|Photo by USA Today|
By Michael Huberman
After winning Wednesday and Thursday to split their series against the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals took two of three against a tough Pittsburgh Pirates squad to complete their road trip at 4-3. With a scheduled day off Monday, and rain cancelling their Tuesday matchup against the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals will finally play on Wednesday when Jordan Zimmermann faces off against longtime Nationals nemesis Anibal Sanchez. Here’s a look at five players who were hot, and five players who were not over the past week.
Jordan Zimmermann, SP – 1-0/0.00 ERA/8 IP/8 SO /0.25 WHIP
Through five weeks, Zimmermann’s been a mainstay on the list thanks in part to his 5-1 start to the 2013 season. For obvious reasons, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez get a lion’s share of the attention, but right now Zimmermann is staking his claim as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Zimmermann is also shutting down the best teams, as evidenced by his 17 scoreless innings against Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Dan Haren, SP – 1-0/1.13 ERA/8 IP/4 H/4 SO
After giving up 12 earned runs and 26 hits in his first three starts, it looked like the Nationals may have overpaid for the 32-year-old when they signed him to a $13 million dollar contract this offseason. But in his last three starts, Haren has won twice and given up just six runs over 19 innings, highlighted by his gem May 2 against Atlanta, when he threw eight innings and gave up just one run on four hits.
Adam LaRoche, 1B – 5-14/2 2B/6 BB/.524 OBP/.500 SLG
LaRoche enjoyed a nice weekend in Pittsburgh against his former team, going 4-for-7 with five walks against the Pirates. But LaRoche’s most surprising contribution was when he nabbed the seventh stolen base of his career, as the Nationals perfectly executed a double steal allowing Ryan Zimmerman to score the go-ahead run in Saturday’s 5-4 win. Looks like that one-on-one with Chipper Jones may have helped.
Rafael Soriano, RP – 0-0/3 SV/4 IP/2 SO/0.75 WHIP
Soriano’s hot streak continues, as he saved games in three of his four appearances this past week. His inconsistent start certainly seems like a thing of the past, as he’s now thrown ten straight innings without giving up a run.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B – 2-10/5 R/3 BB/.429 OBP
Zimmerman had only two hits in the weekend series against the Pirates, so his appearance on the “Hot” list gives you an idea of the rough week Nationals’ hitters had. But Zimmerman showed little rust coming off the DL, highlighted by his performance Saturday when he went 1-for-2 with three runs, two walks, a triple, and a stolen base. On the down side, Zimmerman did make his fifth error of the season, though it didn’t end up costing the Nationals any runs.
Bryce Harper, OF – 2-16/0 XBH/4 SO/.125 SLG
Harper’s name won’t appear in this space very often, but he’s just 3-for-26 in his last eight games with one extra-base hit and seven strikeouts. Harper was also ejected Sunday, though by now it’s safe to say it was John Hirschbeck who was looking for trouble. Even with the rough week, Harper still ranks third in the National League in homers (9), fourth in slugging percentage (.633), and fourth in OPS (1.033).
Roger Bernadina, OF – 2-11/0 XBH/4 SO/.182 SLG
Bernadina’s value comes from his speed and defense, but right now his struggles at the plate are overshadowing both. He’s started the season just 3-for-29 (.103) with 11 strikeouts, and he’s yet to record an extra-base hit. It’s a small sample size but Bernadina’s also currently rather unlucky, as his evidenced by his .167 batting average on balls in play, way off from his career .300 BABIP.
Stephen Lombardozzi, IF – 2-10/0 XBH/.273 OBP/.200 SLG
With Danny Espinosa showing some signs of life at the plate, Lombardozzi could be seeing fewer spot starts in the near future. We looked at Lombardozzi’s struggles in this space last week, and they continued this week when he went 1-for-8 in two starts against Atlanta (though he did knock in the Nationals first run in their 3-1 win on Thursday).
Ross Detwiler, SP – 0-1/5.40 ERA/5 IP/6 H/5 SO
Detwiler got off to a fantastic start to the season, giving up four earned runs in his first 26 innings. However in his last two starts, both losses, Detwiler has given up six earned runs and 17 hits in ten innings. But on the whole Detwiler has been very good, carrying an excellent 2.50 ERA through his first six starts.
Tyler Moore, OF/1B – 2-14//1 HR/.188 OBP/.357 SLG
Moore had an up-and-down weekend against the Pirates. First the good, as Moore’s sacrifice fly brought home the Nationals go-ahead run on Saturday, and his three-run homer gave the Nationals a four-run cushion in their 6-2 win on Sunday. But he also struck out six times, including twice with the bases loaded on Saturday. On the year Moore is putting up just a .179/.214/.359 slash line.