Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Not Clutch

Skimming and listening around, one of the early refrains of tonight's loss is that the team didn't do enough to get the big hit.  While that's empirically true, it's also just as true that they didn't win because they didn't get the three-run homer.

This is a team that's always going to be offensively challenged.  And when you take out Adam Dunn (It's hemorrhoids, isn't it?), they're worthless.  It's a two-man offense.

I love Ian Desmond -- and his eighth-inning AB was as good an AB as anyone on this team has ever had -- but when he's the third best hitter in the lineup, you have a bad team.

This lineup had 5 batters who hit like middle infielders, or worse.  It's no wonder they lost, especially when facing Chris Carpenter.  That John Lannan did enough to keep them in the game to that point was the real victory tonight.

This team lacks power.  Outside 3/4/5, there just isn't any.  And you can't score runs when you need the waterbugs from spots 6-2 to string hits together.  Didn't we learn this lesson in 2005?

The fault there lies, somewhat, with Rizzo.  One of the flaws of this team is that there's no real 1B alternative.  It's laughable how much Dibble has been lauding Mike Morse as the team's big power threat off the bench.  Morse has 6 career homers.  (That's seis for you Arizonians)  And his career slugging is like .403.  (give or take 5 points; i don't feel like looking).

They could've really used a bat on the bench.  Someone with some real punch -- not just as a PHer, but to fill in when Dunn has owies.

You can nitpick this game to death, but save that Coors-aided explosion in runs a few games ago, this has been a pretty mediocre offense.  Were it not for the sensational stretch of adequate pitching, we'd be even more effed than Tyler Clippard's elbow.


Speaking of which... ya think that Riggles is going to blame rest for Clippard's recent struggles?  He just can't nail his spots like he was.  Dude's exhausted and he needs a break.  Riggles mumbled something about the velocity is there, which is true.  But jesus.  Sometimes you really can tell more from TV than the person in the dugout.  When pitchers get fatigued like that, velocity stays the same; they just lose command.  He's lost it, and Riggles seems to be the last person to notice.

Maybe today's game (his latest stinker) will make him give it a second look.

I just hope Clippard's elbow hasn't called it a night.


  • Walker would have been a better choice than Clippard for the 8th tonight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/18/2010 11:40 PM  

  • Here we go...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/19/2010 1:18 AM  

  • It's funny. The 5-game losing streak will almost certainly have most of the outside observers stop talking about what the Nats need to contend, but the needs are still there and should be addressed. In 2 1/2 weeks, Strasburg will arrive and bump Stammen to the bullpen. I guess that helps the bullpen, but the need will then be to get Riggleman to stop putting Clippard in anyway. That same amount of time might be enough to decide whether Bernadina can hold RF, but that wont really help the power, will it? I just don't see how that gets solved without a more agressive move by Rizzo.

    So there it is- whether the Nats are really going to be anywhere near .500 or the Wild Card race, how far does Rizzo want to take his evaluation of our fading right field prospects?

    By Blogger Positively Half St., at 5/19/2010 4:59 AM  

  • The Nats seem to burn out relievers faster than any other team... Clippard probably needs to work in a couple low leverage situations to get his stuff back.

    By Blogger Deacon Drake, at 5/19/2010 8:33 AM  

  • But Chris, Wil Nieves hit a home run -- POWER!1!!!!1

    By Blogger WFY, at 5/19/2010 8:44 AM  

  • I know that the team is having trouble with run production, but I don't believe the offense is as bad as you seem to think.

    They are 13th in all of the majors in team OPS, and right in the middle of the pack in home runs. The top of the order guys clearly aren't getting on as much as they need to be, but this team should definitely be scoring more runs than they are, and I think they will soon.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/19/2010 8:51 AM  

  • if they werent playing the mets next i would say "lets go ahead and get the 8 game losing streak out of our systems for the season"

    im already starting to feel nostalgic for the time when a 10 gamer didnt seem like a big deal

    By Anonymous Tom, at 5/19/2010 10:58 AM  

  • Not only did they not get the 3-run homer, they didn't put on the 2 men to get that chance. Only 4 walks in the past 5 games. The Nats have 3 good offensive players, a streaky but promsing rookie and 6 mix and match starters that need to hit .300 to be useful.

    Which is fine for a team aiming for 75 wins and respectability. TOo bad they got .500 and the playoffs in everyone's head.

    By Blogger Harper, at 5/19/2010 11:44 AM  

  • The Nationals' problem isn't their batters per se, it's the combination of poor pitching with average offense that's the problem. The only difference is that the Nats pitching was lucky all of April. That luck is starting to run out in May.

    By Blogger Will, at 5/19/2010 7:49 PM  

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