Monday, April 14, 2008

The Way We Was: Week 2

This is rock bottom right? Like last year, it has to get better.

Look at the team's batting stats. Only Nick Johnson and Lastings Milledge are doing about what we expected. Guzman is exceeding expectations, but other than those three, every other batter is stinking up the park to some degree. One of these days, one or more of them is going to hit. Water, as the ol' cliche goes, finds its level, and right now we're at about 19,999 leagues.

But a win is a win, and while a 9th win in a row is certainly sweet, one ending a 9-game losing streak tastes pretty good too. (Just be prepared for the heartburn later)

  • STATS
    Record: 1-5
    Overall: 4-9
    Offense: .216/ .315/ .330, 3.5 runs per game.
    Most similar batter to the team's offense: '07 Omar Vizquel
    Pitching: .295/ .366/ .518, 5.67 ERA
    Most similar batter to the team's pitching: '07 Aaron Rowand

  • WHAT'S GOOD?

    1) Cristian Guzman! (.400/.407/ .720) Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it possible. For, with a 3-ball count -- a rarity with Mr. Guzman itself -- the professional hitter took a fourth ball! And lo! He hath walked! Onward trudged the nimble batter taking his rightful base. And thus endeth the streak.

    Finally, his batting average is lower than his on-base percentage, right where it should be. He had a bit of a power stroke this week, whipping the bat through the zone and driving it down the lines. Good for him. The more he turns on those pitches, the harder he'll hit the ball, instead of playing pepper as he has in the past. Just hit the ball hard, and good things happen!

    2) Matt Chico! (8 innings, 1 run) Had I not seen it with my... Oh, I used that one already. What an outing! Just when it looked like Bowden was going to drive the ball-throwing lefty to Columbus, he whipped out this one, which when combined with Bergmann's chokejob, has stayed his execution.

    Chico has now walked just 4 batters in about 20 innings, a dramatic improvement. I'm not completely sold that he has firm command of those pitches, but the accompanying 12 K isn't a terrible total. Better yet, he's just allowed 2 homers, which was his typical total every four innings last year.

    Better control. Fewer homers. Passable K-rate. Might he **gasp** be turning a corner? The next few starts'll let us know!

    3) Lastings Milledge! (.364/ .400/ .500) Ryan Church, who? OK, so he's been a bit shaky in the field from time to time, but I'm not sure that 2 weeks is enough time to get a strong reading one way or another. He's not Nook Logan with the glove, but neither is he with the bat!

    He looked like he was too aggressive early in the season, but he's settled in to a more patient approach, and the results have come. What'd you think of his baserunning decision yesterday? Seems like that's a realllly smart play, if poorly executed. He didn't get a good jump off Chipper's throw, which cost him half a step, and the out. (even if the ump is blind!)

  • WHAT'S BAD?

    1) Ryan Zimmerman (.136/ .231/ .182). Not all strikes are good strikes to hit dammit!

    2) Austin Kearns' contact ability (.167/ .375/ .167). I love the batting eye, but, man, he's got less power than Tim Redding. What is it? Just a slump? Doesn't seem that way, cause I can't think of too many plays where he's been robbed (as there were early last year when he started similarly cold). I still have faith, but those stones sure look like they'd make good bread.

    3) Jason Bergmann (14.14 ERA). I've obtained this secret training footage of Bergmann tossing between starts.

  • TOP PLAYS
    (again measured by WPA, which is the % change to the team's chances of winning the game)

    Best:
    +23%, 4/13: Brian McCann's fly to right with the bases loaded in the 9th inning, which ended the game and the losing streak!
    +16%, 4/10: Nick Johnson's booming double in the 9th inning, which put him (the tying run) in scoring position in what looked like a sure Nats comeback (HA!)
    +11%, 4/10: Ron Belliard's homer down the line early in that game. (It's a rough week when your 3rd best play is a 3rd-inning solo homer!)

    Worst:
    -34%, 4/10: Paul LoDuca's game-ending GIDP, off the Marlins closer, and with the tying run on second.
    -23%, 4/7: Hanley Ramirez' big three-run bomb off Tim Redding, in an inning he should've been out of, but wasn't, thanks to a hit by the opposing SP
    -19%, 4/7: Amezaga's two-run double a few batters earlier. With first base open, Redding made a mistake, and the team paid.

  • AWARDS
    MVP: Cristian Guzman
    Cy Young: Matt Chico
    LVP: Ryan Zimmerman
    Joe Horgan: Rauch was ugly (save for yesterday's one out), but I can't overloook Bergmann's 14.14!

  • WHIPS AND DUCKS
    4/7: Duck to Redding. Sure, 6 of the 7 were unearned, but you can't fault the last 4 or 5 entirely on the defense.
    4/9: Duck to Bergmann. We can definitely fault all 7 of those to him!
    4/10: Duck to Kearns. Two double plays!?
    4/11: Duck to Rauch. Poor Matt Chico.
    4/12: Duck to Lannan. The whole team slept walked, but Lannan put them to sleep after that first inning.
    4/13: Whip to Milledge! Finally!

  • WHAT'S AHEAD?
    Three in New York (BOOOO!) and three in Florida. At this point, I'll be happy if their train doesn't derail. Moral victories. Take 'em where you can get 'em.

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