Sunday, September 25, 2005

Duck, Duck, Duck...Goose?

Three losses means three Lame Ducks.

Sunday:
John Patterson shouldn't be shut down, but he needs to be taken out of the four-man rotation.

Why are we still in a four-man rotation anyway? The quest for .500 is definitely not more important than the health of our pitchers. What's the harm with starting Darrell Rasner another game? Let's see what he can do, and whether there's any chance that he'd be remotely useful to the major-league club next season.

Patterson earns a tough-luck Lame Duck. He went just six innings, coughing up four runs, thanks to two homers allowed.

One of the strengths of Patterson has been his ability to limit homers. Entering today's game, he had allowed just 15 in over 187 IP.

Since the team went to a two-man, though, homers have been flying out of the park. As a result, three of his last four starts have been poor.

Part of that is probably fatigue. Patterson is pushing 200 IP, a number he hasn't approached (His previous season high was just 98). So, not only is he pushing a career high in IP, he's being used in more games than normal.

That's not a good combo.
___
The team did well to rally from an early hole, but the holes in the bullpen once again turned a late lead into a late loss. It's hard to get into an uproar though.

Ryan Zimmerman took a painful 0-5 after being thrust into the cleanup role. Too much too soon?

Saturday:
Take away the first inning, and you had a good ballgame.

Unfortunately, for Livan and the Nats, you can't do that.

Livan's performance, too, has fallen off the cliff since the shift to the four-man, having allowed four or five runs in his last four starts.

Even the big guy can probably have problems with fatigue. And the knee problems that plagued him earlier this season couldn't have healed -- no matter how much gooey frosting they've drained from his knee.

Friday:
What a dreadful game, despite Carlos Baerga's heroics.

Check off the list:
Bad hitting: Jose Guillen, wins a Lame Duck, for his 0-5 with five men left on. Time and time again he came up. And time and time again he failed.

It really seems like he just puts too much damn pressure on himself. It seems like he did better when he was a complimentary player and played a role. Last year, he played on Vlad's team, and I'm sure he knew it. On his own, where he's regarded as the team's leader, he doesn't seem like he can handle it.

Let's hope that it's just a one-year slump -- sample size issues and all that. Because if he doesn't improve with runners on base, or in clutch situations next season, the team is in trouble.

Bad Baserunning: Witness Nick Johnson. That's about the 80 billionth time that NJ has been thrown out on the bases. Does he think he's fast? News flash, Nick. You're not.

Bad Managing:
Time to trot out the ol' WTF Frank Senior Moments.

Right after Baerga tied the game in the 9th, the pitcher's spot was due up. Who came to the plate? Gary Majewski. Why, God, Why?!?

Here's his thought process, I'm assuming... Two outs, we're not gonna score anyway. Majewski's my best reliever, I'm leaving him in.

I can understand leaving a reliever in if you have the lead, but c'mon! It's not like there weren't PHing possibilities. And there were relievers out the wazzoo.

Let's say that he send up Marlon Byrd to PH. He's got what? a 31% chance of getting on? If he gets on, you have Brad Wilkerson, with the platoon advantage, needing just a double to win!

It's a small chance, but Frank played that not to lose.

Of course, when Majewski came out in the 10th, Gary foiled Frank's plans. (Majewski was delayed before coming out to hit in the 9th, did he go to the clubhouse, thinking he was out of the game? If so, was he mentally prepared to head back out there?)

___

Combine all three, and that's pretty much the same bitter recipe the Nats have been serving up during the second half.

I liked it better when I was drinking the Kool Aid.

5 Comments:

  • Great point re the four man rotation. It should be scrapped immediately; maybe in the process we'll find another Carrasco!

    By Blogger Leiv & Erik, at 9/26/2005 7:59 AM  

  • Unless I completely missed it, the Nats didn't have anyone up in the bullpen in the 9th inning of Friday night's game. So from where I sat, Majewski had to hit for himself because no one in the dugout considered the possibility of tying the game. Not sure what they'd have done if Byrd had gone up and gotten a game-tying hit.

    By Blogger Carl, at 9/26/2005 8:39 AM  

  • Byrd's would've been the game-winner, so it wouldn't have mattered much.

    But the fact that they didn't have anyone warming is, in itself, an indictment.

    Even if Baerga doesn't tie the game up there, he's got a decent shot to get on base. He certainly wouldn't let Majewski hit for himself there.

    At least I'd hope not -- but you never really know! :)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/26/2005 8:41 AM  

  • "Byrd's would've been the game-winner"

    If he hits a home run, sure. But how about: Baerga singles, they put in Kelly or somebody to run for him, Byrd doubles into the corner scoring two. Wilk strikes out. Tie game! Who pitches?

    By Blogger Carl, at 9/26/2005 10:32 AM  

  • There were a bunch of pitchers in the pen that he could've used. Stanton, Rauch, Hughes, etc. (And that's before getting to Halama or Rasner.)

    If Baerga had singled, there would've been time to warm someone up. That someone wasn't already warming up anyway is pretty sad.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/26/2005 10:34 AM  

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