Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quick Thoughts On A Meaningless Game

This is the first time that I've really been able to see the team since that initial Patterson game about 13 weeks ago. Just some thoughts...

  • Cristian Guzman is a different player. They've really broken down his swing. In '05, he hit completely with his hands, slapping at the ball with a little hitch as he lunged forward. In his first AB, he stayed back, kept his hands inside and swung with a strong base. That's a really good sign.

  • Zimmerman looks like he's put on about 5-10 pounds (hopefully of muscle!). His AB was encouraging. With a runner on third, he fought off a few tough fastballs before finding one away that he could drive to the wall.

    With the understanding that knocking in a run is ALWAYS a good thing, it worries me a bit that he might press a bit in those situations, feeling that he has to do anything he can to knock that run in given how little offensive talent around him. Productive outs are an important part of winning individual games, but making them in the first place shouldn't be the goal. We're still going to need him to get on base and get hits.

  • Jerome Williams has an excellent changeup. It's got a lot of movement, and the batters seem to be really fooled by it. The fastball seems so-so, but he's able to keep him off balance with the change and a sloppy looking breaking pitch. It's hard to tell what he's throwing, but it looks like he's alternating between a slider that spins up and down more than left to right. His curve follows the same movement, just a bit slower and with a bigger break.

  • Although they didn't show a clear play, Dmitri Young probably should've been able to knock down Williams' pickoff throw. Austin Kearns bailed him out with a strike to third.

  • They sent Young? Wha? I thought we got rid of Tony Beasley! Nobody out, I don't understand it. I bet Manny Acta, who hates to give up outs, gives him a talkin' to.

  • Zimmerman can field, can't he? That swinging bunt was a terrific play. Earlier, he made a great throw when he nabbed a grounder while running into foul territory. When I saw the play live, I assumed he was hugging the line, but on the replay, you could see that he took three or four quick steps, reading the ball perfectly. It wasn't great positioning; it was great reaction.

  • Felipe Lopez is less than worthless against lefties, and now he has a walk and a poke up the middle against a lefty who's having a pretty good spring so far. Much is made of Logan's switch-hitting problems, but we never hear about FLop's.

  • Dmitri Young really has stone hands. Nick Johnson was pretty brutal there last year, but Young is going to be a disaster. At least it's not FLop scatter-shotting them from short!

  • Another hit for FLop. What's impressive about it was the patience. He waited back and just flipped a shot into right-center, the perfect approach with his struggles against lefties. Lopez has talked about how he changed his approach with the Nats last year, realizing that he needed to cut back on his swing because of the size of the park. He didn't hit for power, but he got on base at a great rate. Perhaps he's learning to do the same thing with lefties?

  • Got down this far? Sucker! Go read this now.

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