Monday, May 13, 2013

State of the Nats-5/13

Photo by USA Today

Team Record: 20-17 (8-8)

N.L. East Standings














Offensive Game of the Week: Ian Desmond 5/10 vs. Cubs – 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B (saw six pitches in 4 ABs)

Pitching Line of the Week: Gio Gonzalez 5/12 vs. Cubs – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 6 SO, 86 pitches (55 strikes)

Top Storylines

Stephen Strasburg’s continued troubles – It’s kind of amazing a guy with a 3.10 ERA can be considered struggling, but that is the reality for the young ace. After looking great through 4 2/3 innings on Sunday, Strasburg imploded against the Cubs after a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error kept him on the mound. If this is as bad as things get for Strasburg, he will be fortunate. But he has to figure out a way to fight through unforeseen obstacles because it is becoming the story of almost every one of his starts.

Zimmerman’s defense – Zimmerman’s error now puts the Nats’ third baseman tied with Ian Desmond atop the entire league with seven on the season. And in addition to their 14 combined, the team itself has 31 total errors which is second worst in the majors. Zimmerman has been making mistakes on routine grounders, errors that have cost them games in April and May. But what happens when the stakes are higher?

West Coast trip – The Nationals are about to go on their longest west coast trip of the season. They head to L.A. then San Diego, before finishing with a three-game series at San Francisco. The Dodgers and Padres are having rough seasons, but regardless it is a test for a team coming off two straight losses to the lowly Cubs. If they can come out of this road trip on a high note, it could set them up well for what is a tough schedule once they return. 

Bryce Harper’s recent struggles – It is likely due, at least in part, to his procedure to remove an ingrown toenail. Maybe it had bothered him for some time before missing two games because of the surgery. But whatever the reason, Harper has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats and has seen his batting average dip to .297. He will look to get back to the form that made him the team’s best offensive player in the month of April.

Quote of the Week

Ryan Zimmerman after his most recent throwing error: "You'll feel good for a week or so at a time, and you'll have a day where you do something like this. I wish I knew what to tell you. I wish I knew why it happens and why it doesn't happen. Obviously I haven't been able to figure that out yet. It's happening, and I have to keep working and keep going."

Tweet of the Week

Harper tweeted a picture this week of his ingrown toenail and the actual removed nail itself after surgery. To spare you all from having to see that, we chose a different selection. In this one Harper tweets his speedometer while driving at 40 miles per hour.


Road Ahead

Mon. – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Zimmermann)
Tue. - 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Haren)
Wed. – 10:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodgers (Detwiler)
Thu. – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Strasburg)
Fri. – 10:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Gonzalez)
Sat. – 8:40 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Zimmermann)
Sun. – 4:10 p.m. at San Diego Padres (Haren)


72 comments:

EmDash said...

Haren vs. Kershaw should be an interesting one. Gotta be a reverse lock, right? *g*

Harpo said...

"SCNatsFan said...

I agree JD; if Duke is in the game then we have probably already lost, doesn't matter who is in there at that point. Leave Rosenbaum alone for insurance against a starter injury"

That is a typical fan reaction with a defeatist attitude. I saw the Nats up 9-0 against the Braves and lose.

Duke is terrible and also the Henry Roidriguez guy.

Read what EmDash wrote "two guys they can't rely on in close games in Duke and H-Rod"

Close to me is anything within 6 runs if its early in the game.

One time these Nats will surprise you and overtake a 6 run lead. I just saw a team against Minnesota do that over the weekend and win it in extra innings.

Harpo said...

"Zimmerman’s defense – Zimmerman’s error now puts the Nats’ third baseman tied with Ian Desmond atop the entire league with seven on the season."

Chase, do you get that its not the number in total rather than the frequency in errors per chance?

Zimmmerman has missed 1/3 of the season and has as many errors as Desmond. That comparison means nothing.

7 errors out of 69 chances is a .898 fielding percentage for Ryan Zimmerman.

7 errors out of 156 chances is a .955 fielding percentage for Ian Desmond.

How can you even compare the 2 players? I suggest you rewrite it and take Desmonds name out of that paragraph.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nationals pinch-hitters are now just 7-for-48. Combined, they ranked 13th in the National League with a .146 average, 15th with a .196 on-base percentage and 14th with a .404 OPS.

Chad Tracy has 1 pinch hit all year and worse than that, he has ZERO XBHs at all this year.

Lombardozzi has 5 of the 7 pinch-hits.

Tracy is supposed to be the big XBH lefty and generally is getting those lefty/righty matchups and failing situationally.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The silver lining is that the Nats are still 1 game from the top of the NL East but the bad news is they are squandering great starting pitching with poor defense and poor situational hitting.

The problem as I see it is the Nats Minor League system just doesn't have a bunch of sure thing replacement players.

I don't think it's smart for Rizzo to make more than 2 moves at once anyway but here are moves I would make:

1. Send Espinosa to AAA and bring up Rendon to play 2nd. With Rendon's versatility he can bat 2nd and be the guy to also play some 3rd base when needed. Espinosa can use the time to work on being an effective contact hitter.

2. DFA Duke and bring up another long-man

3. Swap TyMo with Marrero and see how it goes

4. Once Corey Brown is healthy, bring him up for Chad Tracy

5. DFA Henry Rodriguez and replace with a left-handed reliever

There will be teams that will be out of the race in mid to end of June that will be ready to do some trades. There has to be some upgrades available if the Nats Minor Leaguers can't step up into new roles.

Biggest issue is Ryan Zimmerman being a productive player for this team. Unfortunately right now he is struggling in all facets of his game. That .899 fielding percentage is as bad as it gets. He's making errors on 1 out of every 10 touches which is DoF: Disgrace of the Franchise.

A DC Wonk said...

Oddities of the day:

- Atlanta is 2-6 in Kris Medlen’s starts, after not losing any of them all last year

- Brandon McCarthy threw eight shutout innings against the Phillies. After throwing just 87 pitches in those eight innings, he was removed for Heath Bell -- who promptly blew the two run lead.

- Justin Verlander Sat night: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R/3 ER, 5 BB, 7 K. That includes three walks in the first inning, including walking in a run.

- Indians are 6-1 against Cy Young Award winners this year -- reverse locks? The Blue Jays won a game where the starting matchup was Mark Buehrle (7.02 ERA) against Clay Buchholz (1.60 ERA)

- A night after Shelby Miller retired the last 27 batters he faced, Adam Wainwright carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. In between that, the Rockies -- highest scoring team in baseball -- went 0-for-49.

- Mariners haven't lost a series since April 22-24 against ... Houston

A DC Wonk said...

3. Swap TyMo with Marrero and see how it goes

4. Once Corey Brown is healthy, bring him up for Chad Tracy


I guess the question is: can Marrero and Brown do much while sitting on the bench a lot and mostly just PH'ing?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

"A DC Wonk said...
Oddities of the day:

- Atlanta is 2-6 in Kris Medlen’s starts, after not losing any of them all last year"

He did lose that Wild Card game last year if you are counting his most important start.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

A DC Wonk said...
3. Swap TyMo with Marrero and see how it goes

4. Once Corey Brown is healthy, bring him up for Chad Tracy

I guess the question is: can Marrero and Brown do much while sitting on the bench a lot and mostly just PH'ing?


Brown showed last year that he could lay down a suicide squeeze and also pinch-hit for a walk-off single.

Not sure about Marrero but he can't be worse than TyMo, or can he?

Rizzo can't sit on his hands and wait.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Corey Brown last year was a .273 pinch-hitter with a .636 OPS. That's better than all pinch-hitters on the Nats except for Lomobo.

Harpo said...

"He's making errors on 1 out of every 10 touches which is DoF: Disgrace of the Franchise."

Touching.

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

Hard to believe things have come down to switching places between a nubber like Chad Tracy for a guy who can't stay healthy like Corey Brown.

Rizzo really left some gaping holes in the pipeline. We already knew that the system was short a quality starter if anything happened and a simple thing like building a bench is a step back to 2011 with Matt Stairs.

Bernadina will step up, Lombo has been fine but TylerMo and Chad Tracy just aren't getting it done.

Then you go back to the recurring problem with Espinosa. What was Rizzo thinking. Espinosa is a work in progress, not a finished product. He just isn't ready to be a 2nd baseman on a Championship calibre team.

Exposremains said...

Ghost

I agree with all your moves but I don't think Espinosa is gong to AAA. I think he gets traded. I have a hard time seeing the day that Hrod will be DFA. They're afraid he figures it out somewhere else. What kind of player could it they get for Espinosa and Storen in a trade?

Eric said...

NatsLady, sorry, just saw your post about the Injury Daze post being the only one to show up consistently.

Did you see my post a week or so ago about how I think this might be a matter of bad XML formatting in the RSS feed? It seems as though your posts with a LOT of tables and such are the ones that don't show up. The Injury Daze report is pretty light on these things.

Would it be possible to post a few articles in a row that were more like the Injury Daze reports in terms of having very few formatted elements?

Joe Seamhead said...

I doubt very seriously that Espinosa is going anywhere. Moore might.

Harpo said...

Exposremains, the time to have traded Espy was in the off-season. Now every GM sees a player that has potential. Do you know how many middle infielders there are that have potential. AAA is littered with them and Danny is one of a dozen.

Rizzo had his chances to move him and anyone betting on the day for Henry to "get it" hasnt been following for the last 2 plus years.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Chase, do you get that its not the number in total rather than the frequency in errors per chance?

That depends on what the question is. If you want to compare the two players over the period in question, then yes, average is more relevant. But I don't think that was Chase's point. Seven errors is a lot of errors for a shortstop on Mothers Day, no matter how many chances he has had compared to the third baseman. Chase's point, as I take it, is that the left side of the infield has been a mess, defensively. Not the worst of all possible messes, perhaps, but way worse than they were expecting, and that's cost them games. Hard to argue with that.

SCNatsFan said...

You are right Harpo; the reason the Nats don't come back from 9 down in the 9th is because of my defeatist attitude. I'll work on that and it will surely improve the Nats chances of winning games late.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Exposremains said...
Ghost

I agree with all your moves but I don't think Espinosa is gong to AAA. I think he gets traded.


I don't see any way Rizzo would sell low on Espi. I think he sends him to AAA to get his confidence restored and get him hungry again.

The problem is that this should have been done a year ago.

NatsLady said...

Eric, I agree, it has to be something in the formatting. The Mike Rizzo post "took" and it had lots of links. But I do copy posts from week to week, so if there is an error it gets propagated. I will try starting posts from scratch and see if that makes a difference. Or maybe it's the ones that I bring over from Word (which is not the case with Injury Daze).

Section 222 said...

It's pretty sad to think the Nats might be saved, or even improved, by bringing up the AAAA players Corey Brown and Chris Marrero. I don't have any problem giving them a try. They can't be any worse than Tracy and Ty-Mo have been. But I doubt Rizzo will go there anytime soon. It took him till after the All Star break to cut Stairs.

I was hoping we'd sign a LH reliever before the season started too, but I don't really get the focus on that. Have we really suffered for lack of a LOOGY or Burnett type? Clip, Storen, Mattheus, and Stammen have all been at least adequate it seems to me. I don't get what Davey is doing with H-Rod, but you really can't blame him for anything so far this year.

Dream on about Espi. It's clear Rizzo and Davey are all in on him for this year. Barring injury, I don't expect to see Rendon back until September.

Let's face it, there's no savior on the horizon. This team has the talent to win. Guys just have to start playing up to their potential.

Exposremains said...

They see HRod as Hanrahan 2.0. That's why they're scared. Agree Espinosa should have gone a year ago to triple a.

Eric said...

"Or maybe it's the ones that I bring over from Word (which is not the case with Injury Daze)."

Bringing them over from Word is a HUGE red flag. That is notorious for introducing all kinds of bizarre formatting artifacts. You might try copying the Word content into a standard text editor (e.g., Microsoft Notepad) before copying it into your blog. It will wreak havoc on your tables, though (because they will be unformatted), so starting from scratch might ultimately be faster.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Or try using Notepad++, might help, can't hurt.

Eric said...

"Let's face it, there's no savior on the horizon. This team has the talent to win. Guys just have to start playing up to their potential."

Comment of the thread, imo.

Eric said...

Notepad++ is awesome!

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Not to get too far off topic, but Notepad++ can be useful if you know some HTML coding and need to put things into a consistent format. And it's free, which is my second-favorite expression after "2-out RBI."

Ivan Tuski said...

We're ok, if we can stay ok thru July and then start getting some consistency and good health we have a chance to improve and play to our potential.
I think it's a little premature to start blowing up a roster that has been years in the making because we find ourselves one game back on mothers day.
And remember if people on this message board are overreacting on such a regular basis it is easy to understand that the guys actually playing are letting this pressure and expectations get the better of them too.

Section 222 said...

Sofa, the whole bruhaha over yesterday's strike zone made me think of the story you told about Eddie Murray. When appropriate you should share that here.

Section 222 said...

Just following up on the Stairs/Tracy comparison, Stairs got 74 PAs in 2011 to show he was done. I'd expect Tracy, who is not as old, has some value as an injury replacement at 1B or 3B, and has only 39 PAs so far, to get at least that many before they cut ties with him. Once Werth returns, Ty-Mo has a shorter leash if they are considering giving Marrero or Owings a shot at the hairy chested RH slugger spot next to Davey on the bench.

NatsLady said...

The formatting is KILLING me, it almost takes more time than the content, and it never seems to be perfect. I will look for notepad ++

NatsLady said...

I know HTML fine, but with the tables it's a bear to read and find what I'm looking for. We'll see tomorrow with the Opening Day Starters, I'll try it, because usually I only have one table but a lot of links and pictures. I did get one video in today, which I haven't been able to do before :).

Dominats Vobiscum said...

Micah Owings is not on the 40 man roster, which makes him unlikely to be called up unless it's in conjunction with the outright release of someone else. So he could replace Tracy, but not Tyler Moore.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sect222, this team has the talent to win and that's why they are one game out of 1st place. If he wanted things to stay the same he could've re-signed the relievers and kept Morse. He was trying to move in another direction with Span and getting LaRoche back.

If Rizzo does nothing now that's on him, the cream rises to the top, and the scraps go in the trash heap.

Eric said...

NatsLady, I hate tables and avoid them like the plague ;). But, with tabular data like you're displaying, they're essentially unavoidable.

Do you have Dreamweaver? I generally prefer to work directly with code, but Dreamweaver's "Design View" can be very helpful for perusing tables without having to wade through a sea of tr and td tags. Notepad++ is great for formatting code, but it won't help much in that specific regard.

If you don't have Dreamweaver, try saving an html file on your system drive and then point your browser to it (e.g., file:///C:/documents/somehtmlpage.html). That should render it for you and you can refresh the page to see changes each time you save the file.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Deuces, you mean about how he would use BP to work on hitting pitches out of the strike zone, to practice fouling them off?

Murray was famous for really ugly BP. After a pitch, he said, there are two choices: There's your best swing and there's the right swing. What's difficult to understand is, you can't hit most pitches with your best swing.

Murray honed his bad-pitch swing because, as he saw it, any worthwhile major leaguer could hit a 65-mph cupcake over the wall in batting practice.

There's more than one story of someone giving him a hard time for not making good contact in the cage, and Murray calling them idiots because they didn't understand that he was doing that on purpose, and for a purpose.



"He (Eddie Murray) was one of the worst batting practice hitters I ever saw. There were times he couldn't even hit the ball out of the cage. He later related to me, 'I knew I could hit the fastball down the middle over the right-field fence, so why spend all my batting practice doing what I know I can do?'" - Teammate Mike Flanagan

Eric said...

"Micah Owings is not on the 40 man roster, which makes him unlikely to be called up unless it's in conjunction with the outright release of someone else."

I seem to recall reading recently that there is still one open slot on the 40 man...no?

Section 222 said...

If the 40-man roster on Nationals.com is up to date, it looks like there's an empty slot that Owings could fill if they want to bring him up. Is that spot being held for someone? I suppose also that Garcia could be moved to the 60 day DL. And then there's Maya, Perry, and Cedeno.

Davey really likes having a LH power hitter and a RH power hitter on the bench. So Owings seems unlikely to replace Tracy.

Eric said...

Cool story about Murray. Sounds like a smart guy who probably played good baseball ;).

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

The other thing I remember from Eddie Murray stories is realizing that, on a pitchers' pitch, a bad hitter will put that in play, and make an out--a good hitter will not--he'll foul it off.

Section 222 said...

Dammit, I need to type faster or be less wordy. Eric, the drink I owe you has been recorded on the NIDO Spreadsheet.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Closest the Nats have to a lefty power hitter is Skole and he's injured. Next best is CBrown and then the Espi switch-hitting clone in AAA.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Eddie Murray, for my money, was one of the smartest players ever. Harper could be that good, I think.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec @3:16, precisely. It's an artform. Few can do it. I wish LaRoche did it withwn on 2nd and 3rd with less than 2 outs yesterday.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Deuces, I have to wave that NIDO off; Eric was only asking, and you added the info on LH/RH bench spots.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

It's an artform. Few can do it.

That's where that bad-pitch-swing comes in. Danny doesn't seem to have any idea how to do it, and maybe not even why to do it. LaRoche doesn't seem to bother, either, as you say.

I don't believe it's an art, I think it's a craft that few bother to learn.

Section 222 said...

Ok Sofa, I'll just give him a drink for his avatar then.

Eric said...

"Eric was only asking, and you added the info on LH/RH bench spots."

Yeah, that was more of a confirmation of what I thought I remembered than it was saying the same thing as me.

Eric said...

"I'll just give him a drink for his avatar then."

Gladly received ;).

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Ok Sofa, I'll just give him a drink for his avatar then.

Stay hydrated, my friends.

Section 222 said...

You guys probably never cheat at golf either.

Eric said...

"You guys probably never cheat at golf either."

Sure I do. I regularly give myself a 7 when I actually hit a 10.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

You guys probably never cheat at golf either.

"I don't play golf. When I hit a ball, I want somebody else to chase it."

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec3, I'm glad you understand it. It's part of approach. Werth and Span are the best the Nats have at wasting pitches. Rendon will excel also in time.

JD said...


In the minors today:

Danny Rosenbaum : 4.2 innings 10 hits 7 runs 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.

I don't think he is the answer at long man after all.

natsfan1a said...

Also, I changed up my seating arrangement after Gio got the hook. My bad.

SCNatsFan said...

You are right Harpo; the reason the Nats don't come back from 9 down in the 9th is because of my defeatist attitude. I'll work on that and it will surely improve the Nats chances of winning games late.
May 13, 2013 2:23 PM

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Sec3, I'm glad you understand it. It's part of approach. Werth and Span are the best the Nats have at wasting pitches. Rendon will excel also in time.

I'm glad you do, as well. It's more than just hand-eye coordination + bat control, although you need those to do it. It took a long time for me to understand what "look fastball, adjust to the curve" means--it's like having three distinct, different physical responses all equally ready, right up to when you ID the pitch, and then choosing and doing one of them in a split second. Easy to say, really hard to do.

baseballswami said...

Ankiel is a Met!!!!

Eric said...

Span and Werth can really put together impressive at bats.

Harper's starting to show flashes of it, too.

Gonat said...

Section222, my favorite utility club is a shoe wedge!

Gonat said...

baseballswami said...
Ankiel is a Met!!!!

May 13, 2013 3:56 PM
___________________________

Sadyly Ankiel is better than Tracy. Ankiel will strike out way too much then he will hit a HR.

SCNatsFan said...

nastsfan1a said...

Also, I changed up my seating arrangement after Gio got the hook. My bad.

Ah, finally someone for me to blame other than my dog, who dutifully slinked off as I yelled at the TV

Eric said...

"my favorite utility club is a shoe wedge!"

Ha!

Section 222 said...

They call me Master of the Mulligan.

Gonat said...

By the way, I don't want Ankiel or Tracy or Stares.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

There's a reason they sell mulligans at charity golf tournaments. It's cheating for charity! If I don't have a mulli, I count everything.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I will be at the game tonight and actually heading to lunch now and on my way after that! Go JZim!

EmDash said...

Fun fact about tonight's starting Dodgers pitcher, Josh Beckett: the only Nats player with a career home run against him is Steve Lombardozzi. One of his 3 in his career. Wonder if we'll see him in the line-up...

Joe Seamhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Seamhead said...

Erik Davis gave up a 2 out HR in the 10th today and suffered his first loss with the Chiefs. Davis has been very impressive before today.

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