Monday, May 14, 2007

6 Down, 3/4 To Go

Last week, I looked at this past week's schedule and thought that two wins would be a success. We outdid that by one, but it sure feels like we were better than that, doesn't it? Sweepee then Sweeper; it's the order that matters, at least for our psyche.

Nats Record: 3-3, our best week yet.
Overall: 12-25, 29/30 in baseball, .5 game ahead of the Royals.
Expected Record: 51-111. We picked up 7 "wins" versus expected simply by not having our brains beaten in every game.
Runs Scored: 24 (4/game); 118 overall (3.2/game), next-to-last in the NL (Thanks, Cardinals!)
Runs Allowed: 19 (3.2/game); 180 overall (4.9/ game), 14/16 in the NL.

If you're curious, if we take those first disastrous 9 games out of the equation (54 runs allowed), we've allowed 126 runs in 28 games, 4.5 runs per game, which would put us about 8th in the league. (Of course, if you took 9 terrible games out of every team...)

And if you're really, really curious, plugging that runs allowed total into the Pythagorean formula, (using our current runs/game offensive pace) gives us a record of 56-106, or to more directly compare, the same 12-25 record we have now. That seems funky to me, but we'll pretend it's a rounding error. ;)

What's Good?
1) A Little Bit Of Power! Through six weeks, the Nats have hit just 17 homers: a 79-homer pace. This week, they hit four of those, including two by Felipe Lopez. Throw in six doubles and a triple, and it was a (comparative!) orgy of extra-base hits.

2) GUZMANIA!1111! Wow, where did our old slap-hitting Guzman go? Even when he made outs this week, he was driving the ball. .333/ .385/ .417 isn't a bad start!

3) Starting Pitching! Simontacchi got cuffed around a bit -- Sunday, it was bloop after bloop in the sixth inning -- but other than him, the starters combined to allow 5 earned in 4 starts. And with our offense being what it is, starters went 1-1 despite this.

What's Bad?
1) Centerfield. A strength for so long with Church, it's a black hole of suck, with Logan and Langerhans combining for four hits -- all singles -- one walk and three double plays (all by Logan).

2) Tony Batista. Just 'cause.

3) Kory Casto. He looks increasingly overmatched. And he had only 1 AB this entire week. Why is he up? He can't learn to hit unless he gets regular playing time, and Acta seems intent on starting Robert Fick -- who in fairness had a pretty good week .364/ .462/ .455 -- every chance he gets. If Acta's not going to play Casto, he needs to go to the minors.

Game O' The Week
When one game has a stand-up inside-the-park homer AND a 9th-inning rally capped by a walkoff Grand Slam, it's gotta win, right? (What I love about the Slam video is the crowd reaction; there is none! A game-winning slam, and you can't hear a thing!)

Weekly Awards
MVP: Rumors of Brian Schneider's demise were greatly exaggerated. Sure, he's basically an opposite-field singles hitter now -- at least til opposing teams adjust -- but if you're batting .421 as he did, you can live with it!

Cy Young: Sure, Shawn Hill had 5 no-hit innings, but the hidden gem of the week was by Saul Rivera, who pitched in 5 of the 6 games this week without allowing a run. With 7 base runners allowed, he wasn't sharp, but in Cordero's absence, he stepped up.

LVP: I'd give it to .192-batting Felipe Lopez, but those two homers and two doubles make up for a lot of outs. In the absence of that, our cleanup hitter was terrible, driving in only two runs. Of course when Ryan Church bats .200/ .333/ .250 and loses a flyball in the sun, it's a rough week.

Joe Horgan Award: Bowie and Speigner weren't sharp. And he probably deserves better, but Jason Simontacchi didn't have a particularly great week with a 5.56 ERA. He did enough to win yesterday, though, despite some horrid defense. He also had the play of the game yesterday, in the Nats big inning. With 1 out, and Felipe Lopez batting, he slid HARD into second base, completely taking out Dan Uggla with an upright full-body slide, which prevented him from making the DP turn. Lopez was safe, got an RBI, and the inning continued for Cristian Guzman, who hit a 2-run triple. That small play was the difference in the game.

Weekly Whips:
5/7: Matt Chico finally had a quality start; it's not his fault that Dmitri Young left 6 runners on.
5/8: Felipe Lopez battled, hitting a homer and driving in two.
5/9: What does Jason Bergmann have to do to get a win? 6 innings and one run should do it. But with this team???
Yeah, it was only five innings, but Shawn Hill had five no-hit innings.
5/12: As the astute commenter put it, Ryan Zimmerman now leads the league in 9th-inning RBI against the Marlins. I'd take it a step further; I bet he's the career leader.
5/13: Praise Jesus! Every time that guy plays, he does something.

What's Ahead?
We've got 4 ahead with the Braves, including the much-awaited Bergmann/Smoltz rematch. We'll also see the return of Southeast Jerome Williams (hopefully he can improve on that 0-4, 6.11 ERA) and an emergency start by Levale Speigner, who has never pitched more than 3 innings. He's walked 12 batters in 14+ innings. Maybe that's why.

After that, the Bloworioles come to town, bringing their disease-laden fans to town. If you go next week, bring some baby wipes to sterilize your seat; who knows what kind of communicable disease you could catch.

Seven games? What's your best guess? 3-4 wouldn't be terrible, right?


  • i need to confirm this but i think sunday's game featured the first-ever all-Jesus battery! and on a sunday no less! no wonder we won!!!

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/14/2007 10:40 AM  

  • On What's Bad, Tony Battista: I'm an ex-Os fan. Every once in 10 years, a player comes along where you decide you just don't like his game. On Tony, I didn't like how he pudged up from a SS to a 3B with little range. Didn't like the strikeouts and abysmal OBA. No walks at all. And the batting stance guaranteed he was overmatched against most pitchers. Wasn't worth the occasional HR.

    Maybe he's changed some? Must be some reason he is up here?

    By Anonymous Ed, at 5/14/2007 11:06 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 5/14/2007 11:13 AM  

  • re: All-Jesus battery.

    Nope, Bill. It has happened at least once before in this 2007 season. It did make me chuckle and comment to my friend watching the game with me, though.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 5/14/2007 11:14 AM  

  • thanks bote. here's a follow up question. has it ever happened prior to this year's Nats? and, i still gotta think, happening on a sunday makes it all the more meaningful!

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/14/2007 11:26 AM  

  • If we can sweep Angelos' asses, I won't care if we lose 120!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/14/2007 11:53 AM  

  • If we can beat the Orioles, I'll be happy. Even if we lost every other game this season. Just to take 6 from the O's would be gravy.

    By Blogger PMW, at 5/14/2007 12:24 PM  

  • Hey Chris-who was it that wasn't covering the base during the (?) inning yesterday when a grounder was hit to Zim? Zim threw it to either FLop or Guzman but one of those two were totally not where they were supposed to be, on 2nd. Just curious. Also, i think some of the RFK crowd is getting well attuned to this team. After Fick dropped that easy pop, a few innings later a similar ball was hit to him and when he caught it, the crowd gave him an over exaggerated cheer. Pretty funny. I was at the game yesterday, just a beautiful day at the stadium, which we haven't had much of this year. It was nice leaving and not feeling depressed.

    By Anonymous NatsVA, at 5/14/2007 12:26 PM  

  • Lopez was at 2B for the routine 5-4-3 putout at first! ;)

    It was a gorgeous day. I'm glad i went -- the first win i've seen this year.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/14/2007 12:32 PM  

  • Interesting how Nats fans hate the Orioles. Ravens fans (I'm a season ticket holder) also hate the Redskins.

    In neither case is the hatred really returned in kind by fans on the other side.

    Just an observation.

    By Anonymous bdrube, at 5/14/2007 2:08 PM  

  • bdrube: Nats fans hate the O's because of Peter Angelo$ and all the things he has done to harm Washington baseball fans. If not for that, I'd probably look at this weekend's series as a friendly rivalry.

    Baltimore fans probably hate Angelo$ for all that he has done to harm them too.

    I love the Southeast Jerome Williams nickname, I'm going to have to steal it.

    By Blogger WFY, at 5/14/2007 5:09 PM  

  • That's OK. I stole it from someone else anyway.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/14/2007 5:14 PM  

  • If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I actually like Orioles fans. I hate the O's, but more specifically I hate AngelOs. But since most O's fans hate him too, we should be great friends. I'm even bringing one with me to the Tuesday night game against the Braves.

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 5/14/2007 5:31 PM  

  • Someone's finally on the GUZMANIA bandwagon. We hopped on it before the season started. There's alway room for more though

    By Anonymous Nationals Report, at 5/14/2007 6:04 PM  

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