Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kobernus takes little solace from 1st HR

USA Today Sports Images
PHILADELPHIA — Jeff Kobernus has always been more interested in scoring on someone else's home run than hitting his own, so the rookie's reaction to the first homer of his big-league career last night perhaps wasn't all that surprising. Especially given the situation in which it occurred.

With one out in the eighth inning and the Nationals trailing by three runs, Kobernus stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and walloped a pitch from Cliff Lee into the left-field bleachers at Citizens Bank Park.

"I was just going up there trying to get on base," Kobernus said. "I'm not a home run hitter, but going up there trying to see some pitches and hopefully get on base. We're down three right there. We're not looking for a home run necessarily. But he left something up in the zone and I was able to put a good swing on it."

The home run has never been a big part of Kobernus' game. The 24-year-old utilityman hit only 10 of them in 1,468 minor-league plate appearances, seven of those alone coming in 2011 at Class A Potomac.

So when it did happen last night, Kobernus wasn't entirely sure how to react. It didn't help that the Nationals still trailed by two runs, and never did make up the deficit during what ended as a 4-2 loss to the Phillies.

"It was nice, but at the same time you can't be too up," he said. "We're still down two. Still in the game. Trying to win the game."

Last night's homer also happened to be Kobernus' first successful pinch-hit in five attempts. That's a new role for him, and one he's working on perfecting with more experience.

"The first couple that I had pinch-hitting a couple weeks ago was definitely new, because you're coming off the bench and might see a reliever or a starter," he said. "Ultimately, though, starting kind of helps me relax more. The longer I've been up here, the more relaxed I feel. Pinch-hitting is like, I don't know if you ever really get used to it. You just kind of know what types of at-bat you want to have. Down one, you wanna be aggressive. Down a few, you wanna try to work your way on base. Kinda still learning a little bit."

42 comments:

Eric said...

Did any of y'all catch the side drama that was the Phillies' park staff retrieving the ball for Kobernus? That was hilarious! That kid looked like he was gonna soil his drawers when the security guy beckoned to him.

Anyway, congrats Kobernus!

baseballswami said...

I did, Eric, and it was hilarious. Did any of you read the Espi story on WP?? Bravo- Danny, who has embraced this now and realized it 's a good thing. But, he said he had not been this in control of his hitting since he came up. I feel that many of our young players are playing and hitting correctly when they arrive and regress here. That should not happen!!! Are fundamentals left by the wayside once they get here? Tell me honestly that you are not even a little worried that Eck will ruin Rendon. And hitting is not just blasting, it's understanding situations and what the pitcher is trying to go to you. That is what I see lacking more and more- not getting better . Should the Chiefs hitting coach be added to our staff here?

baseballswami said...

And he has been officially optioned to AAA. His new take on things is perfect. Go Danny!

Eric said...

I'm not worried about Rendon any more than I was worried about anyone in our line up when we were putting up some of the best offensive numbers in baseball last season.

Eric said...

"And he has been officially optioned to AAA. His new take on things is perfect. Go Danny!"

He has? As of when? They don't have to make that decision until he's been on rehab for 20 days.

Eric said...

Per the WaPo article:
"At some point in the next two weeks, the Nats can either activate him to the 25-man roster or option him to the minors."

Sounds like it's still an open question, although his continued slump makes activation seem unlikely...

baseballswami said...

It had been made-- it's official. Read his interview. He has seen the light. And I am afraid that Rendon will catch whatever hitting disease has infected our ranks. Hope not-- and absolutely cannot wait to see Rendon and Bryce playing together!! If those two can't energize a lineup no one can.

baseballswami said...

News came directly from Rizzo.

baseballswami said...

By way of Amanda Comak- reliable.

Eric said...

Gotcha re: Rizzo confirming Espi being optioned.

NatsLady said...

rizzo on the radio
yes, danny off dl, optioned to aaa.
i have fired hitting coaches in the past, i can do it again.

i think the final straw for eck was messing with span. at least, that would do it for me

Exposremains said...

natslady

the part about firing a hitting coach in the past, is that a quote from rizzo?

baseballswami said...

Sounds like the guy in Syracuse is aces, NatsLady -- many guys have been entrusted to him at a critical level of development. Guys go back there for help. Missed the radio show -- anything else of importance? And by the way -- I am happy for Danny that he has a renewed direction and happy for the Nats because he can still play a vital role, either with the team or as a good trade piece to give him a fresh start.

Mr Baseball said...

As far as hitting, I don't think it would hurt if we went back a few decades and be a team who tries to make contact. I'm tired of the long ball HR approach we now see in MLB.l I liked it when hitters put the bat on the ball and didn't strike out 150+ per season. The name of the game is to get on base and so you can score runs. When trying to make contact HR's will happen. Choke up, it didn't hurt Barry Bonds! Even through he may have been on steroids, he still make contact!

Section 222 said...

Can someone explain to me what Eck did to "mess with" Span? I thought there was a report that he looked at films and pointed out something Span was doing in the past when he was a more successful hitter. And Span decided to try it. How is that messing with him? I thought that's what hitting coaches were supposed to do. Or is there more to the story that I'm not remembering?

Section 222 said...

From the WashPo: "The past three years, I’ve basically been battling every day in the big leagues to feel comfortable, to be where I need to be. At least right now, I’m comfortable. I’m comfortable with my swing."

Whaaaaat? All it took for a few days in the minors? What were you (and Rizzo) waiting for then?

I hope he regains his stroke and puts up some serious numbers in AAA.... so he'll have some trade value when we get rid of him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

That's some crazy quotes. Finally Mike sees the light. Just think if Rizz saw the light last year and got Scutaro instead of the Giants. X Factor.

Tcostant said...

About time:

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/19/nationals-activate-danny-espinosa-from-disabled-list-option-him-to-minors/

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

This team has only 2 natural hitters in the system. Their names are Anthony and Bryce. All the rest feel uncomfortable from time to time.

baseballswami said...

I think the 2 situations with Danny and Bryce show a lot about how the organizational people and the manager have got to be the grown ups. This is absolutely not that team filled with wise veterans who know what they need to do to get ready, who know when they should play or sit out, who know what they need to continue to develop. They need the older and wiser leaders to actually lead them! Bryce needed to be tied to a chair -- look how much longer this took. Espi needed some time with the teaching type coaches -- look how much longer that took. I think part of it is that Davey is more the popular grandpa that tells cool stories from back in the day and he used to be the Dad who made the rules and enforced them.Rizzo seems to indulge what Davey wants for a very long time. I truly feel that this team needs a lot more guidance and structure than they are getting. It's kind of an every man for himself, loose atmosphere. Might be a fun way to do business for a while, but inevitably someone needs to pull back the reins and take charge. Sounds to me like Werth and Desi might be trying to get a handle on things. I hope so.

alexva said...

"hindsight is 50/50" Steve Spurrier

SonnyG10 said...

I would be in favor of having two hitting coaches. I understand some of the other teams have more than one. If the guy at AAA is really good, bring him up to help Eck.

baseballswami said...

Royals were struggling and did not fire theirs, just brought in George Brett to "help"!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

A beautiful day for 4 games.

1:00 Dodgers @ Yanks
4:00 Padres at Giants
7:00 Nats at Phils
10:00 Mariners at Angels.

Best part about being old and having nowhere to go I can watch all 4.

Predictions from the games

1) I will see at least 12 homers

2) I will see 5 bad calls on the bases, but replay will prove that 4 were actually correct

3) Unless Bob Davidson's crew is umping I will see 0 balks

4) will see 3 hit by pitches at least

5) I will see no melees

6) Will se at least 3 guys stranded at third getting there with less than 2 outs.

7) will se - ejections

8) will see no blown saves

9) 2 home teams and 2 away teams will win

10) Yankees announcers will remind us they have lost most time to injuries (despite what Nat fans think)

Should have predicted a video tribute to Mattingly, wasn't thinking.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...


Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Just a reminder

No more losses in June.

Eat Face

GYFNG

TheManBearPig said...

"This team has only 2 natural hitters in the system. Their names are Anthony and Bryce. All the rest feel uncomfortable from time to time."

Desmond has been by far the Nats most consistent hitter since May of 2012 - his month-long slump in May was the first month since April of 2012 that his OPS for the month was below .799. Bryce and Anthony might look like natural hitters, but don't forget Bryce's long slump in 2012. We'll see if Rendon can avoid the 2nd-time-around slump that can happen to a young hitter when scouting reports catch up to him.

A big part of what we've seen is the ripple effect that injuries have on a lineup. The Nats aren't much different than the rest of MLB in that they hit better when facing a pitcher who's pitching from a stretch with baserunners to worry about - OBP is between 20 and 25 pts better with runners on and OPS is about 30 pts better. Take a couple of good hitters like Bryce and Werth out of the lineup and everyone behind them is going to be worse because the pitchers they're facing will be out of the windup more often. Put them back in the lineup and we'll see more production out of the middle of the order. This is also one of the reasons why Span's disappointing OBP is hurting the Nats.

TheManBearPig said...

By the way, the Nats aren't alone in having their run production hurt by injuries - the Yankees have been affected by injuries pretty much the same way as the Nats. Both scored about 3.5 runs per game in May and they're scoring about 3.3 runs per game in June.

As the Nats added healthy hitters to their lineup in 2012 - Harper called up, Morse returning, Zim getting a cortisone shot, their runs per game went up: from about 3.3 in April, to just over 4 in May to almost 5 (4.85) for the second half. With their pitching staff, they don't need to score 5 per game. 4.5 is doable if they get healthy and would put them right back in the race.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Prediction 10 over kill non stop talk of injuries

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

We all have to do our parts in this turn-around. I'm going to get some fava beans, and a nice chianti.

TheManBearPig said...

You can't talk about the Nats' offensive woes without talking about injuries, MNF. Lombo, Bernadina and Kobernus aren't goint to turn into .800 OPS hitters. Getting Harper back is going to help a lot.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Prediction 6 had an alternative move. Adrien Gonzalez on third no out doubled off on a liner to the pitcher, so I will count that.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Second game in a row O's had a 2 and 3 run homers against Tigers

Eric said...

"We all have to do our parts in this turn-around. I'm going to get some fava beans, and a nice chianti."

I'll get a basket of lotion.

NatsLady said...

Exposremains--yes. That is word for word what RIzzo started off with in answer to a caller's question about Eckstein. Later he moderated it a bit with yada how hard Eck works, responsibilities of the hitters, exactly what Eck does, etc.

natsfan1a said...

I think that may have been a cannibalism allusion from sec3 in re. the "eat face" slogan.

JamesFan said...

Espinoza's man-crush on the Chiefs' hitting coach is a shot at Eckstein on the way out the door. This is just another excuse.

I like everything about Kobernus but the tats. He looks smooth in the outfield and comfortable at the plate. I would like to see him get some at bats to see what he can do.

natsfan1a said...

Oh wait, nevermind.

baseballswami said...

new post

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

NatsLady Eck's recommenations to Span surely have not produced fruit.

Please Rizzo get a restraining order to keep Eck from Rendon and Harper.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Also dont forget no more losses in June

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Yanks man on 3rd 1 down stranded. 2 in game 1

Caps Fan said...

Yes. Rizzo has fired a hitting coach. Who was it? Lenny Harris. What was his crime? His "coaching" consisted of playing cards with players in the clubhouse.

There is absolutely no chance Rizzo fires Eckstein.

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