Friday, April 04, 2008

Beautifully Ugly

Lots to like. Lots to hate. Here come some random thoughts.

  • Bergmann was really quite effective, despite his final line (owing quite a bit to some spectacularly bad relief pitching). At first, I thought his velocity was down, but I realized that was just the two-seamer he was working on. He dialed it up to his typical 93ish range occasionally, when he switched to the four-seamer.

    His bread and butter pitch, though, was the change, which had a ton of movement yesterday. I'm not sure that the Phillies made contact with it, as it dived down and away from all their left-handed batters. If his change continues to develop, he's got a chance, as he had pretty big splits against LHB through his career. It should also (although it's not as effective against RHB) allow him to cut down on the number of breaking pitches he throws, which should help save his arm a bit.

    Here's where earned runs and ERA can sometimes be screwy. When he left, there were runners on first and second with one out. Should he really be held accountable for that runner on first because the guy behind him couldn't do his job? Runner on first and one out, he shouldn't score. Seems like that run's as much as Saul's fault as anything. Anyway...

  • Manny didn't have his greatest game today. It was pretty clear that Saul had nothing. Sure, the bats let us know, but he had zero command of his pitches, and Flores was reaching for everything. Oh well.

  • To relieve Saul, Acta threw a giant rubber tire on the pile, letting it burn and stink up the park. In his two years as manager, Acta has continuously misused Ray King and it has continuously burned the team.

    Ray King should ONLY face left-handed batters. He cannot get right-handed pitching out, and he should not be used to turn switch-hitters around. Time and time again he fails.

    2007 against RHB: .311/ .407/ .568
    2007 Chase Utley: .333/ .410/ .566

    2007 against LHB: .187/ .284/ .347
    2007 Tony Pena Jr: .267/ .284/ .356

    Think about that. When he's facing a righty, the everage batter hits like Chase Utley -- the guy the Nats IBB'd twice yesterday.

    When he's facing a lefty, the average batter flails around like Tony Pena.

    Which would you rather have up with the game on the line?

  • Acta did do a beautiful job of spinning Chuck Manuel around in the 8th, getting the hard-throwing Madson out of the game, and getting his guy up (Lo Duca) up with the platoon split, all while wasting (if that's really a waste) Rob Mackowiak. You can tell that he thinks those situations through ahead of time. Remember how Frank always acted surprised when various things happened on the field that required a reaction? How many times did we wait 3 minutes for him to figure out which pinch-hitter to send up?

  • The number of seeing-eye singles in this game was ridiculous. Luck? Bad Defense? A little of both?

  • Felipe Lopez looked ok in LF. There were two semi-tough plays that he made fairly easily. And one that he probably should have made, but didn't. For his first game out there, not bad. He got pretty good reactions off the bat, moving first towards where he thought it was headed, then adjusting as he tracked it further.

  • Joel Hanrahan wasn't quite sharp, but he was effective. Burrell rocked him for a double to deep right-center, which Austin Kearns laid out for, but missed -- it would've been a jaw-dropping catch had he made it. With runners on 2/3, he bore down, getting out of the inning without allowing a run, thankfully.

  • Last year, the team IBB'd 44 batters. This game, they IBB'd four. (and all of them made sense to some degree)

    Though, IBBing with Colome in the 10th inning is a tough move, given his control problems. But he's also pretty ineffective against left-handed pitching.

    That's where I think Manny hurt himself. In the top of the 9th, they had just passed the pitcher's spot. With the way the bullpen had been used to that point, they needed someone who could go 2+ innings, and Colome has never been that guy. He did it last season occasionally, but mostly in a mopup-type role. He's terribly inefficient, throwing lots of pitches per inning, and he tires quickly, losing command once he gets much past thirty.

    I think the play, especially once it was clear he was losing it in the 10th, was to bring in Schroder. He's got a pretty good K pitch, and with a runner on third, that's what the Nats needed. Acta was saving him for later, which is reasonable. But had he been there in the first place, maybe it wouldn't have been a problem.

    Not a huge deal... and that's not the reason they lost, but it's curious.

  • 23 Comments:

    • I was encouraged by a lot of what I saw yesterday, particularly from Bergmann. He gave up six ground ball singles in a row- one of those should have ended up at someone, but his luck didn't hold. My concern has been that the rotation seems to be out-pitching the bullpen, which was supposed to be our strength. And, agreed, I don't think Colome was the right choice, or should even necessarily be on the team. When Hill comes back, send him down (though I don't know if he has options, so that might be a factor). Let's go with Schroder. Can't be much worse than four balls that were barely in the right zip code.

      By Anonymous the marshal, at 4/04/2008 9:31 AM  

    • I had a few questions about the game yesterday. I was kind of in and out so I might have missed something, but why pinch hit Willie Harris against Madson instead of Dmitri? Bases were loaded I believe and it seemed like the perfect time to hit him. Also, I don't know if it was at CP, but I read a stat that the Nats led the league in walks with the bases loaded last year, now we've got the early lead this year!

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2008 9:56 AM  

    • Dmitri wasn't available.

      The guy's too fat to pinch hit.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2008 9:57 AM  

    • I have to wonder if FLop could have gotten some of those seeing eye singles in the 6th that ended Bergmann's day. Belliard can't move to his left all that well.

      By Anonymous Sec 314, at 4/04/2008 10:03 AM  

    • Manny was playing with a 23-man roster without Meathook and Cordero. That sure doesn't help things. If both of these guys aren't going to play then we should get some live bodies soon.

      By Anonymous dan, at 4/04/2008 10:23 AM  

    • "The guy's too fat to pinch hit."

      Cheap shot. I seem to recall a pinch hit double from Dmitri in the 9th inning against the Phillies on Monday. Indeed that was a pinch double in his first appearance as a pinch hitter this season, and for all I know maybe ever. Perhaps you were off grabbing another beer then?

      Dmitri didn't pinch hit yesterday because he went to Manny right before the game and told him that his back was too stiff for him to play or even to bat.

      If you want to revise and extend your remarks to read "The guy's too fat to do anything but pinch hit" then I'll be with you all the way. But one thing about Dmitri. He may be fat, but the dude can hit.

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 4/04/2008 10:40 AM  

    • And why was his back too stiff for him to pinch hit yesterday?

      Too many calisthenics?

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2008 10:41 AM  

    • Come on, ABM. At least admit the line was a little funny!

      By Anonymous Jared, at 4/04/2008 11:13 AM  

    • "And why was his back too stiff for him to pinch hit yesterday?"

      Who knows? But he wasn't any fatter yesterday than he was when he got the pinch hit double on Monday, was he? Or do you have the body fat calipers on him on a daily basis? (Hey, that would give a whole new slant to the job of pinch hitter, wouldn't it?)

      And just to cut it off at the pass, I'd recommend you not include the sentence "Dmitri doesn't have the stomach for pinch hitting" in your snark quiver either. You'll just need to branch your creativity out in a different direction when it comes to Meat Hook snark. Are you up to the task?

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 4/04/2008 11:14 AM  

    • "Come on, ABM. At least admit the line was a little funny!"

      It wasn't unfunny, but I've come to expect a higher level of funniness from this blog. That line was not even close to the worst of Chris's "Lerners are cheap" shots. It's early in the season, he shouldn't be phoning it in just yet. (Of course, he'll counter by saying that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, so he doesn't want to shoot his whole wad already. Valid point, but I would counter by saying I'm not going to bust my gut so soon laughing at sub-par jokes either. The eternal stalemate...)

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 4/04/2008 11:21 AM  

    • C'mon, he can't always crack your funny bone. You have to accept a Lerners' curve in this case.

      By Blogger Bellylard, at 4/04/2008 11:59 AM  

    • Zimmerman's 0-6 game, leaving 7 runners stranded, was another big factor in the loss.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2008 12:49 PM  

    • To quote the great Homer (Simpson, of course): It's funny because it's true. Inside any valid attempt at humor there needs to be at least a small grain of truth. Maybe there is some small connection between Dmitri's girth and his ability to pinch hit, and maybe if Chris had been laying the groundwork for the joke over the past year (as he so painstakingly lays the groundwork for his Lerners-are-cheap comic asides) then maybe I would have perceived it as an attempt at humor and not the cheap shot I called it. But since Chris hasn't been doing that laying of the groundwork for the joke, I failed to see even the smallest grain of truth in there that would have been enough for me to take it as joke and not a cheap shot. And having had to devote this much analysis to it now, let me echo the immortal words of Terry Bradshaw to Frank Caliendo after nearly every one of his parodies on Fox's NFL show: NOT FUNNY!

      (What? You mean those haven't been jokes, and Chris really does think the Lerners are cheap?)

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 4/04/2008 12:56 PM  

    • Sometimes, Acta does confuse me a bit. I understand he hates to give up outs, but still... why didn't he bunt with Lopez at the plate in the 8th? It worked out anyway, but that seemed like a no-brainer bunt situation to me.

      I didn't watch the game, just tracked it online. Did he try to bunt the first pitch and miss? Or was he swinging all the way? Hmmmm.

      By Blogger Natsfan74, at 4/04/2008 1:33 PM  

    • I'm certainly not going to blame the loss on umpiring, but I have to say that guy yesterday was one of the absolute worst ball-and-strike callers I've seen in quite some time.

      Totally inconsistent throughout the game, and a few of those outside corner strikes were so far outside, I don't think even Maddux and Glavine in their prime would have gotten them with an average umpire.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2008 1:47 PM  

    • WOW. So, ABM, you starting a new blog called Captial Punishment's Punishment?

      "Phone it in?"

      Take a step back, and in the imortal words of Seargent Hulka, "Lighten up Francis."

      By Blogger Ray, at 4/04/2008 1:55 PM  

    • I was thinking the same thing about putting in Chris Schroder for the K.

      The unavailability of Young and Cordero due to their "day-to-day" injuries really hurt us more than anything.

      By Anonymous King, at 4/04/2008 2:16 PM  

    • Is it just me or does it seem that our bullpen really lacks a long reliever capable of eating innings? I feel like the case of relievers we have now are all really one inning guys, which is forcing Manny to deploy a LOT of pitchers to get through the games. I can't help but think that we really need to either trade for or promote someone who can give us 2-3 innings of long relief rather than trying to put something together with 6-7 pitchers every game.

      By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 4/04/2008 2:26 PM  

    • That's what Schroder can do.

      Some of the relievers can do it, too. Rivera usually can, but he just had an off night. It happens.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2008 2:27 PM  

    • Regarding Ray King:

      He's a LOOGY. Leaving him in to face more than one batter is asking for trouble. Starters start, closers close, and Lefty One-Out GuYs come in and get one left-handed batter out.

      End of story.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2008 2:30 PM  

    • Chris,
      Are you going to do the live chat again at game time tonight? That was quite enjoyable the first time around.

      By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 4/04/2008 4:20 PM  

    • Yeah, do the live chat... I've only got Gameday to watch, so the chat really helps.

      By Anonymous Gus, at 4/04/2008 6:36 PM  

    • By Blogger Sneakers hobbies, at 10/28/2009 9:54 AM  

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