Thursday, September 29, 2005

Purely Offensive

So on the day that I post about the team's lack of offense killing them in the second half, they go out and light up the scoreboard again in an 11-7 win over the already reeled-in Marlins.

With the win, the Nationals clinch something that was on the border of unthinkable at the beginning of the year -- a .500 record. With just one win in the final three games with the Phillies, the Nats will have won more than they've lost.

The Nationals, for once, had production from the middle of the order. Their 2-5 hitters combined for nine hits, six runs, and nine RBI. It's hard not to when when your big boys (and yes, calling Carroll a big boy is a bit of a stretch!) are hammering the ball like that.

Preston Wilson, the Majority Whip winner, did most of the hammering, ripping a double and a homer, while driving in five. Frank Robinson has been penciling his name in the lineup because he wants Preston to get the magical 90 RBI mark. (Because I know I recall with fond memory all those great 90-RBI sluggers of the past like Bobby Veach and Jesse Barfield)

So instead of evaluting players who'll actually be around next year like Marlon Byrd or Ryan Church, he's showing loyalty to someone not involved in the future of this club. That's Frank for ya. Preston's a veteran and all...

  • Dutch Zimmerman, who turned 21 yesterday, ripped two more hits. And more importantly, he earned his first walk. Obviously I'd like to see more walks from him, but he's far from an undisciplined hitter.

    Within his at bats, he clearly has an approach. He waits for his pitch, letting some strikes pass through the zone. He doesn't swing at everything he sees or from his heels like a certain slumping cleanup hitter. He simply looks for his pitch, then, when he gets it, he uncoils and drives it, usually to the gap. In just a handful of games, he's ripped 9 doubles. Doubles usually are a portent of future homers. Brian Roberts, for example, lit up the league with doubles last year. As he matured as a hitter this season, those doubles started finding their way over the wall. All is good with Zimmerman!

  • Esteban Loaiza pitched poorly, but the offense bailed him out for once. He's rarely won us a game, but he's always kept us in them. He finishes the season at 12-10, but that doesn't describe how meaningful his pitching performances have been.

    I'm not entirely convinced that we should bring him back next season, but if they don't, they need a league-average innings eater. Loaiza shows you how valuable they can be.


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