Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Series preview: Phillies at Nats

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Joe Blanton (0-0, 14.54) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (0-1, 4.76).
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.69) vs. LHP John Lannan (1-0, 3.60).
TV: MASN2 Radio: WHFS-1580 AM

Thursday, 7:05 p.m. -- LHP Cliff Lee (1-1, 7.84) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.18).
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

To the surprise of no one, Philadelphia is off to a strong start, winners in seven of its first nine games this season. The bigger surprise is how this team has won so far: with offense, not pitching. The Phillies' supposedly unstoppable rotation has combined to post a 4.74 ERA so far, with only Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt owning ERAs under 5.59. Not that anyone's seriously worried about this rotation over the long haul. Offensively, they haven't seemed to miss Jayson Werth (or injured second baseman Chase Utley) one bit. They lead the NL in batting average (.334), OBP (.380), slugging (.484) and OPS (.865) and every regular but Raul Ibanez is hitting over .300. And any fears of surviving with Brad Lidge on the DL have been assuaged thanks to
the work of fill-in closer Jose Contreras (two saves, 0.00 ERA in three appearances) and setup men Ryan Madson, Danys Baez and Antonio Bastardo (all sporting 0.00 ERAs).

Nats' best vs. Blanton -- Ian Desmond (6-for-14, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI, K), Michael Morse (3-for-9, HR, 3 RBI, 3 K), Ivan Rodriguez (6-for-17, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Blanton -- Alex Cora (0-for-6), Rick Ankiel (0-for-5, BB, 2 K), Matt Stairs (3-for-18, RBI, 3 K).
Nats' best vs. Halladay -- Ivan Rodriguez (14-for-35, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 K), Matt Stairs (10-for-26, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K).
Nats' worst vs. Halladay -- Michael Morse (0-for-6, K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-22, 2 BB, 4 K), Alex Cora (3-for-25, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K), Adam LaRoche (1-for-7, 2 K).
Nats' best vs. Lee -- Ivan Rodriguez (12-for-32, 7 2B, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K), Jayson Werth (1-for-3, K), Michael Morse (2-for-7, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Lee -- Rick Ankiel (0-for-4, 3 K), Matt Stairs (1-for-10, RBI, BB, K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-12, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K), Adam LaRoche (1-for-5, 2B, K).

Phillies' best vs. Hernandez -- Placido Polanco (18-for-49, 2B, 3B, RBI, 3 BB, 4 K), Ben Francisco (3-for-9, HR, 2 RBI), Brian Schneider (3-for-7), Joe Blanton (3-for-4, K).
Phillies' worst vs. Hernandez -- Jimmy Rollins (13-for-61, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K), Ryan Howard (4-for-24, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K), Pete Orr (1-for-5, RBI).
Phillies' best vs. Lannan -- Raul Ibanez (10-for-15, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K), Brian Schneider (3-for-6, 2B, RBI, K), Placido Polanco (3-for-7, RBI, BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Lannan -- Wilson Valdez (1-for-13, K), Ryan Howard (5-for-27, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 11 K), Jimmy Rollins (7-for-29, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K).
Phillies' best vs. Zimmermann -- Wilson Valdez (2-for-2, 2 2B, RBI), Ryan Howard (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K), Raul Ibanez (2-for-4, HR, RBI, BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Zimmermann -- Ross Gload (0-for-3, K), Placido Polanco (0-for-2), Carlos Ruiz (1-for-4).

As a special bonus heading into this series, we've got a little Q&A with Phillies blogger Jason Weitzel, who runs the Beerleaguer site owned by CSNphilly.com. Jason was kind enough to ask me some questions about the Nats and post those on his site, so let's return the favor and ask for his thoughts about the Phillies...

NatsInsider: Where do the Phillies miss Jayson Werth the most: at the plate, in the field or in the clubhouse?
Beerleaguer: After nine games, the defensive drop-off in right field between Werth and his replacement, Ben Francisco, couldn't be greater. Baseball has a funny way of finding the weakest defensive link and exposing it, and that's what's happened with Francisco, right out of the chute on Opening Day. The worst offense is that he nearly decapitated a Gold Glove center fielder in Shane Victorino on a right-center gapper that he should have conceded. The Phillies are going to stick with him, however, because his bat has been electric from the right side. Francisco has many more flaws in his offensive game than Werth, but Werth had holes, too, and was strictly platooned before his breakout season that started midway through 2008. The Phils will also miss Werth's speed on the bases; from my perspective, Werth is a speedy and strident runner, but not an especially savvy base-runner. He'll fall asleep in right occasionally, too, but he can also make his share of Gold Glove-caliber plays. His glove was excellent in the post-season, and he was the Phils' most consistent hitter of the last two Octobers.

NatsInsider: As much as the Phillies' roster looks stacked, what's the one thing that worries fans the most?
Beerleaguer: Even though they've been scoring runs in bunches, the concern is that an offense without Werth, and without Chase Utley to start, is going to leave them high and dry at some point. The Phils are getting older. They suffered through a historic scoring drought beginning in late May of 2010. The dearth of scoring was compounded by injuries to Jimmy Rollins, Utley and Ryan Howard. The bats only came around during the stretch drive, only to shut down in the postseason. That's the big fear -- going through the same fits and starts -- even after they've averaged over 6.5 runs a game and have outscored their opponents 59 to 33 nine games in.

NatsInsider: Phillies fans don't exactly have a sterling reputation around the rest of baseball. How much of that reputation is legitimate, and how much is unwarranted?
Beerleaguer: My sense is that Phillies fans have actually mellowed since the Phils got the monkey off this city's back by winning it all in 2008. Games at Citizens Bank Park now have a "beachy" Wrigley Field vibe, plus tickets are at a premium, so each game is treated as a precious event. What hurts our reputation is the volume of fans invading road parks, like Washington. The type of young fan with the free time and disposable income to do that is often the kind of fan that will run on the field and get Tasered. A series of national fan scandals, like that one and the fan who intentionally vomited on a little girl, don't help our reputation, either.


Anonymous8 said...

Nats' worst vs. Blanton -- Alex Cora (0-for-6)

How come I was expecting this news!

joemktg said...

Nats' best vs. Halladay -- Ivan Rodriguez (14-for-35, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 K), Matt Stairs (10-for-26, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K).

What century was that?

Traveler8 said...

I'm trying to do the math here - how is it that collectively the Phillies rotation has an ERA of 4.74, but only Halladay and Oswelt have ERAs of less than 5.59? Did the numbers get reversed?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Traveler8: Halladay (0.69) and Oswalt (2.25) have each made two starts, so their stellar numbers help bring the overall rotation ERA down. Hamels (5.59) and Lee (7.84) have also made two starts a piece, but Blanton (14.54) has made only one entering tonight.

Section 8, mice o'fa said...

Just guessing, Traveller, but if their ERAs are very low, that would bring the average down.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Glad to see that Lannan has kept Howard in check, hopefully it will continue!

Les in NC said...

So when will Rizzo pull the trigger on trading for Micheal Young? And what pieces do we have to give to get him, especially since Zimm may not be healed for close to a month?

Rob Dibble's Ghost said...

For those outside the Philly/DC markets, Wednesday's game is on ESPN2 and Thursday's is on MLB Network.

Anonymous said...

"So when will Rizzo pull the trigger on trading for Micheal Young?"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA! Best one I've heard all day.

joemktg said...

@Les in NC

Michael Young's a starter, a durable one at that, and is earning $16MM with 2 years left on his contract. If Young is going to be moved, he's going to a contending team where he plays a critical role, not to the Nats where he is a one month starter.

sjm308 said...

Really hope that doesn't happen. If this was August and we were in a playoff race (one can dream can't he?), then maybe renting an overpriced over the hill player might make sense but not now. We either bring up a youngster (Marrero, Brown, Bernadina) or maybe add Bixler to the 40 man roster but I am still pushing to bring up HRod and go with what we have.
3B - Cora, Hairston, Morse
SS - Desmond, Espinosa, Cora
2B - Espinosa, Cora, Hairston
1B - LaRoche, Morse, Pudge, Stairs,
Not the greatest defensive team but most of these guys will make the average major league play.

Go Nats! Hoping for 9-11 or better without Zimm

N. Cognito said...

So when will Rizzo pull the trigger on trading for Albert Pujols? And what pieces do we have to give to get him, especially since LaRoche may not be healed for several months?

Les in NC said...

well, I was thinking....

Trade for Young and have him play 3rd for Zimm, then after Ryan is back (and healthy) he could move to 1B for Laroche while he is out having surgery....

food for thought.

Anonymous said...

When will Rizzo pull the trigger on trading for Albert Pujols? Surely the Cards will accept Adam LaRoche and Garrett Mock in trade. :-P

K.D. said...

joemktg; Actually Pudge went 3-4 against Halladay and 4-5 agaist Blanton in 2010.

Alex said...

If LaRoche is hurt, makes more sense to bring up Bernadina since he doesn't cost a 40-man spot and we'd need Morse at 1B. Hairston's already splitting time at 3B now.

Only bring up Bixler if Cora or he becomes 3B for a month. And then who do you cut off 40? Hyde?

joemktg said...

K.D.: assuming that was during the first half of the season b4 the injury.

JD said...


We should be able to get Pujols cheap; he's hitting .150 and is in his walk year. You think Atilano and Mock gets it done?

Oh, and we should make ST.Louis pay 50% of his salary.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's Flores.

SCNatsFan said...

Flores? Didn't see that coming.

Mark, do you think the Nats might be able to swing a deal with the Cards for Broderick to open up space in the pen? When HRod arrives he seems the likely reliever to go, all things being equal.

joemktg said...

So historically Pudge hits the Phillies well (see MZ's stats above). LaRoche needs to sit out and rest. Flores, in this context, makes sense.

MicheleS said...

Okay.. I don't know if you all have read the comments section on the Phillies site. But for the love of god some of those fans are just INSUFFERABLE!

I can't wait until we can stuff some losses down their throats - Starting tonight!

Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

@ MicheleS:

Please understand the terms sarcasm and tongue in check when reading blogs.

MicheleS said...

@Anon 11:50

I get the sarcasm and the tongue in cheek, I read through that, but the outright dismissal of anything that might be happening down here is what is grating. Like the comments about how our opening weekend attendance was down vs last year and that we would miss their money more than anything. And the lack of credit on developing a young core (at least one poster gave us credit on that)

Anonymous said...

@MicheleS: Who cares what Phillie fans think. Why would you even read their blog? Don't need to read the blogs to figure out they are idiots.

PAY TO PLAY said...

PAY TO PLAY said... I would bring up Flores and Bernadina and HenRod and DFA Broderick and Stairs. Pudge can fill in at 1st base and take more reps there and Flores is a much needed power RH bat. Bernadina can play LF and Morse can play 3rd.

When Zim comes back they can send Flores back down as he has options.

April 11, 2011 5:17 PM

So Bernadina wasn't available but I also picked Flores.

What do I win?

The Joker said...

Anyone else think that Zimmerman may be experiencing a sympathy illness. His good friend Adam Dunn is laid up with appendicitis and all of a sudden Zimmerman gets hurt. If King Rizzo had not let Dunn go it is probable that both men would be playing now and La Roche would be on somebody else's injury list.

joemktg said...


Here's your prize:
/pat on back

Mark'd said...

Pay2Play, good job! I like your idea. I expect Bernadina back when he is ready.

You were the only one on Flores.

PAY TO PLAY said...

I have to confess that when SteveM called me at 2 o'clock with the Ryan Zimmerman to the DL news he said he thought they would bring up the only RH power bat they could count on which was Jesus Flores and they were trying to get to Bernadina who is in Curacao so I really can't take the credit, I just kind of added to it.

Mark'd said...

P2P, you are the proxy winner and SteveM comes through again. Why didn't he post it?

joemktg said...


Taking prize away. For fibbing:
/slap on hands

You've been warned.

Anonymous said...

Still think Bernadina isn't long for this organization.

Flores? Sounds like a catcher is about to be moved.

PAY TO PLAY said...

joemktg, I was his proxy but I felt bad taking it as my own!

Where is Stevie? He gets a lot of grief and he is almost always spot on. Like NatsJack and a few others, a real asset to my knowledge of the game.

JaneB said...

What is Bernadina doing in Curacao? Why isn't he in Syracuse? I know he grew up there -- I hope it's not a tough family event.

JD said...


Syracuse site says 'bereavement' so that can't be good.

Wally said...

Re: trading for Young. I am sure it doesn't happen. Texas wants real players or prospects, and his profile likely means contending team. Money is too large for contribution. But you have to know the actual cost before you say don't do it, right?

SO... if the Nats could get him for mostly salary relief (meaning lower and more marginal prospects), why wouldn't it be a good deal? Or what if it was for Marquis plus they ate a good bit of salary? Opens a spot for Detwiler. Don't you have to think about that a little bit, at least? It is just money over the next couple of years that probably doesn't prevent them from adding anyone else. Short term relief for Zimm, hedge against lingering Zimm/Laroche injuries, and hedge against MI collapse/injury. Still a quality bat, and a potential pickup for NL move.

Only reason I could think that you just absolutely don't want Young is if Riggs felt compelled to play him everyday at one of the MI positions.

Steve M. said...

Mark'd, if I had posted that Jesus Flores was being called up yesterday I would have been laughed at and heckled by the 3 guys that can't stand others being right or having the inside scoop or good insight.

I'm not right all the time but I will stand by what I say and admit when I am wrong like Brian Broderick who I thought earned a roster spot and quickly has shown he doesn't belong.

I told my buddy P2P and a few others to run with the Jesus Flores. No big deal at all, but I appreciate those who want to listen and hear others thoughts just like I do. I even listen to JayB although I don't agree with him most of the time he gives his own perspective and certainly puts himself out there with his opinions. I can take him anyday compared to Theophilus who stands on his perch and puts down those around him.

This is by far the best Blog in DC and the place to come to discuss real Nats news, issues.

Anonymous said...

Kind of a strange time to trade Pudge, no major injuries to catchers around the league. He also probably has some type of no-trade clause in his contract. My thought is Flores will hold a seat on the bench for when Bernadina is available or in the instance Pudge/Ramos has to be used as a pinch-hitter. It is all guesswork at this point.

Anonymous said...


Be glad no one had mentioned Lannan breaking Saint Utley's wrist.

For the record: Saint Utley is a derogative term.

Also for the record: I like Lannan. He's a decent #3/

Anonymous said...

The price for Michael Young is reportedly too high ... one team able to pay it? The Tampa Bay Rays. That comes from them through MLBTR.

If Tampa Bay thinks the price is too high with their bevy of prospects? C'mon people!!!!!! Just think!

Its one thing to give up prospects for a Grienke its auite another to give them up for an aging third baseman ... if Rizzo did that I would be the first to scream bloody murder!

Anonymous said...

I believe Flores has been mentioned many times as a possible candidate for first base ... ?

The Michael said...

A non Flores question... Has anyone ever brought food into the stadium? If so, what is the policy on that? Can I pack a soft cooler?

Jim in MD said...

The Michael,

I have brought food (sandwiches, fruit) into the park, but I'm not sure the policy toward beverages. I think water is OK, but other beverages might be confiscated at the gate.

Anonymous said...

Jim in MD:

Only if the gate is being manned by moon-lighting TSA agents.

BinM said...

Since the MLB season consists of 162 games, it fits the rythym of a single game;
That is 18 nine game segments. Here are my impressions of the Nationals through
the 'top of the 1st'.

- Starting pitching: A 2-3 W-L record over 50 1/3 IP, with a 2.0:1 K/W ratio,
a .244 BAA, a 1.33WHIP, and a 4.29ERA, with 3 quality starts. Solid, but not thrilling.

- Relief pitching: A 2-2 W-L in 33 1/3 IP, with 36 GA. Additionally, a 1.65:1 K/W ratio,
3 holds, 2 saves, 2 blown saves, a .231 BAA, 1.44 WHIP, 2.91 ERA. The game appearances
(GA) are stacking up quickly, and could lead to some overuse issues later in the season.

- Hitting: A .217/.321/.328 slash line overall; That's last in the NL
in both BA & SLG, but mid-league in OBP; 2nd in the NL in total sacrifices. In a word - horrid.

- Fielding: 14th in the NL in total chances, fewest DP's turned in the league, 13th in
overall Fielding Pct, but 2nd in CS% (3 of 7 runners nailed). Better than the hitting, but not by much.

Overall - 4-5 record to date. The pitching has been fairly solid, otherwise this team could easily be 2-7.
Score = 0-0 through the top of one.

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