Friday, March 23, 2007

Fouled-Off Bunts: Cribbed From Barry Edition

WaPo beat writer Barry Svrulga said that he's going to keep doing Nationals Journal throughout the year. That's good news for Nats fans, and today's morning entry demonstrates why. It's full of nuggety (nougaty?) goodness that's too trivial for the dumbed-down $.35 paper, but is perfect for mainlining us junkies.

Quicky notes of things we learn:

--Jerome Williams is basically a lock
--Garrett Mock (the non-Chico) is still out with a crappy knee
--Irish Mike O'Connor'll start the year on the 60-day DL, so he won't be back before the ASB -- and Barry hints that his window might be closing completely.
--Supposedly former prospect Mike Hinckley is healthy and throwing well (to see the way he fell apart last year, I'd be his shoulder was bugging him).


--John Patterson's velocity is down. RED ALERT! RED ALERT!

I wrote a few days ago that I think he's hurt still, just based on the one start I saw and the command problems everyone wrote about last week. Now with the velocity stuff, I'm leaning even more in that direction (Warning: Analysis is from an asshat blogger sitting safely 1,000 miles away at his keyboard).

Given the velocity problems, it could be one of four things: 1) He's injured. 2) He's not completely healthy from last year. 3) He's just rusty 4) He's doesn't trust his arm.

We know that 4 is a good possibility. Patterson seems to be the fussiest pitcher I've seen. Remember how often he bitched about the mound in '05? Things seem to get in his head unless he's supremely comfortable. 3 makes sense, but it's the end of spring. That rust should've kicked off the fender when we hit that pothole three miles back. 2 is a strong possibility as well. Although his surgery was relatively minor, anytime they're cutting back muscle to dig out a nerve, it's going to take some time for the body to heal -- and given his Nick-Johnson-like injury history, well...

But 1? That worries me. A loss of velocity is sometimes (just sometimes) an elbow problem. There was speculation last year that his forearm problem was related to his elbow. (They go hand-in-hand) If a player is having UCL problems (as Patterson did when he had Tommy John surgery a few years back), velocity often drops. (Think of the UCL as the rubber band in a sling shot. When the band loses its stretchiness, it's hard to fire the rock into your hated neighbor's car window)

With a start today, he's going to need to show command and velocity. I wish it was on TV. That would tell us a lot.

  • Church gets actual praise after his last game and some batting tips from...

  • Mitchell Page, my hero, gets his own profile. In general, I don't think hitting coaches matter a whole lot, but Page really has a track record of improving hitters. Great, great, great hire.


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