just win baby!!!

Binx Bolling said...

Due to their pitching half their games in Denver, one must consider the Rockies pitchers' ERAs as being at least half a run below what their official ERA is.

natsfan1a said...

What Unterp said.

I'm behind you, Nats - now go get 'em!

NatsLady said...

Mark, the Nats MLB website has Marquis pitching tonight and Lannan tomorrow. What's the deal?

erocks33 said...

Considering LannEn last pitched Saturday night and Marquis Sunday, I would think that LannEn would be toeing the rubber tonight.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nats game notes from yesterday had Lannan listed as tonight's starter, Marquis tomorrow. They haven't published tonight's game notes, but Lannan last pitched Saturday and Marquis last pitched Sunday, so they should remain in that order.

Sunderland said...

Haven't had he stomach to read any blogs or sports pages today. But Unterp, I third that motion.

And I don't know if it has been discussed, but put me firmly in the I Think Fan Voting is Stupid category.

erocks33 said...

This is the time of the season where DJ needs to really shine. In the past, the Nats have been dreadful in the series leading up to the All-Star break, and even worse coming out of the break. Since 2005:

W-L in last series prior to break: 6-13

W-L in first series back from break: 6-14

W-L in second series back from break: 7-11

DJ needs to stress to every single player that they can NOT be thinking about their little vacation coming up next week and also that once they do come back next Friday, they better be prepared to continue to play hard and win.

They're at Atlanta then at Houston coming out of the break and if they aren't all on the same page, they very easily could see this season start to slip away.

Anonymous said...

With the deluge forecast for tonight, any idea whether a makeup game would come in the form of a double header tomorrow or Sunday?

Grandstander said...

Angels just called up Mike Trout, age 19. Just throwing that out there...

Anonymous said...

Rizzo's video blog over on MASN was interesting ... some background into his draft of Espinosa (after Destin Hood) the reasons why he dropped to the third round (Clearly he's a 1A like Harper.) and who was on board for drafting him.

After Rizzo mentioned how great it was drafting Matt Purke in the third round ... much like Espinosa. It sure seems like he plans on signing them all ... plus he mentions International signings.

He didn't seem very enthusiastic about trades compared to discussing the draft and internal player development. He continues to say he will only make deals that will not just help the club in 2011 but also over the long-term.

BinM said...

The buyer v. seller aspect of trading will become clearer the closer we get to the July 31 deadline, and is a situation that Rizzo doesn't control.

The draft is a subject that Rizzo can speak confidently about, as he has an established list of players he can focus on.

Constant Reader said...

At the risk of becoming Chicken Little on this subject, CMW had another good outing this time in AA. July 27 (the day he has to be called up) is less than three weeks away. We have Detwiler, Maya, Milone, or Peacock (or maybe even #37) to pick up starts when JZim hits the innings limit.

Feels to me like we'll trade Marquis for a bag of baseballs before the deadline.

NatsLady said...

Maya????? You didn't think the Mayan adventure this spring was enough?

Constant Reader said...

I am not a Maya fan either, but I acknowledge that we have too much invested in him for us to not have him on the roster in September.

Natsochist said...

Mark - is there any place where we can receive weather updates on tonight's game? I've got tickets and plan to attend, but it's pouring outside my office window at the moment.

Knoxville Nat said...

The answer to a college football trivia the last QB to start a football game at the Univeristy of Tennessee prior to Peyton Manning?

Todd Helton!!! Go Nats!!

Nats Fan in Iowa said...

Question about projected roster moves....assuming Wang makes another rehab start (SYR?) and does well, it is close to the decision point for his assignment, correct? Will he be assigned to WAS? If so, for whom does the other shoe drop? JC Romero seems to be finding his stuff (assuming he lost it somewhere). Same question here….if he proves to Rizzo he’s ready, will he get the call-up? With Burnett struggling, this seems like a no-brainer. Lastly, the other lefty retread, Ollie Perez appears to be working some minor mojo….where does he appear headed? I could see Perez languishing in minors until Sept and being part of the call-up, but Romero would appear to be an instant fix (maybe). Wang's timetable won't allow for a Sept decision. Would think we'll have some juggling rosters shortly after the break.

Scooter said...

Ooh, Chacin/Zimmermann. That oughta be good. Two more pitcherish young fellers, you will not find.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

@Natsochist (still love that handle, btw): you pays yer money and you takes yer chances, but fwiw, it looks on the radar like the worst of it is trending nirth, more like Bethesda that DC. Might be a delay, but I'd bet they get this one in..

Sunderland said...

I totally agree with Sofa King. Natsochist is a cool handle, and there likely will be a delay but 9 innings should happen.

NF in Iowa, some of this is going to help Rizzo when he has trade decisions to make. He could perhaps give up Todd Coffey for a prospect more readily if he knows he has JC Romera ready.
As for the SP's, there's no point in calling them up in September if they are not going to pitch. I could see Perez getting a start or two if he does well first at AA or AAA.
And the Wang decision is not as hard and fast as it might seem. They could easily place him back on the DL with shoulder discomfort until mid-August, then give him rehad starts again until September roster expansion.

JaneB said...

I like "pitcherish." But I like it the best when our guy is more pitcherish than their guy. And imagine how cool it will be when we've got a pitcherish and hitterish guy playing in the same game. For US!

Nats Fan in Iowa said...

Sunderland...hadn't thought of sliding Wang back to DL, but I suppose you're right. However, if his recent success continues, the temptation will be strong to get him to DC.

Wouldn't think that Burnett and / or Coffey can bring much of a prospect, but who knows?

Oliver is 2-1, 2.48 so far in AA so he's another lefty that could be considered at some point.

JC said...

Tough loss tonight. Werth's batting average is .174 in the ninth inning or later. Not very cluthch. Maybe he'll come around. Who knows?

JC said...

Say Wang comes up, in September. We have him for a month, then he becomes a free agent. Not much time for the money, unless the Nats take a chance and re-sign him. I guess it depends on how he does, if he comes up.

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