Monday, June 04, 2007

9 Down, So Many More To Go

It's amazing what a difference playing quality teams means, huh? They exploit our weaknesses -- bad defense, shaky starting pitching, powerless bats -- and ran roughshod all o'er us. I like that we play hard. We just don't have the talent to consistently compete with good MLB teams. Let's hope that changes!

Nats Record: 2-4
Overall: 22-34, 15/16 in the NL; a 65-97 pace
Expected Record: 61-101, a drop of three wins since last week.
Runs Scored: 21 (3.5/g); 212 overall, last in the NL
Runs Allowed: 40 (6.7/g); 281 overall, 12th in the NL

What's Good?
1) The Setup Guys! Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Saul Rivera and let's throw in Billy Traber combined for 10.2 shutout IP. Cordero's clearly back. And Rauch's innings weren't pretty, but he got the job done.

2) Trade Bait! Ron Belliard slugged .909!?! and had 7 hits. Dmitri Young had his third straight week of out-of-his-gourd hitting, with a .583 average and a team-leading 6 RBI. Trade them!!!!

3) Guzmania!!! Sure, he plays defense like a wounded wildebeest, but he batted .433 for the week. What's not to love about that? Don't look now, but he's the fifth best offensive SS in the league.

What's Bad?
1) 40% of our Rotation. Speigner? Yuck. Simontacchi? Yuck. Maybe there's a reason that the Twins let the former go, and that the latter was pitching in Italy.

2) Teh Nook! Another bad week, with at least two defensive misplays. .174/.174/.261 isn't going to get it done, even if he fielded like the Flash.

3) Winston Abreu. He's maddening to watch. Either he's light's out, zipping strikes in there and making batters look foolish, or he's getting lit up like umm... something that lights up really brightly.

Game O' The Week
We beat Jake Peavy? Seriously? Again? What are the odds! We've hung an L on Smoltz twice this year, too.

Weekly Awards
MVP: Dmitri Young wins it for the third straight week. You've seen about as hot a three-week stretch as any batter can have, and he's done it with singles and doubles.

Cy Young: Cordero and Rauch are deserving, but we'll give the nod to Saul Rivera for his 4 appearances, our everyday pitcher.

LVP: Nook stunk, but Felipe Lopez wasn't far behind. What do you do when your leadoff guy doesn't hit for average, talk walks, or hit for power? (Answer: You lost a lot of games) .212/ .270/ .242

Joe Horgan Award: Levale is in the running to have the award re-named.

Weekly Whips
5/29: Nobody deserves it in a stinker, so why not Lopez. He had two hits, at least.
5/30: Back-to-Back Stinkers, but we saw some signs of Guzmania!!!
5/31: Sure, Young had 4 hits and Zimmerman had 4 RBI, but Guzman's three hits and three runs scored were just as important.
6/1: When the year began, I didn't even envision a scenario where I'd give Dmitri Young a standing ovation.
6/2: Dmitri's homer made it interesting for a few minutes.
6/3: Zimmerman's homer feels like it should count for more than 2.

What's Ahead?
We've got three games left on the homestand, and it's a much less tougher opponent than our last. Still, this is a better Pirates team than the ones of the last few years. We're going to need to take 2, otherwise we'll be facing a long slump when we head to Minnesota to get our butts handed back to us.

Johann Santana is tougher on righties than lefties because of his changeups, but I still don't like the idea of facing him. What odds would you give that we'll see a no-hitter?

I just hope they take sympathy on us and let us face Ramon Ortiz for a few innings.


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