Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In a pinch, Nats counting on Moore

US Presswire photo
Rookie Tyler Moore is 6-for-24 with two homers and two doubles as a pinch-hitter.
NEW YORK -- Tyler Moore was asked last night about his at-bat off the bench against R.A. Dickey.

"It was kind of quick," he said with a laugh.

That's exactly what the Nationals want from their rookie slugger when he comes off the bench to pinch-hit. Manager Davey Johnson encourages his bench players to be aggressive when summoned late in games, jumping on an opponent's first pitch instead of trying to work the count.

Moore did that to perfection last night, digging in against Dickey and then clubbing a first-pitch fastball into the left-field bleachers for the two-run homer that put the Nationals ahead for good.

The 25-year-old has had to learn how to alter his hitting approach in his first taste of life coming off the bench, but the Nationals have seen encouraging signs of progress along the way.

"He's much more aggressive when he goes up to pinch-hit," Johnson said. "An everyday ballplayer likes to go up and take a pitch and get comfortable with the timing and everything. But I talked to him about it and told him: You start swinging from the get-go, and you'll gauge your timing better. And he's handled it like a veteran. He's gotten some big hits for us."

Moore is now 6-for-24 with two doubles, two homers and six RBI as a pinch-hitter. He's hitting .303 when appearing in a game as reserve. And he's now hitting .283 overall, with nine homers in only 138 big-league at-bats.

"I think it's just like anything else: It comes with experience," he said. "I failed so many times. I succeed kind of through that, learning from myself and learning on situations from the game. By no means am I a very good pinch-hitter. I was able to come through tonight."

After clubbing 31 homers each of the last two seasons in the minors, Moore has given reason to believe he could carry his success into an everyday, big-league role. But with the Nationals already well-stocked at first base and in left field, opportunities could be few and far between.

"I think Tyler has a really good chance to be a really good everyday player, a dominant game-changer type player," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "A guy that can hit the middle of the order and do damage. And he's shown that all season, really. So much so that he's forced their hand in keeping him here. Which has been very impressive. He has a great temperament for the game. He knows his role and does it well. I think he's got a long career ahead of him."

55 comments:

MicheleS said...

I love listening to Tyler.. See Ball, Hit Ball. Plus it comes in that great southern drawl.

SonnyG10 said...

I really like Tyler. I wish we could find a place for him.

Grandstander said...

Some mighty fine praise from Jayson Werth there.

peric said...

I think Corey and Tyler will have be given a place. They are young, talented and controllable.

I still think Ladson is smoking some strange stuff believing this source of his that has lately been wrong, wrong, wrong about Bourn. Whomever he is he doesn't talk to Davey much that's certain.

John C. said...

There is a place for Tyler Moore - right now he is the RH "Hairy Chested Bench Bat" that Davey likes to have. And the Nationals are far from set at first base going forward. LaRoche may walk after this year, and even Morse is only signed through 2013. Chris Marrero (who?) is barely even on the radar at this point. Those who have awarded 1b to Zimmerman or Rendon are making a number of assumptions along the way.

Moore has muscled his way into the picture. The power is real, and has always been there. If he can hit consistently and maintain his newly found plate discipline, he will go from being part of the picture to being part of "The Plan."

rabbit34 said...

Nats will count on Moore a lot more next year when they trade Morse.

NatsNut said...

So I think I'm pretty knowledgable about this game, but there is one thing I'm still confused about: digging in. Is this literal or figurative?

I know guys back in the day used to get thrown at for "digging in" so it must be a thing. Does it mean literally digging in the batter's box with his foot before his at-bat (a la Ryan Zimmerman)? Or does it mean twisting his foot in the dirt *during* the at-bat? Or is it more figurative, i.e., settling in the batter's box and just watching pitches? Which Moore didn't really do, since he hit the first pitch.

??

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Real quick on Christian Garcia, 4 of his 18 pitches last night were swinging strikes out of the strike zone. He has tremendous movement.

I picked him after his first appearance as one of the guys who could make the post-season roster. After last night, I feel that way even more.

Feel Wood said...

NatsNut said...
So I think I'm pretty knowledgable about this game, but there is one thing I'm still confused about: digging in. Is this literal or figurative?


All of the above.

rabbit34 said...

MicheleS...Lannan will get blown out!! What do you think??

peric said...

Chris Marrero (who?) is barely even on the radar at this point. Those who have awarded 1b to Zimmerman or Rendon are making a number of assumptions along the way.

Actually specs out as the perfect bench bat on the right side for Davey. The hairy chested guy who got injured and so Davey went for DeRosa. I think Chris will be back. He probably won't start because he doesn't have the power that Moore and most other corner infielders have. But, he's still young and it may come back. Like Moore, left field is a real challenge for Marerro.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I would also retitle this Post to "In a pinch, Nats counting on the Goon Squad" as its more than just Tyler Moore although he was the hero last night.

The biggest situational play for the pinch hitter is the game on the line where you need the must have hit or a situation where you have to just drive the ball for a Sac Fly.

Case and point was all the weekend opportunities where a man is on 3rd and less than 2 outs and the pinch-hitter has to get him in either by hit or a Sac Fly. Corey Brown did it but Bernadina and Espinosa each twice over the weekend failed in those spots.

peric said...

MicheleS...Lannan will get blown out!! What do you think??

He'd better not. His whole career is in the spot light ... and he's in New York with a lot of National press coverage given the Strrasburg shutdown. If he does he's going to have a hard time finding a major league job.

Tcostant said...

One expect out there expects Jackson to no less that 4 years / $48M next year. Wow - I'm out.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/12/espn-is-way-off-with-its-early-free-agent-calls/

MicheleS said...

Rabbit34.. AWESOME on the Reverse Lock.. Just like last night.. Good Job

Faraz Shaikh said...

2013 schedule comes out today at 1 PM.

also if jake westbrook can find a multi-year deal with a contender, I doubt Lannen will have trouble finding a big league job.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Stras, Gio, JZim, Det, and #5 for 2013. No way Nats give EJax a 4 year $12 mill deal. John Lannan is playing for this year and auditioning for the #5 for next season.

While Rizzo wants all 94+mph throwers which he has had, there's plenty of excellent pitchers who throw at a lower Velo and are effective. Just a few weeks ago some were salivating over Ben Sheets....

Doc said...

Some credit for TyMo and other successful members of the Goon Squad should go to Davey. Davey helped pick them, and he helped to mould them.

He establishes a mind set for what they should be doing as PH's with limited game opportunities. He also gives them the confidence to do what they gotta do.

Even with good PH's, the pitcher is going to win most times. It's the times that the pitcher doesn't win that makes our PH's stand out in MLB.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Can't wait for Chad Tracy to get back to 1st half form.

natsfan1a said...

Yay for Tyler and the rest of the Goon Squad!

In other news, just saw this. Thanks for picking me up while I was away, Michele. :-)

"For 1A who may still be vacationing:

GO GIO!! GO BATS! GYFNG!"

Feel Wood said...

Perhaps Lannan will pitch six innings of three hit, one run ball against the Mets tonight, striking out 11 and walking none. You say that could never happen? Why not? It did before.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Way to go Feel Wood!

hiramhover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hiramhover said...

And if Jon Rauch blows a save for someone tonight, it won't be the Nats!

SonnyG10 said...

I hope John Lannan pitches well and wins, not only because we need him to, but also to shut up any critics that want to say shutting down Stras is a big problem for us.

Shedd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shedd said...

I really like Tyler Moore and hope he is part of the Nats future. But, the more immediate question is if he'll even be on the postseason roster. The way I see it, the postseason roster only has room for either Moore or DeRosa and I'm betting Davey goes with the veteran, DeRosa, who he can plug in at several positions. Personally, I'd take my chances with Moore's mashing bat.

Section 222 said...

It's Final Jeopardy. The answer is:

I would hope there's no champagne celebration in the clubhouse when they clinch the second wild card berth. Or even the first wild card berth for that matter.

What is something never said by a Nats fan from April 2005 through August 2012?

Joe Seamhead said...

Unlike Moore, Marrero had almost one whole year playing the OF after he was drafted. He was a disaster out there. He had been a 3rd baseman when he was drafted, but the old brass decided to try to make him an outfielder, then a 1st baseman, where he has progressed, but has had the problem of not being able to stay healthy.Moore may be able to learn the OF butI'm understating it when I say that it certainly doesn't come natural to him.I haven't seen enough of Tyler at first to form an objective opinion. For now, as someone already said, he's the "hairy chested bench guy" that Davey wants.

natsfan1a said...

Indeed, sec 222. It's a nice "problem" to have. :-)

Section 222 said...

Stras, Gio, JZim, Det, and #5 for 2013. No way Nats give EJax a 4 year $12 mill deal. John Lannan is playing for this year and auditioning for the #5 for next season.

I agree with this, but I really don't think that Rizzo is going to be satisfied going into next season with a rotation that is worse than the one we have this year. And I don't care how well Lannan does in his three or four starts this month, he is what he is -- a serviceable #4 or #5 major league starter, but not as good a pitcher as our 1-5 this year.

If Rizzo can't convince E-Jax to stay with us at a more reasonable price following our World Series victory, he'll look for another free agent to fill that slot, maybe even pull the trigger on Greinke. I'll bet that's a much bigger offseason priority than a CF, as it should be.

MicheleS said...

Tyler would make a good DH say, in a 7 game series against an AL team in the AL park in late October.. ;-)

MicheleS said...

And the Schedule for 2013 is out. We open with the Marlins on 4/1. CRAP! I swore not to go to another Marlins game and i have to break that vow already.

Theophilus T. S. said...

When Lannan was up earlier this summer -- and I still resent all of his awful starts last year and 2010 -- his fastball was recorded at 93 mph a couple of times, a velocity previously seen only when it was on its way out of the ballpark. I think it's Comak's column this a.m. that talks about a change in his stance on the mound leading to an improved angle on his FB. I always thought that hunched-over position looked like he was trying to blow a spitball past the teacher. Who knows? Maybe he's got somethin' goin'.

Feel Wood said...

The way I see it, the postseason roster only has room for either Moore or DeRosa and I'm betting Davey goes with the veteran, DeRosa, who he can plug in at several positions.

As Davey said to the media last night after the game, it's too soon to be thinking about who's on the postseason roster. But pay attention to how players are used from here on out, and that will give you some idea of who's likely to make it. Seen DeRosa play lately, or have you seen T-Mo, Lombo and Tracy? That should tell you who's in the lead - and they're not in the lead like Teddy always is at the beginning of a Presidents Race, either. Doesn't mean they still won't be passed by someone else, but whether they are or not is totally up to them and how they perform now.

Also, it's not just one postseason roster. There can be a different roster named for each stage of the postseason, from wild card to LDS to LCS to World Series. Any of these guys could be on for one and off for the next, depending on who they're playing and what happens in the games. It really is too early to be talking about this.

#4 said...

The other thing about Marrero - he's not really that much of a power hitter. He's yet to homer in 117 big league plate appearances, and his minor league HR numbers are pretty middling. I'm not sure he fits Davey's "hairy-chested" profile.

Feel Wood said...

And the Schedule for 2013 is out.

Link? Curious to see how interleague play is handled.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Michele S has it exactly right. The WS roster has to be shaped around the need for a DH in as many as three games in the AL park. Bernadina fits well from the LH side but Moore is the only one you want from the RH side. As I recall, once the DH moves to a position in the field, you lose the DH and the pitcher must bat. So Lombardozzi can't DH because he's the first -- and probably only -- IF off the bench.

natsfan1a said...

Don't know whether there's a less cumbersome version, but I found this.

Link? Curious to see how interleague play is handled.

natsfan1a said...

The MLB article that contained that link is here.

Faraz Shaikh said...

from nats 2012 schedule, browse to 2013 april.

Faraz Shaikh said...

here http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=was#y=2013&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT

natsfan1a said...

Ah, thanks, Faraz.

hiramhover said...

Theo

Thanks for the reference to that piece by Amanda - I'll try to find it.

In the meantime, tho, I'll just say I'm afraid that the dream of a harder throwing John Lannan is just that--a dream. Fangraphs velocity charts show him hitting 93-94 several times last year, topping anything in his 2 starts this year.

Just to be clear--I think (and certainly hope) that Lannan can be a servicable #5 starter these last few weeks. He managed to do that most of the time prior to 2012, and he doesn't have to be a different pitcher to do it now.

Faraz Shaikh said...

you are welcome 1a.

interesting poll: http://www.fangraphs.com/not/index.php/36158/

baseballswami said...

Just a few thoughts about Lannan. I have always heard that lefties take longer to figure it out. He also has only in the last year or so seemed to grow into a man's body.He is a lot bulkier than he used to be. You have to learn how to control that body. He is a ground ball pitcher who played on a bad team with a bad defense. There is a big difference between a boy pitcher who skipped most of the minor league training because his horrible team needed him and a mature man , veteran pitcher who has continued to learn. We have all become a little snobby about our power pitchers and need to remember that quite a few of those soft tossing lefties have bamboozled our hitters. We will need a favorable BABIP situation tonight and for all of our defenders to be on their toes. We could have 80% ground ball outs, 20% fly ball outs and no strike outs. That's fine with me if you combine that with no walks. Go John - I am pulling for you ! Go Nats!

JD said...


Inter league play throughout the year and against the AL central - boring.

But back to 2012. Let's keep these numbers moving down daily.

JD said...


Swami,

No walks is the key. To me this has always been John's bugaboo. When you don't strike people out you can't be putting people on base. We'll be fine this year because we have a large margin for error and John is not a terrible pitcher.

JaneB said...

I take Tyler over DeRosa, even with his playoff experience and the DH is why. Also the long ball.

MichelleS, I just see a nine inning April Fool's Day for the Fish. I'm
Not worried about a thing there. And we will have lovely new jerseys to wear to the game. Lovely ones.

baseballswami said...

I think it's been glaring the way DeRosa has become almost a mascot on this team. He is occasionally inserted out of respect for his career, but not depended upon. He is an insurance policy for Zim, although I think at this point Lombo could handle it and give you some offense. He has become a part time bench coach. I think next year you will see him coaching in the minors for the nats organization. Good guy - but done.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Corey Brown did it but Bernadina and Espinosa each twice over the weekend failed in those spots."

Very observant Ghost, and I believe Danny and Bernie struck out all 4 times. That may be why Davey went with Brown against the Fish and with TyMo against the Mets.

David said...

I wonder what Lannan's stats would be this year if he had pitched instead of Detwiler? 13-11 with a 3.90 ERA? I hope for the sake of the team, and himself, that he goes out there and throws another gem. He's got nothing to lose tonight. He's already pitched superb in two outings. One bad egg isnt going to hurt him. But everyone is watching now...

mick said...

Maybe some else has touched on this already, but after tonight the Nats remaining 19 opponents all have winning records and are competing for the playoffs. This is very exciting!

mick said...

good to be back, I was in NY and caught the game on Monday at Citibank.... I do not care what the paid attendance was reported, there were maybe at the most 6,000 fans there on Monday....

natsfan1a said...

Welcome back, Mick.

Re. tonight's starter, John's always struck me as one who does not buckle under pressure. Go, John-Boy! I'm rooting for ya.

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