Sunday, June 30, 2013

Game 81: Nats at Mets

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
NEW YORK — And so the most anticipated season in Nationals history has reached its midpoint in a most surprising state. The Nats enter today's series (and first half) finale at 40-40, a full 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East and still trying to find their way before it's too late.

Help is on the way, with Bryce Harper due to come off the DL tomorrow for the start of a seven-game homestand. Today, the Nationals will have to try to generate some offense against another young Mets phenom: Zack Wheeler. The rookie right-hander actually arrived in New York with a higher ceiling than Matt Harvey, though obviously Harvey's results at the big-league level have been out of this world.

Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals, trying to get his team back over the .500 mark before heading home. Updates to come...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to LF
NATIONALS (40-40)
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez

METS (33-44)
LF Eric Young Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Marlon Byrd
1B Josh Satin
C John Buck
CF Juan Lagares
SS Omar Quintanilla
RHP Zack Wheeler

UMPIRES
HP Angel Hernandez
1B Paul Nauert
2B Doug Eddings
3B Dana DeMuth (cc)

1:11 p.m. — We are underway as Zack Wheeler fires strike one to Denard Span. Something to keep an eye on today: The Mets have been concerned that Wheeler is tipping his pitches, especially his breaking ball. It'll be interesting to see if the Nationals have any success picking that up today.

1:16 p.m. — Well, if Wheeler was tipping his pitches in the top of the first, the Nats certainly didn't take advantage of it. The rookie struck out Span and Anthony Rendon, then got Ryan Zimmerman to ground out to short in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 inning. Here's Gio Gonzalez.

1:32 p.m. — That was kind a typical Gio inning right there, wasn't it? He gave up a one-out single to Daniel Murphy, then walked David Wright after getting ahead in the count 0-2. Kurt Suzuki went out to the mound and had an animated conversation with the left-hander, who must've taken the message to heart. Gio proceeded to strike out Marlon Byrd (who swung at a 2-2 fastball at his eyelids) and then got Josh Satin to fly out to end the inning without anybody scoring.

1:49 p.m. — Funny how sometimes the Nationals hit these feared, high-velocity pitchers when they can't touch the soft-tossers. They just inflicted some serious punishment on Wheeler in the top of the second. Adam LaRoche got it started by crushing Wheeler's first pitch of the inning off the Subway ad high above the right-field fence for his 12th homer of the season. Jayson Werth drew a walk, then scored on Ian Desmond's rocket double to right-center. Desmond scored on Kurt Suzuki's hard grounder past a diving Omar Quintanilla. And then Suzuki scored on Span's double to left-center. Yes, it's 4-0 Nats after an impressive rally in the second inning. (Oh, by the way, Desmond now has 26 RBI this month, only one shy of Adam Dunn's Nats record of 27 set in May 2009.)

2:05 p.m. — And another Wheeler fastball ends up in the bleachers. This time, Werth took him deep for his eighth homer of the season. The Nats lead 5-0 in the third and clearly have timed Wheeler's fastball.

2:13 p.m. — Remember that animated first-inning mound conversation between Gio and Suzuki I cited earlier? Well, since then, Gonzalez has faced eight batters. He's retired all eight, five on strikeouts. Nice job by the lefty to start going after the Mets hitters instead of trying to get too cute like he did to Wright in the first. Still 5-0 Nats after three.

2:31 p.m. — A leadoff double from Wright in the bottom of the fourth, but Gio pitches around that and retires the next three batters. He's thrown an impressive 50 of 72 pitches for strikes so far, a 69 percent rate that's a full nine points higher than his career average. 5-0 after four.

2:49 p.m. — The Nats chase Wheeler from the game in the fifth. Impressive job today by this lineup against the kid. David Aardsma now in out of the bullpen.

3:02 p.m. — A potentially interesting development in the top of the sixth, as Aardsma plunks Desmond with his first pitch. The Mets' TV crew immediately flashed to reaction shots of David Wright (who was hit in the arm yesterday by Craig Stammen and was buzzed up and in earlier today by Gio) and Terry Collins. Was that retaliation by the Mets? I don't know, though I'd be stunned if the Nats were trying to hit Wright on purpose this weekend. They seem to have made a concerted effort to go up and in on a guy who crowds the plate and has done some serious damage to them in the past. We'll see if anything happens now. Desmond, by the way, responded to the plunking by stealing second base. That's old-school. Still 5-0, heading to the bottom of the sixth.

3:09 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning for Gio, who has now retired 17 of the last 18 batters he's faced while throwing 72 percent of his pitches for strikes (67 of 93). Really good stuff today by the left-hander. Onto the seventh.

3:18 p.m. — One negative today: Anthony Rendon is 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last 17 at-bats. His batting average has plummeted 50 points just like that, from .354 to .304. The rookie might need a day off just to clear his head.

3:31 p.m. — A couple of baserunners in the bottom of the seventh, but Gio still keeps them from scoring. He's probably done for the day, and what a day it was. His finale line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 119 pitches, 84 strikes. Those 84 strikes are a career-high for Gio, shattering his previous record of 79. Quite a performance today from the lefty. Still 5-0 heading to the eighth.

3:58 p.m. — And the hits keep on comin'. Werth and Bernadina doubled in the eighth, and then Suzuki crushed a two-run homer off Brandon Lyon, extending the lead to 8-0. I don't know if it's the specter of Wilson Ramos' imminent return from the DL, but Suzuki all of a sudden is 5 for his last 8 with a double, a homer and four RBI. And it's still not over. Lyon, proving to be quite a slump-buster, served up a two-run double to Rendon, snapping his 0-fer-17. It's 10-0 now. ... Oops, make that 11-0 as Zimmerman drives in Rendon. Unbelievable.

4:05 p.m. — Whoa, now taking the mound in the top of the ninth for the Mets: Anthony Recker. He's the backup catcher. Yeah, that's what this one has come to.

4:12 p.m. — Well, Recker threw six straight balls and then Desmond crushed his first strike to the second deck. It's 13-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth.

4:22 p.m. — It's over, but only after John Buck hit a two-run homer off Ian Krol. So the Nats win, 13-2. They reach the halfway point of the season at 41-40 with their best offensive showing of the year, a brilliant pitching performance from Gio Gonzalez and now they head home where Bryce Harper is waiting to join the roster.

264 comments:

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Section 222 said...

Reposting from the last thread. I'm interested in the thoughts of others on this:

I certainly understand wanting to be careful with Bryce. What I don't understand is how you are being more careful with him by having him play in AA rather than back with the Nats. There's nothing that says that when he comes back he has to play every day or every inning. He's playing all out in AA. Seems to me there's just as big a chance of reinjury there as here. Yeah, yeah the game is faster and all that, but Bryce plays at a single speed so I don't see that much of a difference in risk.

So once it's established that he has his timing back, and I think that was pretty clear after two games, why not bring him up? I'd much prefer that he had taken a few hacks against Dylan Gee yesterday than against the rehabbing O's pitcher. And then if you want to sit him today, or just use him as a PH in the late innings instead of Chad "stick a fork in me I'm done" Tracy, fine.

Play him every other day for a week if you want. Rest him in the late innings when we're ahead. Do whatever you this is needed to ease him in, but call him up!

NatsLady said...
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William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I don't think anyone who considers the situation finds it to make sense. Our hope is that if we just ignore it, then Bryce will be back and whatever is going on will be smoothed over. I hope to see him back in Center field where he belongs and back to the guy that I loved watching so much.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Uh, whoops. Well, Harvey and Wheeler are basically the same, right?

Just fixed it, thanks.

JD said...

Greetings from Sam and I from Citi field.

karlkolchak said...

Minor league games are really little more than glorified exhibition games. Yeah, the teams would like to win, but the needs of the players ALWAYS trump the game situations, which is why you see things like a rehabbing reliever starting a game and pitching the first inning. They are essentially controlled environments--much better for closely watching a rehabbing player than an MLB game in which everything counts/matters.

NatsLady said...

222, my understanding is that he played a full nine yesterday for the first time and they want to use today to see how much (if at all) swelling there is in the knee.

Bearing in mind that if you send someone back to the minors they have to stay there for 10 days or if they go on the DL they have to stay at least 15 days, I don't think they want Bryce to come up until they are pretty sure he's staying. You don't want him to come up for a game or two and then have to go on the DL for 15 days because he's not QUITE ready (i.e., he might only need another 3 days of healing, and you've then sacrificed 12 unnecessary days).

My feeling is that, like Desi last year, he might not play in the All-Star game, even if he's selected/voted, and even though Rizzo said it would be okay for him to do so if healthy.

A DC Wonk said...

Bearing in mind that if you send someone back to the minors they have to stay there for 10 days or if they go on the DL they have to stay at least 15 days, I don't think they want Bryce to come up until they are pretty sure he's staying. You don't want him to come up for a game or two and then have to go on the DL for 15 days because he's not QUITE ready (i.e., he might only need another 3 days of healing, and you've then sacrificed 12 unnecessary days).

Bingo. Well put, NL.

Or (one other possibility): he might only need another 3 days, and he's using up a 25-man roster-spot while sitting on the bench. (We've certainly had enough of that this season).

Sam said...

NatsLady, last year, Desi was hampered with injuries around this time. I haven't heard anything this year, so maybe he will play!

Section 222 said...

That's a decent theory NL, but suppose he played nine yesterday in NY. Then today there's a little swelling and they want to rest him for more than a day, but he certainly doesn't need 15 days. Are we really that much worse off to have him on the bench, maybe available to PH, for a few days? And if he's fine today, you rest him one day to be safe and have him play tomorrow as planned anyway. That fourth rehab start last night just doesn't make sense to me, particularly since the previous game was very long, and the seven innings he played were almost like a full nine inning game.

NatsLady said...

Sam, I'm definitely hoping Desi will get selected AND play. I meant, Bryce. He might benefit from the time off, if there's even a small amount of pain or swelling.

hiramhover said...

As for general question of roster management I think the NatsLady/Wonk combo nailed the answer.

As for Bryce in particular - from Mark's reporting and other things, it sounds as if there was a bit of a disagreement bwn Harper and the team about when he would come back. After pushing things too hard before, Bryce seemed pretty insistent on getting the 5-6 rehab games before he returned.

If he had been pushing to come back himself, or had just said, "whatever management says," I think we might have seen him in NY this weekend.

Section 222 said...

Wonk and NL, even 1/3 a Harper (if he plays one out of three days) is worth a Moore or Tracy or the extra reliever. Remember, there's always a chance he'll reinjure the knee, but that could happen during his rehab too. Or when he comes up on Monday, or whenever it is. The issue is how do you deal with the need for a little more rest in between games if there's some swelling and don't want to play him. My view is he can just as well do that on the bench with the team as lying on his couch in DC or Harrisburg.

NatsLady said...

222, I don't think Bryce wanted to play in NY yesterday--until he played in Bowie and got restless there. And that's exactly what you need, Bryce with his confidence back and mentally ready to put AA behind him.

I doubt he would have made the difference between a win and a loss since we needed a grand slam yesterday just to tie it, given the errors and Stammen not being at his best.

However, I might have flown him up to NY and checked out the knee for today's game--especially if it was the Sunday night game and you had 16+ hours to assess the swelling. But it isn't so I expect we'll see him tomorrow.

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Wouldn't it be nice to end the series on a high note, with another curly W, and a series win, in the books? How about it, Nats and Gio? kthxbai.

DWS said...

This team needs a jolt. 'Nuff said.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Ray Knight says he doesn't think that the Nats are only a .500 team.

The Nats might not be just a .500 team but they play one on tv.....

mick said...

William Loeff...excellent post from last thread...so here is an obvious question...why won't Nats move either Harper or Desi to lead off?

anyone...why not have Desi or Bryce lead off...it worked last year?

mick said...

DWS said...
This team needs a jolt. 'Nuff said.

is that jolt...Bryce and ramos returning or is it a change in managers?

mick said...

I had a conversation with a few area baseball coaches a few days ago and all of them think the Nats should have had Bryce hit lead off at the beginning of this season...if it aint broke, don't fix it" was the best response I got from one of them...98 wins last year and the team rolled with Bryce at lead off. The if it ain't broke also applied to Morse as well

also, that would'nt that make Span a better hitter as well if he s not leading off?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Off to a good start....

mick said...

same ol same ol

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I agree that Harper should be leading off, just as SI argued that Votto should be, but baseball fans are bound in the past. They would rather have a mediocre guy like Span who "feels" like a lead-off guy than a productive one with power.

The other thing is that virtually all of Span's value comes from his fielding. His base running stats on fangraphs are the lowest of his career, so that whole notion is not playing out.

mick said...

good point....the thing is Span is a great fielder... his offense is really
bad right now and that is the biggest reason I think Davey needs to think about Bryce or Desi leading off

I have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around as a lead off and I think the majority of ans and baseball people would agree as well

karlkolchak said...

Just saw that Jeff Francoeur got DFA'ed by the Royals. The Nats really ought to consider giving him a shot as a bench player/pinch hitter since they could sign him for the pro-rated MLB minimum. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery would revitalize him.

A DC Wonk said...


William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I agree that Harper should be leading off,


I don't get that. When you have (and the Nats have too often had) three guys hitting near or below .200 at the end of the order, wouldn't you rather have the best power hitter on the team come up to the plate with somebody on base?

mick said...

karlkolchak

agreed, very interesting

A DC Wonk said...

I have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around...

With all due respect, don't we hear that with _every_ player who goes through an extended rough patch? We heard it with Werth, ARL, RZim, and Desmond, for starters.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

There is no disgrace in being all field and no hit. that is a pretty common paradigm in baseball. Suzuki is like that. The disgrace is that Davey refuses to even address the situation and everyone just keeps pretending nothing is wrong or that Span will be getting on base at a .400 clip going forward.

If this is all Span is on offense, then we are going to have to figure out where our runs are going to come from. 14th in the NL, and with the exception of Werth, I don't think any of these guys are performing away from their norms if you look at Desmond, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Suzuki. That does not bound well unless somehow Harper can carry them on his back. But we definitely need to maximize his impact and plate appearances.

BigCat said...

This wheeler is filthy. Ball just explodes out of his hand. If gio gives up a run it could be over

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

Wonk

2 reasons for Harper or Desi leading off

1) 2012 season ( that basis alone is enough evidence)

2) Span ain't getting it done at the half way point, he is simply terrible as a lead off

3) If Span is a hitter , why not take some pressure off him and move him down the order, if he fails there, then he becomes another Rizzo bust in 1 season

how anyone can think it is OK to leave span at lead off is puzzling

mick said...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...
There is no disgrace in being all field and no hit. that is a pretty common paradigm in baseball. Suzuki is like that. The disgrace is that Davey refuses to even address the situation and everyone just keeps pretending nothing is wrong or that Span will be getting on base at a .400 clip going forward.

That says it all!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The way the mathematics work, I believe, is that the extra plate appearances by your best player outweigh the loss of rbi opportunities. I haven't run the simulation myself, but it is not as though Span is on base a whole lot more than Suzuki and some of the pitchers.

nats guy said...

Looks like it might be a long day.

nats guy said...

Gio has thrown a lot of pitches already.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

You can see now how key that win Friday night was. We really need a win here. We just don't have the hitting to make a huge move in the East. We can manage 6 games or so, but if we get under .500 or passed by the Philles, a big block of fishing time is going to open up here.

mick said...

A DC Wonk said...
I have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around...

With all due respect, don't we hear that with _every_ player who goes through an extended rough patch? We heard it with Werth, ARL, RZim, and Desmond, for starters.

ARL I said that about in May, i was wrong

my friend we are talking about 81 games with span, not a rough patch

Amr Khani said...

Hopefully Gio settles down. Thank Marlon Byrd for swinging at some pitches way out of the strike zone. Could have been worse.

mick said...

like i said, i was wrong about ALR


ha ha

mick said...

how many HR's does Span have after 80 games...let me see...ah

ZERO!!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

There we go!

Tcostant said...

Mick-
Harper should not lead off and Desi should never leadoff again. Did youy watch those years Desi leadoff - no thanks. Nice ALR homers!

BigCat said...

There is your run gio. Go get em.

Great swing from AL

howl31 said...

For the record, Bryce Harper has never batted leadoff in a MLB game... and Ian Desmond led off in 38 games in 2012 and posted a .294 OBP...

I'm not defending Span, his performance offensively has been lackluster and a significant cause of the poor team performance...

But, I had to point that out that Harper never batted leadoff and Desmond had a lower OBP then Span at leadoff...

Really, the bottom line is Span needs to get back to his career OBP of .352 and Harper just needs to get back, period, if we want to compete... at least the second part of that equation seems imminent, not sure the first part will happen or not...

Faraz Shaikh said...

how many times desi has had 1st strike swinging in his first at bat of the game? just wondering.

mick said...

Tcostant

what was Nats reocrd in 2012 after Bryce lead off??

that is all I will say and most importantly, what will change with Span after 81 games...what is an adequate sample size? missing post season and finishing under 500?

I don't think so...its clear Span should not lead off

mick said...

even Werth leading off would be more of a threat...

NatsLady said...

same ol same ol?

mick said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
how many times desi has had 1st strike swinging in his first at bat of the game? just wondering.

just wondering why Desi will be All Star this year and Span will not

just wondering??

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

You can look at baseball reference or fangraphs but Span has been trending down for a long time, with a slight blip up last year, but he is not doing as well in the things that he can control, like walks and hbp's where he is way down in both. I

f he doesn't get on base, his speed is irrelevant. His singles are way down, as are his homers, while his triples are way up. This doesn't make sense to me, but it may be related to his swinging at more balls out of the strike zone. My gut tells me that his concussion may have made him a much less effective hitter, as a guy who had little margin for change in terms of remaining effective.

howl31 said...

The Nats record in 2012 with Harper leading off was 0-0... he never batted leadoff...

mick said...

for the record...in the first inning it was same ol same ol and an extension from yesterday which would make it 10 innings.

good start today


BigCat said...

Actually, werth was a pretty good leadoff.

Wow. 3-0 BREAK UP THE NATS!!!

Bunt the frickin ball gio!!

BigCat said...

Pitiful. Eck needs to work with him on bunting

mick said...

howl31 said...
The Nats record in 2012 with Harper leading off was 0-0... he never batted leadoff...

how much you want to wager my friend????

if you say something it does not mean its true

sick and tired of how some of you gang up on someone who can post an idea and back it up...if its anti status quo or anti Davey then you all flip out

so, tell me pal, how much you want to wager??

you stated Harper NEVER lead off in 2012

howl31 said...

How about you post what the Nat's record in 2012 was in game where Harper lead off... I say it was 0-0... what do you say it was?

Amr Khani said...

That was a fantastic at-bat.

NatsLady said...

I'm sorry? You were saying about Span?

mick said...

excellent start

love how you changed the question howl31... so that means you will not answer my direct question?

you started this pal..

Drew said...

Cue Paul Newman:

"Who are those guys?"

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Span could possibly achieve an obp of .350 in the second half, which would put him at .330 for the year, which is still not that great. He babip is slightly lower than last year but not all that much so this is not a case of a guy being unlucky. Even if he achieves a babip of .350 in the second half, with no homers, and no real running game, it is not going to make a huge difference in run production because you are sacrificing so much power compared to other lead off guys.

Span's doubles and triples are fine. He is well up in both categories over his expected values based on the past. The problem is the lack of walks and singles. If he is going to be either a double or a triple or nothing, it is hard to see why he doesn't become more productive batting 7th when guys might be on base in front of him.

mick said...

nats lady...you need to stop now

mick said...

ah...found all the box scores for 2012... where do I begin??

NatsLady said...

Unless baseballreference.com is incorrect, Harper NEVER batted leadoff in 2012. Not once. He batted 2nd 117 times, other positions a smattering.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=harpebr03&year=2012&t=b

mick said...

I will copy and paste the box scores...one moment please....

BigCat said...

Laroche's bomb unnerved wheeler. Saw his 97 mph go into the upper deck.

We win this series and get The Kid back we are gonna get it going

howl31 said...

I didn't start anything, I just pointed out that Harper has never batted lead off in a MLB game... if someone has proof that he has, then mea culpa... I'll be able to admit that I'm wrong...

NatsLady said...

stop what? who me? checking the facts, you mean?

NatsLady said...

You are not wrong. He has never batted leadoff in his MLB career, according to baseballreference.com

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=harpebr03&year=Career&t=b

It would be harder to track down if he ever batted leadoff in the minors.

nats guy said...

Cue Paul Newman,

Hell the fall will probably kiii ya.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Yep. That is what I was saying. Mr. Span should try getting on base more. His strike-out to walk ratio is by far the highest of his career. He refuses to take walks or let the ball hit him, which he did regularly when he came into the league.

It is hard to make firm conclusions because he is so fragile and has never played over 153 games in a season, but his walk rate is way, way down. In his 2 full years with the Twins, he walked on average over 80 times a season. This year he is on pace to walk 44 times. He also got hit by pitches 14 times those two years, but only once for the Nats so far.

The data are all there. Yes, a free swinger will get more doubles and triples and also fewer walks. He also may strike out more. Combining these factors has decimated his offensive value.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

You know lead-off is not exactly a position. Who cares if he has ever batted lead-off?

baseballswami said...

You think Span is not trying to get on base????? Besides that, you are only leading off at the beginning of the game. Any hitter can lead off an inning. It's a situation, not something permanent.

NatsLady said...

Of Desi's 547 plate appearances in 2012, 116--21%--ended on the first pitch.

For Werth, it was 4%.

Desmond and Werth

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-tale-of-two-hitters.html

baseballswami said...

For example-- in the second, he was in an RBI situation.

BigCat said...

Wow. My boy Werth

I'm sorry that I cussed you yesterday jason

paul brandt said...

Werth with a bomb!

maybe he is tipping his pitches.

David Proctor said...

I think Span is trying to get on base, but I believe he was told to be more aggressive and isn't handling it well. It makes no sense that he was taking his walks earlier this season and suddenly stopped.

NatsLady said...

Maybe I will do this analysis again for the first half of 2013. Already I can say that Span is swinging at more pitches out of the zone than he did last year...

jeffwx said...

Often when a hitter changes leagues, he needs a little time getting used to the new pitchers and umps. Can we give Span more than 1/2 season like we gave Werth.

jeffwx said...

and different strike zone between leagues.
I'm confident that Span will come around to his norms. .350 OBP in the second half would be awesome

Faraz Shaikh said...

NL, nice numbers there.

BigCat said...

Bottom line, our vets gotta get it going this second half. And it's looking good so far with Roche and werth going deep.

But I would vote for shaking up the lineup this second half and that would include moving span down to 7th or 8 th

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

All things being equal, it is great to make a pitcher throw more pitches, but sacrificing offensive production to do so is unlikely to maximize runs.

We need Span to get back to taking walks like he did several years ago in Minnesota. Talking walks obviously gets a pitch count up. He was getting 50 percent more walks then while striking out at about the same rate. Either he has the ability to do what a lead-off hitter with no power needs to do or he isn't, and that is to get on base. Nothing fancy.

So if that is what he means by having changed his approach at the plate, then by all means, he needs to get back to what he was doing in Minnesota because that could make a big difference. His babip is unlikely to go up much but he can control walks and strike-outs.

BigCat said...

Gio rolling now.
I'm putting this one in the Curly column

Eugene in Oregon said...

In the on-going debate about Denard Span, it's probably worth noting the offensive stats for other NL lead-off hitters and center fielders by way of comparison:

2013 NL CFs: .256/.320/.398
2013 lead-off: .268/.334/.397
2013 Span: .257/.310/.350

Not great, I agree, but not that far off the league averages (slugging excepted).

I also encourage you to look at the fielding stats for NL center fielders that Baseball Reference provides at:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2013-specialpos_cf-fielding.shtml

They're somewhat hard to characterize in a single number, but click around and you'll see that Washington (mostly Mr. Span) is right at the top in most comparative categories.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I don't think they have different strike zones anymore between leagues. I wish they did.

baseballswami said...

I think Span may need a full season to adjust to the league. Big change in leagues, managers, teammates, opposing pitchers-- everything. Lots of guys take a minute after a big trade. I love the way he plays CF, and he seems to be a good fit here. No one is hitting well this season. Why should we pick on him about it?

NatsLady said...

I think they are the same umps. Definitely different pitchers/managers/teammates...

jeffwx said...

The big shake in the lineup comes when you replace your .170 outfield bench with little power, to a superstar with amazing ba/obp/slug. I'd make that trade anyday.
Combine that with replacing Solano with Wilson Ramos with great power...then 25% of your 8 man XBH and BA has improved enormously.

jeffwx said...

Thanks, NL, I remember when the AL had a higher strike zone but that may have because of the different chest protectors.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Once again, an attempt at defense of Span as lead-off hitter is made by making reference to his fielding stats.

That evidence is irrelevant to whether he is being a offensive player. I will stipulate for the record that ALL of Span's value this year over a replacement has come from his defense.

A DC Wonk said...

jeffwx said...

Often when a hitter changes leagues, he needs a little time getting used to the new pitchers and umps. [and different strike zone between leagues.] Can we give Span more than 1/2 season like we gave Werth.

Patience? From a fan?

You're in rarefied air, my friend! ;-)

NatsLady said...

Gosh, I will have to leave my house at 9 a.m. on Thursday.... whew..

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

No one is asking Span to hit well. I don't want him to hit well. I want him to get on base. Eddie Yost didn't hit well. Eddie Yost got on base. Joe Morgan hit well, but when he could no longer hit, he still got on base, and the same has been true for a whole host of lead-off hitters.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I love games like this. We needed a breather to relax.

NatsLady said...

Yeah, they changed a few years ago so there are not AL-only and NL-only umpire crews. I didn't realize they used different equipment.

TexNat said...

I agree with Proctor that Span has likely chaffing under the Johnson/Eckstein be aggressive mantra. Its frustrating to watch. Frankly, I'll be glad to see these guys gone. I think this organization undervalues getting on base.

NatsLady said...

Gio, pitch quick. Need five innings. Definite storms on the radar.

baseballswami said...

If no one is on, you need to get on. If someone is on, you try to move them. If the are in scoring position, you try to score them. All three are different situations and require different approaches . One size dies not fit all.

jeffwx said...

I think they make it...storms are training sw to ne while moving slowly east
but agree....lets get thru 5
exciting

NatsLady said...

Here is brooksbaseball on Span (they now have player cards for hitters).

Denard Span has seen 11,573 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2013, including pitches seen in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training.

In 2013, against All Fastballs (933 seen), he has had a very poor eye (0.79 d'; 57% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 27% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a very patient approach at the plate (0.23 c) with a low likelihood to swing and miss (8% whiff/swing).

Against Breaking Pitches (214 seen), he has had a very good eye (0.99 d'; 61% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 24% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a patient approach at the plate (0.21 c) with a low likelihood to swing and miss (18% whiff/swing).

Against Offspeed Pitches (117 seen), he has had an exceptionally poor eye (0.55 d'; 67% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 45% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a steady approach at the plate (-0.15 c) with a below average likelihood to swing and miss (26% whiff/swing).


Span

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/h_landing.php?player=452655

NatsLady said...

Looks like they could wait it out and have another window before there is another line of storms. Not the ideal way to play a baseball game.

NatsLady said...

2nd time in a row Span has not gone to 1B/RF. I'm liking it.

paul brandt said...

Span must be reading the thread today in between innings.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

There! That is what we want. Crappy bloop hits that get you on base because then you get to 2nd when they have a passed ball and you are in scoring position.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I agree. If he can put the ball in play and cut down on the strike-outs, some of those balls are going to fall in.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Now that we have fixed Span, I am worried about Rendon....

TexNat said...

Rendon could perhaps use a day off to observe and collect his thoughts. Definitely in a mini-slump here.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

So now, another dink hit or balk or passed ball and we get a run. Not a big deal today, but I do think at least the initial thinking was for us to learn how to manufacture runs, because with our pitchers, that can be enough in the post-season. Curse you, Arizona.

David Proctor said...

I wish Bob would stop with the constant Braves updates. I'll worry about that later. Right now, I'm worried about our team winning.

Oldguy said...

I got so fed up with the discussion yesterday that I left in about three minutes. Let me plug in a piece of history for all the sky-is-falling types.
On July 10, 2005, the Houston Astros were 44-43. They went to their first world series that year. (My son lives in Houston and they were my NL team in those days--even went to RFK three days in a row to see Oswalt and Clemens pitch.)

In the previous 10 years they had won the NL Central 4 times and been to the playoffs six times. That was their 9th trip to the post-season. They got swept by the White Sox 4-0 in the series.

Oh, and the White Sox? That was their FIRST WS championship since 1917!

And if we don't win it this year, everything has gone to hell, right? And while I'm at it, our old nemesis, the Phillies, have won 3 in 130 years!

I'm just as happy right now that the target is no longer on our backs. MLB has just posted that today's ATL-ARIZ game is an NL championship preview. GREAT! Let their jaws tighten up when we start creeping up on them.

jeffwx said...

win before the rain deadline
improve the bench before the trade deadline
play in october before the frost leaves us to face the winter alone (borrowed from Giamatti)

jeffwx said...

Old Guy, you ain't that old.
Cardinals played .500 ball thru July of 1964 before winning it all (acquisition of Cub cast off Lou Brock helped)..
How about the miracle cubs in 08...They were trailing most of the season before the great Merkle boner (didn't touch the 2nd base bag after the walk off hit)
Don't you remember ?

sjm308 said...

So where did Mick go?

BigCat said...

One thing about Rendon. On his hot streak, every ground ball he hit seemed to be in a hole. Every flair fell in. Against the D-Backs those things started to turn around. They took 2 hits away from him that last game. He has still been a pleasant surprise. And yes, it will be fun to see him at 2 and Harp at 3.

jeffwx said...

training should keep this game going thru 7 at least. As the sea breeze dies down after 4, storms should break thru.

baseballswami said...

David- agreed about the Braves-- plus, the Phils are closer to us and so more of a threat. I also get tired of the constant verbal pitch count. It's excessive , even when it's not looking like it's going to be a factor.

BigCat said...

Yeah, whats the verdict on Harper leading off? Did he or didn't he? manassas would know....he knows everything from Mexican league batting averages to Biblical versus in the book of Genesis

David Proctor said...

Harper didn't lead off last year.

baseballswami said...

And about Rendon-- I have not seen his process going awry, he has gotten unlucky-- defensive scouting?

NatsLady said...

How can you not love Gio? He's SO happy when he's pitching well and has a 5 run lead.

jeffwx said...

Yes, BC, yes.....I've been waiting for Rendon/Harper since the Ruth/Gehrig era...
Should be fun.

sjm308 said...

There are so many irritating things about our man Bobby, I could spend paragraphs but just try to ignore.him as much as possible. He has no clue on most home runs. LaRoche went upper deck and he wasn't sure it was out.

BigCat said...

You are right Swami.....and the baseball Gods have a way of evening things out. if he keeps squaring it up he will be fine. Got jammed pretty good his last time up though. Still, I don't miss Espi at all

jeffwx said...

Freakin Gio makes me happy and that aint easy if you are as old asnd crusty as me.

Aardsma has too many A's in his name.

NatsLady said...

Was that payback? I didn't know we were having that kind of game.

David Proctor said...

Lol wow at the Mets plunking Desi and then him stealing second.

sjm308 said...

No doubt Ian hit in retaliation for Wright yesterday

jeffwx said...

Reminds me of former Mets announcer, Ralph Kiner,
That ball is going, going, and Felix Milan has it at second.

nats guy said...

Swami,

Its just baseball. They are catching up to him so he'll have to adjust. If he does he'll be Ok, if he doesn't he'll be with Mr. Espinosa. I think he is a lot smarter than Mr. Espinosa.

NatsLady said...

Arizona ain't going to the postseason if they keep playing like this. Atlanta has runners on base--again.

paul brandt said...

clearly on purpose b/c of the ball up & in on Wright on his bobble-head day.

BigCat said...

You see Davey's comments in Wise's article. Said the Lerners won't be sad to see him go.

nats guy said...

The Harper/Rendon combo reminds me of Yount/Molitor. Similar type players.

Eric said...

Holy moly...I thought the game was at 4! Doh! Nice time to check in though :)

NatsLady said...

Turtles--a little lower, Roger. Or a little higher.

NatsLady said...

>You see Davey's comments in Wise's article. Said the Lerners won't be sad to see him go.

Really? I missed that. Davey should keep his mouth shut. (I've said that more than once.)

David Proctor said...

So does Gio hit somebody now? When Harper got intentionally hit, Zimmermann hit Hamels.

NatsLady said...

If Desi was for Wright, then, no, it's over...

paul brandt said...

sjm @ 258pm, you're right forgot we hit Wright yesterday so that and today's up and in early on...at least Aardsma didn't throw at Desi's head, I respect him for that.

jeffwx said...

NL, AZ playing like this...you mean Will Nieves catching for them today ?
Lucky for AZ, Giants lost 6 in a row.

Eric said...

Am I the only one who won't trust Davey re: not managing next season until the season starts and Davey's not managing?

Slowes said Wright has been buzzed a few times and wondered if that's why Desi was plunked, and if the blood feud is over yet.

Here's hoping...

Faraz Shaikh said...

Bernie had a good game.

David Proctor said...

Davey could change his mind, I'm not ruling it out. And I think the Lerners and Rizzo would have him back. For all the hate he sometimes gets on here, there are probably 25 other teams who would take him.

David Proctor said...

That was a great play by Zimmerman and much harder than his normal throw on the run.

NatsLady said...

Shark and RZimm- beautiful to see!

TexNat said...

Stammen clearly did not hit Wright on purpose yesterday. There was at least one runner already on and it was still a winnable game. Maybe the Mets have forgotten that some teams are still trying to win ballgames.

Eric said...

I for one would/will be sad to see him go.

jeffwx said...

Hello Az, you are hitting against Paul Maholm.
their announcer say they are in a funk cause they are not resting their players enuf but gibson wants his best outfield in the cavernous Atlanta Stadium...good points

NatsLady said...

Jeffwx, actually I was referring to them 1-4 on their road trip==so far. Of course, they get 4 against the Mets after Atlanta.

Eric said...

Yeah sounds like I just missed some good D. Man I wish I weren't in a parking lot listening...hope I get where I'm going in time to see some of the game on TV.

BigCat said...

Davey's quote......"I know for sure that the Lerners are very happy that this is my last year."

I think Davey revels in the outlaw, or rebel mode, whether its there or not. He seems too old and timid to be an outlaw now

David Proctor said...

I'll be very sad to see Davey go. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, but we could do A LOT worse. He has imperfections, but on the whole, he's a great manager.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, Desi needed that for his OBP a that's as good as a walk ;)

jeffwx said...

yes...the NL west is wilting maybe give the dodgers a chance to catch up.

NatsLady said...

David, I agree with that. Much as I get on his case, he manages a mean bullpen. :)

Rendon is having NO LUCK.

BigCat said...

Need to keep buzzing Wright. Guy kills us. He dives in against the away ball. Screw him. I wish we'd plunk his ribs a couple times! Where is HRod when you need him?

David Proctor said...

Harrisburg just got no-hit. I guess they're missing Bryce already.

TexNat said...

I won't be sorry to see Davey go either. He is like a doctor that prescribes the same medicine regardless of the diagnosis. There isn't a player out there that Davey doesn't think needs to be more aggressive at the plate. He is also loyal to players to a fault. His methods work, but there are always diminishing returns as players regress to their means. And Davey has no backup plan. That is why he has moved around so much, and why the Nats will be better off next year without him.

Honestly, he was a strange hire to begin with. Not because he isn't a good manager, but because he is old, and this is a young team on a multi-year run. I wonder how it was decided that Davey would be the manager given this. Reminds me of when Dick Cheney was in charge of selecting GW Bush's VP candidate.

NatsLady said...

>Hello Az, you are hitting against Paul Maholm.

Yeah. The problem is ATL is hitting against Trevor Cahill.

jeffwx said...

Mets fans...take the bobblehead and run.

paul brandt said...

guess mick is still looking...

Eric said...

"I think Davey revels in the outlaw, or rebel mode, whether its there or not. He seems too old and timid to be an outlaw now"

I also think he and probably Rizzo directs that rebellion at the media at least as much as his employers...not really taking that comment about the Learners all that seriously. We know they basically straight up lied about plans for Espi.

jeffwx said...

Ugla is Ugla

NatsLady said...

I think Davey's a great manager, but I think his time here has worn out, in that the (young) players have learned what they needed from him. He has nothing to teach guys like Werth/LaRoche/Zim or even Bernadina. Basically, the team has outgrown him.

NatsLady said...

Trevor Cahill is not a good pitcher.

NatsLady said...

Davey has one task left, that is to make sure the young guys play hard and get back to winning after the .500 half-season. And even that can be handled by Werth and LaRoche.

nats guy said...

Hopefully not Gio's usual checkout inning.

TexNat said...

Davey's task is to get this team into the playoffs.

jeffwx said...

Span, nice play...
bring in Clip

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

You have to love Gio's personality on the mound....

NatsLady said...

Gio!!!!!!!! GO TAKE A LONG SHOWER!!!! We LOVE YOU!

David Proctor said...

What a great job by Gio. You could tell how much he wanted it. That look in his eyes. I love it.

paul brandt said...

nice outing Gio!

A DC Wonk said...

Aardsma has too many A's in his name.

Yeah, but it allows him to move past Hank Aaron in the record books (as Davey and Charlie pointed out).

Drew said...

Gio threw 119 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.09.

Wow.

The Nats three stellar starters are rolling. The second half is all about the bats.

jeffwx said...

Darn....WODL pointed out another A player that beat out Aaron.
Nice play mr young

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Davey Johnson = One of the great baseball lives, without doubt, but managers barely matter, unless they have full independence in the clubhouse....

Anna Peregrina said...

Aardsma is an anagram of A SAD ARM.

NatsLady said...

In case you think we got it bad==Giants...

Posey has been unable to catch because of what he described as “general tightness” in his legs. Giants manager Bruce Bochy even declined to stick Posey behind the plate when he double-switched in the ninth inning Saturday. Hector Sanchez came in for Guillermo Quiroz, instead.

walking wounded

http://www.csnbayarea.com/article/pregame-notes-add-scutaro-posey-giants-list-walking-wounded

jeffwx said...

Abad is anagram for Bad A##

jeffwx said...

No wonder the G men have lost 6 in a row, NL

And here comes the D Backs....Maholm is gone.
6-2

David Proctor said...

Poor Shark. He's had a tough day.

NatsLady said...

Amanda Comak ‏@acomak 29s
RT @masnkolko: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann combined since May 5: 2.15 ERA in 192.2 innings

NatsLady said...

Fair ball!!!!! LOL.

David Proctor said...

And then that happens...baseball is a weird sport. Shark gets his RBI.

jeffwx said...

you were saying DP...
what a game

David Proctor said...

HA! ZUKE!

jeffwx said...

Jeez...it takes skill to play .500 ball with that kind of pitching....

Wilson who ?

Smatt1001 said...

Zuk!

jeffwx said...

They're hitting like bryce is in the lineup.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

That will help our run differential. If we could get like 20 more then we will actually deserve our record based on the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball.

NatsLady said...

OK, now they're just playing for the run differential. ;)

paul brandt said...

heck, bring in Haren now!

jeffwx said...

Mets should have picked up Henry

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

He is on the DL, injured.

NatsLady said...

Tracy running the bases!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

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