Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fouled-Off Bunts: Do-Over Edition

  • The rainout probably benefited the Nationals for the short term. Ryan Drese was in the process of getting knocked around in the first when the delay came.

    Drese's arm angle was down around 2:30, which creates a flat sinker. And flat sinkers travel a long way.

    Think about the motion of the pitch. A sinker travels down with a slight motion away from left-handed batters.

    When you throw overhand, the action on the pitch is accentuated.

    But when you throw sidearm, as Drese tends to do, the arm comes across at the wrong angle to get the proper downward movement on the pitch. The spin of the ball, instead of creating downward movement, is negated as the majority of the force is applied in a sideways direction -- creating a flat, spinning sinker. Essentially, he's hanging every pitch.

  • Everyone is noticing that Guzman still stinks.

    But this time, the focus is on his defense.

    He's made six errors in his last eight games. But that also shows the folly of relying on errors. There've been a number of balls (especially all those damn popups) that he's simply missed without being charged an error.

    His range is average, at best, and he ranks near the bottom of the league in most every defensive assessment.

    Flash through the games in your mind and think of the number of balls that have just eluded him through the hole. Or think of the number of throws he's whipped into the dirt, only to be saved by a great pick by the first baseman.

    Some of it's confidence, undoubtedly.

  • But it also shows a rift in the team's thinking. While Frank writes his name on the lineup on a daily basis, he's also been complaining lately about how he doesn't have the right personnel on the roster.

    Jamey Carroll would be the obvious alternative (even if he's probably the second or third worst offensive player in the league), but Frank is reluctant to play him because he doesn't think that Guzman could fill the utility role.

    Well, call up a utility player! Short, Harris, whoever.

    Instead Bodes calls up another outfielder. And Frank has made it pretty clear that he's not that interested in playing Brandon Watson. With Guillen, Wilkerson, Wilson and Church, why would he?

    If Frank is trying to send a message, which I suspect he is, he needs to be more clear. The GM and Manager don't appear to be working on the same page. To the detriment of the team, of course.

  • Attendance is exceeding expectations. They're on pace for 2.7 million. The goal was 2.4 million. There's a chance that could climb even higher if September continues to be interesting.

    Of note, despite the high level of no-shows, DC is reporting that tax receipts are 8% higher. I guess we like our beer!

  • Some of the players remember their battle for the Wild Card in 2003.

    "It was such a tough year as far as the fatigue and the travel that we went through," outfielder Brad Wilkerson said. "I was proud to be associated with that team, how hard we battled. We just ran out of gas I think."

    It's amazing what having one home park can do to a guy, huh?

  • Up again, down again, up again, down again Matt Cepicky had his season end when he ripped up his knee. That's a shame, because he could've been a useful bat in Septemeber.

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