Monday, May 07, 2007

Progress

I'm sick of moral victories, but let's hope that tonight's 3-nil loss was a step forward for young Matt Chico. Three of his last five outings have been passable, and this one was easily the best of his short career. He threw seven innings, and gave up three runs -- a quality start. But what was impressive about it was the quality of his pitches.

He actually had control tonight. He was able to get his pitches -- especially his breaking balls -- into the zone fairly consistently. Of his 93 pitches, 68 were strikes. He had been throwing just 55% strikes, so this is a pretty big step. Not only did he walk just one batter, but he also struck out five, meaning he was finally missing some bats.

Unfortunately, the one he didn't miss -- Geoff Jenkins' -- was the one that cost him any chance of, well, a tie!

I'll be looking forward to his next start to see if he can consolidate his progress, to see if something clicked -- be it mechanical or mental -- and he can continue to pound the zone. I'm not sold on his fastball, but his breaking pitches are of a high enough quality that, if he's throwing strikes, he can survive in the back end of a pitching staff -- especially on this woeful feckin' team!

The other story of the game is the offense, or the lack thereof. That's going to continue to be a problem all year, especially when this team faces left-handed pitchers -- especially quality ones that pound the zone as Swallow Capuano did. 8+ shutout innings and nine strikeouts. Tis just another easy day for the opposing pitcher.

This team really needs to just give up against lefties. Unless Zimmerman and Kearns -- the lone solid righty bats in the lineup -- reach new heights, the porthandedness of this team is going to sink the ship. It's telling that they had 5 of the team's 7 hits.

Dmitri Young continues his long slide into DFA land, with an 0-4 and a ghastly 6 left on base.

Nook Logan appeared in the game, and other than him almost killing Austin Kearns early in the game, does anyone remember seeing him?

Cristian Guzman returned, hacked at some pitches, tapped some weakly, and got a hit. He's somewhat intriguing to me in that with his eye surgery and with the apparent change in his hitting philosophy -- watch how he waits, keeps the hands back, and drives the ball from a strong base, instead of lunging at it -- I think he could be a passable shortstop. That's not to say that he's going to be an asset.

But if the choices are Ronnie Belliard at 2B hitting the way he's been hitting with Felipe Lopez "playing" shortstop and the potential for Guzman to hit .260/ .300/ .370 while playing average short, I'll take the second scenario more often than not.

It's not that Guzman's the kind of player who can drive a team to a pennant. But just the same, if he's doing that, he's also not crippling the team's pennant chances either. We've got about 22 other players on the roster who are managing that just fine on their own.

7 Comments:

  • Ah Guzman's biggest supporter...apathy. Can we at least complain about him batting 2nd? Please?

    By Blogger Harper, at 5/08/2007 9:58 AM  

  • chris - great post. i was really happy to see chico throwing strikes last nite. i had been advocating sending him down b/c he just couldn't seem to find the strike zone or go deeper than 4 1/3 innings. last nite, 7 innings, MUCH better b/s ratio.

    hell, on this team, why not keep him in there UNLESS (and this is important) he starts to get shell-shocked. along those lines, i am eagerly awaiting the "jason simontacchi" experience...

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/08/2007 10:00 AM  

  • harper, i agree but, unbelieveably, it could be worse. how? casto or logan could be hitting second.

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/08/2007 10:01 AM  

  • oh chris, a little help is needed. DFA? i know DNP from NBA box scores, assuming it's somewhat similar.

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/08/2007 10:03 AM  

  • Any chance of playing in the Moral Victory playoffs this year?

    By Blogger Rocket1124, at 5/08/2007 10:08 AM  

  • From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    DFA: Designated For Assignment.

    When a player is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from the club's 40-man roster. This gives the club 10 days to decide what to do with the player while freeing up a roster spot for another transaction.

    The club must make one of the following contractual moves.

    1) Place the player on waivers
    2) Trade the player
    3) Release the player

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Designated_for_assignment

    By Anonymous BrianH, at 5/08/2007 10:17 AM  

  • DFA young? why not. let's try broadway. this season's in the dumper anyway. after all, if casto is considered a "prospect" in this organization (despite avg hitting and below avg fielding prospects), broadway should be too, even though he's shown nothing to date in spring training or even in AAA.0

    after all, you never know, right? "you never know" should be the nats motto. along those lines, and to pat myself on the back, i previously referred to speigner as a prospect (remember, he's at the same 25 yr old mark that seems to separate "prospects" from "never wills") and got chided here. so far, he has the best BAA on the team! no, i'm not going to look at inherited runners scored, however!

    By Blogger Bill, at 5/08/2007 10:44 AM  

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