Monday, April 19, 2010

It starts with the starters

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After two rough starts to his season, John Lannan rebounded Friday night.
Two weeks and 12 games into the season, it's pretty obvious what dictates the Nationals' fortunes more than anything else: starting pitching.

Not that this doesn't apply to just about every team in baseball, but it's been particularly significant to the Nats thus far. With no real exceptions, this club's fate on a given night can be tied directly to the performance of its starting pitcher.

Let's look at each game, with the starter's final line and the end result...
Apr 5Lannan3.2 ip, 5 erL, 11-1
Apr 7Marquis4 ip, 6 erL, 8-4
Apr 8 Stammen5 ip, 4 erW, 6-5
Apr 9Mock3.1 ip, 2 erL, 8-2
Apr 10Lannan5 ip, 3 erW, 4-3
Apr 11Hernandez7 ip, 0 erW, 5-2
Apr 12Marquis4.1 ip, 6 erL, 7-4
Apr 14Stammen1.1 ip, 7 erL, 14-7
Apr 15 Olsen5.2 ip, 4 er W, 7-5
Apr 16 Lannan7 ip, 2 erW, 5-3
Apr 17 Hernandez 9 ip, 0 erW, 8-0
Apr 18 Marquis0 ip, 7 erL, 11-7

So, the Nationals have gotten three quality starts so far in 12 games (two by Livo, one by Lannan) and won all three of those games. Their three other wins came when their starter went at least five innings and allowed four earned runs or less (not exactly the definition of "quality," but they've been good enough).

Now, look at the six losses. In every case, the starter failed to go at least five innings. It's been that simple: When the starter goes at least five, the Nats win. When the starter doesn't go five, they lose.

Will that trend hold up all season? No, you can't consistently win allowing four runs over five innings. But it does show the Nats have enough offense and (so far) enough relief pitching to win when their starter does at least the bare minimum asked of him.

So what's the key to tonight's game against the Rockies? Craig Stammen better go at least five innings.


Scott said...

Stoked for tonight's game. Haven't been to the stadium since that LOVELY opening day.

Bote Man said...

I'm no math whiz, but it looks to me like the Nats have a fighting chance to win when their starting pitching doesn't stink to high heaven.

I wonder how the Front Office will employ this information?

Pat said...

I wonder how Marquis will like living in Syracuse....

Dre said...

all the more reason to be excited about the call-up of Strasburg and the return of Zimmermann

Steven J. Berke said...

This is because this year's Nats can hit. I remember three years ago when Shawn Hill (remember him?) had about a dozen quality starts and the Nats won about half of them because that team couldn't hit its way out of a paper bag (scored 672 runs, dead last in the NL). This team can sure hit and score runs, and can defend at least adequately, so it can hold its own if it gets even decent, let alone stellar, pitching.

Anonymous said...

Marquis is really making Rizzo's decision easy when its time to call Strasburg up.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Expanding on Berke's comment, the collapse of John Patterson and Shawn Hill's carrers due to long term injuries, set back the NATS progress two to three seasons.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of Hernandez all the starters are making it a pretty sure bet that Strasburg and Storen will be front and center in earl June. And maybe some others to boot.

Anonymous said...

"Expanding on Berke's comment, the collapse of John Patterson and Shawn Hill's carrers due to long term injuries,"

AND Jordan Zimmermann.

Anonymous said...

two loses while scoring 7 runs, two loses while scoring 4 runs. Decent pitching should win with that kind of offense.

Brian R. said...

Yep, can't forget Wang and Detwiler returning in early June, plus we will likely see flashes of guys like Atilano and Martin.

Steven J. Berke said...

FAR too soon to say that Jordan Zimmermann's career has collapsed. Patterson and Hill could not come back from their injury problems; we have yet to see about JZimm (quite a few do come back successfully from TJ surgery).

PDowdy83 said...

Aeoliano has got to be a relative of peric. Spitting out the same nonsense all the time.

Zimmermann has had one injury and is ahead of schedule on his rehab. No reason to compare him to Patterson and Hill who had MULTIPLE injuries each.

Also you can add Lannan to the list with Livo. His first game was terrible but he was squeezed some in the game in New York and pitched really well against the Brewers. Looks like the Lannan of old to me.

Anonymous said...

As once said by Dirty if they'll only wait til the cavalry arrives. We need a little luck to get thru the rest of April and May. JTinSC

SilverSpring8 said...

Nats' record when allowing < 6 runs: 6-0.
Nats' record when allowing > 6 runs: 0-6.

I think I see a trend.

Arlington BigFish said...

According to this morning's Post (am I allowed to mention that here?) Riggleman says Marquis is not leaving the rotation. Apparently, his contract says he can't be sent down?

Anonymous said...

PDowdy83 has to be a relative of Homer J. Simpson because of the radioactive rod for a brain he keeps in his back pocket next to his butt. More nonsensical than nonsense especially when one cannot ever read? And reading is fundamental.

Gee knucklehead, what would the starting rotation look like right now with Jordan Zimmermann in it instead of well, say Marquis? To use Rizzo's own words the guy is worth his weight in gold. Difficult to find and next to impossible to trade for. It is likely he will be out for at least a year and a half due to Tommy John's. With rehab and trying to get his pitching back its TWO YEARS. RIGHT?

Oh I forgot your parents never taught you how to tell time? Let's see the big hand ....

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