posted by Chris Needham at
Was last year's 2nd-half improvement just players eyeing contract negotiations? I hope not. I want to believe most of our team is upset with this year's performance.
By Anonymous, at 4/18/2008 9:06 AM
Not that I don't think Lenny is a bonehead and not that I don't think the Nationals offense is putrid, but what appreciable difference do you think would materialize by bringing in a new hitting coach? I tend to think of the hitting coach as having only slightly more affect on a team than the bullpen coach, maybe less, since he can't screw up who's supposed to be warming up before the ninth inning (not that that could ever happen). Has there ever been a statistical analysis of offense performance following a hitting coach change? I can't imagine there would be a huge spike, unless it's just a mental/emotional thing (see last year after bringing in Lenny Harris, who you obviously think isn't that great of a hitting coach).
By Noisewhiz, at 4/18/2008 9:28 AM
I can't wait till Lenny Harris comes after you. Peppering baseballs at you over and over until you outsmart him by moving over to his "pull" side.
By Harper, at 4/18/2008 9:29 AM
I really don't think there's much of a difference between hitting coaches, or pitching coaches, really. Except at the extremes.No, I don't have any data to back it up, but I can't SEE with my eyes any evidence that he's a good hitting coach. Just WATCH the games, and see the TERRIBLE approach that EVERY batter takes at the plate.Kearns, Lopez, Zimmerman -- younger hitters still in their prime -- have all regressed under his watch. No, the first two might not be all-star talents, but they've gotten appreciably worse than their track records prior to Harris.The only players who are hitting -- Johnson, Milledge and Guzman -- are the ones who've worked with him the least either because of a trade or because of their injuries.
By Chris Needham, at 4/18/2008 9:32 AM
As I said yesterday, low batting averages at this point in the season don't bother me too much. But, I hate the team approach at the plate. Teaching a guy to go the opposite way is fine. Teaching a team that everyone has to continuously look to go the opposite way is awful. Zimmerman has regressed every year, as his coaching overrides his natural talent. Kearns should be crushing balls to left, not hitting dribblers to right. The caveat to this is Wily Mo. He was a dead pull hitter, who needed to make adjustments to be more than a batting practice novelty act. I have no problems working with him, making him try to hit opposite field more. But, that shouldn't be a team strategy.
By Natsfan74, at 4/18/2008 9:50 AM
Well said.You can't look to pull all the time, of course. That's why that last AB by Zimmerman was encouraging. He went with the pitch, but he went HARD after it, driving it up the middle.You get something soft or away, you don't poke it to right, you hammer the shit out of it up through the box!Cutting down on swings and going the other way is fine with two strikes, but they're starting out each AB looking that way!
By Chris Needham, at 4/18/2008 9:54 AM
Don't just fire Harris as hitting coach. Dump Mackowiak (if for no other reason than his name is a bitch to spell) and sign Lenny Harris to a contract as the team's #1 pinch hitter. Just firing the guy would be cruel. Instead, put him into a position where he has had success in the past and is likely to succeed again. At the very least, he'd have to be better than No-Hit Mackowiak!
By An Briosca Mor, at 4/18/2008 10:02 AM
You forgot the "...in Columbus!" part.
By Chris Needham, at 4/18/2008 10:05 AM
Did anybody else hear Don Sutton call guy in the Stands the Dali Llama, because he was Asian? It is really agrivating watching this damn team.
By The BigC, at 4/18/2008 10:08 AM
Maybe we could convince his Holiness to stay and bat cleanup for a little while.....
By Rob B, at 4/18/2008 11:45 AM
Well-deserved kudos from Fisher
By Let Teddy win the presidents race., at 4/18/2008 12:26 PM
Damn, Chris. How'd you get that kind of recognition??Small, un-marked bills???
By Rob B, at 4/18/2008 12:32 PM
Last year proved one thing.April counts.I hated all that "If the season started on May 15, the Nat's would be .500" nonsense.It is fairly pointless to blow these games. If they don't start winning now, by the July, the Nats should be selling what talent they think they can market - and start over.It's just like watching a track meet...if you stumble out of the gate, you don't get the chance to catch up.And Sutton needs to stop saying "Gettie up" all the time.
By Ray, at 4/18/2008 3:28 PM
But "it's still early"!!!111!!!
By Anonymous, at 4/18/2008 6:08 PM
I think it's "gitty up."
By Anonymous, at 4/18/2008 9:58 PM
Chris, a lot of Manny's in-game decisions have been pretty questionable. I understand he's been dealt some shitty cards by the FO, but there's still a lot of moves that don't make much sense. Why did he replace Harris with Milledge?Harris should be used as sparingly as possible. Taking out our (arguably) best player of the season so far is moronic, especially replacing him with Willie "Career .244 batter" Harris is even more daft. If it's a defensive substitution, then Harris would be much more useful taking Wily Mo's spot in left (after all, Harris is naturally a left fielder).It could have been a man on first and third with two out in the ninth and Milledge coming to the plate instead of Rob "Statistically the worst player in baseball" Mackowiak.Also, why did Manny bat Mackowiak instead of Boone or Belliard? Mackowiak has been absolutely atrocious so far this season. I'd have taken my chances with the other two guys.In the end, it didn't make any difference, but if I were Manny I would be doing my damnedest to ensure a win.
By Will, at 4/18/2008 10:14 PM
Harris was in to bunt. It didn't work, but that's the only thing he does well. It's an ok move.He wasn't going to stick in, but once they churned through the lineup there, it was a natural double-switch opportunity with Milledge -- who's been shaky at times -- making the last out.Circumstances of the game made it a reasonable option.Mackowiak had the platoon advantage there, and he's not as bad as he's shown. He hit the ball hard, it just didn't fall in.
By Chris Needham, at 4/18/2008 10:28 PM
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Bitter rantings by a sometimes-analytical fanboy who loves the Washington Nationals, even though you probably can't tell 3/4 of the time.