Wednesday, July 20, 2005

That's More Like It

The Nationals 4-0 pasting of the lowly Rockies was the kind of result they should have had the previous night, and the kind of result we've been used to.

Unlike Monday's game, this game lacked as many huge mental and physical errors, but it still wasn't a crisp game, as the Nationals find ways to NOT score runs.

The Majority Whip was the starter, John Patterson. He had the best game of his season, pitching 8+ innings and giving up just three hits.

A day after the bullpen was shredded when Tony Armas couldn't get more than six outs, JP stepped up and kept most of the bullpen off the mound.

Patterson has pitched brilliantly all season long, but rarely makes it out of the seventh inning. He's the type of pitcher who puts maximum effort into every single pitch, and because of the high number of strikeouts, throws a lot of pitches per inning.

Contrast his very physical style with the laid-back tossings of Livan Hernandez. Even though they both throw a ton of pitches per inning, Livan paces himself better.

That's not to say that Patterson should relax; that's not his style. And there aren't many people like Livan who can get away with it.

But Patterson can be more economical. He has decent control, and frequently finds himself ahead in the count 0-2. Obviously, you don't want to lob a hittable strike on that count, but Patterson usually takes the opposite extreme. He'll throw two balls that really aren't that enticing.

Wasting pitches is ok, sometimes, but he needs to make a better effort to make them 'hittable' balls.

The team needed a strong outing from a starter and got it.

It's hard to say that a win against the Colorado Rockies was a big win, but it sure felt like it given the nosedive they've been on over the last three weeks.

With Livan on the mound tonight, they need to win their first series since playing the Cubs back before the Fourth of July.

  • The other news of the day was the benching of Cristian Guzman. Jamey Carroll slid into his spot, but Guzman came on the field late, playing the part of Carlos Baerga's legs, and serving as a defensive sub at short.

    Frank has said that he'll sit Guzman a few days, hoping he can get his head in order.

    Cristian should feel free to take all the time he needs. Say, how does three months sound?

  • Guzman wasn't the only change. Frank completely shifted the lineup around, and other than having Jamey Carroll lead off, it was actually a pretty good lineup.

    Frank has a fetish for alternating L/R/L in the batting order, which can create a few strange alignments.

    But the one he trotted out there, while not ideal, is actually capable of scoring runs in a major league game, even with Baerga!

  • Ryan Church had a poor day, hitting into two double plays. I don't think Church is as good as he's shown, but he's still a decent hitter -- one who comes cheaply!

    Still, with the team doing everything in their power to bury him on the bench, he's going to need to make the most of every chance he gets, and games like last night aren't going to instill much confidence in him from Frank.

  • I'm going to resist piling on Zach Day, who was brought in and got hammered. He pitched very well for the Nationals franchise, but most of those great outings came when he was with the Expos.

    He's an underrated pitcher by most Nationals fans, and deserves a pat on the back, not jeers.

  • Mike Stanton proved once again that he's not a lefty specialist. Everyone pointed to his splits this year, which were pretty extreme, but that ignores the previous 10 years of data, which contradict that.