Monday, July 31, 2006

Seventeen Down, Ten To Go

What started out so promising, three wins versus the Giants, making a 6-game winning streak, ended with a thud thanks to a sweep by the Dodgers. Crap's going to keep happening this season thanks to the inconsistent pitching. But better to take our lumps now, sorting out rotation and bullpen so that we know what we're working with next year. Wins and losses aren't going to matter so much, so just enjoy the games and the talent for what they are.

Today's the big day and by the time the Nats take the field Soriano, Livan, Ortiz and Armas could all be wearing different uniforms. This could be a very different team. Aren't you glad we have such a patient manager who understands how to work and develop younger players, letting them take their occasional lumps as part of the growing process?

Nats Record: 3-3
Overall: 46-59 (14/17)
Runs Scored: 27 (4.5/g); 482 overall (13/16, but only 8 runs out of 8th place)
Runs Allowed: 38 (6.3/g); 547 overall (15/16) Factor in the park and, wow.
Expected Record: 46-59. Hey, look at that! We've finally found our white whale! To bad it's a 71-win whale.

What's Good?
1) Batting Eyes. I wrote about their increased plate discipline the other day, and it continued this week. Nick Johnson led the way with 8 walks, but 5 other batters had 3 or more

2) New Orleans Relievers. I still can't get over Micah Bowie. He gave up one measly homer to Ray Durham (one of about 15 he hit this week), but other than that, nada. He pitched 5+ innings this week and has emerged as the setup guy this team has been looking for. I still expect him to crash hard, but then I expected Hector Carrasco to crash, too. Saul Rivera had two effective outings this week, too. Just when it looked like he was about to get rocked back to NO, he stepped it up. I wonder what kind of adjustments he had to make? Travis Hughes got the callup and saw just one inning. Only goggle-eyed Roy Corcoran got knocked around from the Z-Troop (6 runs in mopup duty).

3) Felipe Lopez' legs. It's nice to have a shortstop that hit a little, huh? Lopez stole 5 bases this week without being caught once. Nobody really talked much about his speed, but he's a 30-base kinda guy, even if he's not a tremendous basestealer. He simply gets caught too much. But, when you get on at a .350 clip like he does (and it was .440 for the week), you can overlook that!

What's Bad?
1) Starting, Starting, Starting. Consider: Ortiz at 5.84 was the Nats 2nd most effective starter. Mike O'Connor at 15.75 wasn't the worst. (That honor goes to Tony Armas' 18.00 ERA). Brutal.

2) Brian Schneider. Maybe I should just copy last week's entry? It's time for an MRI.

3) The bench. With as few ABs as they get (Frank really loves to run his starters into the ground!), they're going to have a bad week every now and then. Other than Ward (who else?), Matos, Fick, Jackson and Castro were pretty worthless, combining for just two hits.

Game O' The Week
Aren't you getting sick of these come-from-behind victories? Down one to the Giants on Tuesday, Armando Benitez did what he does best: Blow up. Robert Fick walked to lead off. Felipe Lopez ripped a single past the statuesque Ray Durham and Ryan Zimmerman smacked a single that tied the game. After Nick Johnson was IBBd, Austin Kearns hit a can of corn to left, which was deep enough to score Lopez, giving the Nats another win. Ho hum. ;)

That's been the amazing thing about this team. They've won probably what? 10 games or so in their last AB? You've got about a 1 in 4 chance of seeing a walkoff!

MVP Award
Ryan Church's line is a big FU to Bowden and Frank. .368/ .458/ .526. He led the team in hits and doubles. (7 and 3)

Cy Young Award
Pedro Astacio didn't get the win, and he certainly pitched better than his 6+ inning, 2 ER performance looks like (thanks to some crappy relieving by Mike Stanton). But he put the Nats into a position where they could've and should've won. That's better than the rest of the pitchers.

LVP Award
Always assume Brian Schneider. .176/ .176/ .176

Joe Horgan Award
Mike O'Connor's injured elbow wins this award. He didn't have the most ghastly ERA (Armas and Corcoran outduled him), but he wins for his tremendous K/BB ratio: 0/5.


  • It was a shame to see Soriano go 0 for 4 against the Dodgers yesterday in what many believe was his last game in a Nats uniform. Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was in the TV booth with Bob and Tom yesterday and had some really good things to say about the Nats. If only Bowden would follow his own mantra of pitching, pitching, pitching.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/31/2006 10:32 AM  

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