Monday, April 17, 2006

Two Down, Twenty-Five To Go

How do you smile after a 2-5 week? When you're 2-0 to end it! After being left for dead, the corpse sputtered back to life for two games just enough to edge the woeful Marlins in back-to-back games. This was as frustrating a week for a Nats fan since last July's swandive, even if there were a few good signs.

What's Good?
1: Nick Johnson wacked the crap out of the ball and was on-base seemingly every time he stepped to the plate. Nick looks like he's got the swing back which made him a border-line All-Star last year, when we were able to include him in a conversation with Albert Pujols and Derek Lee without laughing. (.375/ .516/ .542; 7 walks)

2: Jose Vidro cooled off a bit from his torrid stretch last week, but he still hit the ball consistently hard -- one of the few Nats to do so. (.316/ .333/ .474; 4 RBI)

3: Jon Rauch had another strong week, getting into three games, and pitching four innings while giving up just one run. Rauch had the strikeout pitch working, K-ing four. It seems silly to say it, but he's probably most valuable to the team in the role he's in now -- middle reliever who keeps the team in the game for two innings when the starter gets knocked around early. With so many starters being a question mark, it's nice to know there's an alternative, and that Frank doesn't have to sit through a complete disaster of a start.

What's Bad?
1: Ramon Ortiz had a rough week, getting knocked around to a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings. Worse, his K/9 rate is a pathetic .82 -- that's one strikeout!

2: Ryan Zimmerman stunk on ice this week. He's looked pretty overmatched when I saw him, and Brendan Harris probably needs to give him a day or two off at some point. He had just five hits in 27 ABs, with seven strikeouts. He did manage, however, to drive in four runs. It's probably too soon to ask if he needs some Triple-A time, but that's something to watch. (.185/ .233/ .185)

3: Jose Guillen doesn't look right. Between the shoulder, the wrist, and whatever else is bugging him on any particular day, his swing just hasn't been there. He folded in a few big spots against Pedro, and ended up with more GIDP (2) then RBI (1). (.125/ .176/ .125)

Game O' The Week
In a week dominated by losses, it's an easy choice: yesterday's 7-5 win over Los Pesces. The Nats took the lead in the 8th inning, thanks to a Jose Vidro pinch-hit SF, only to watch Gary Majewski gack it away in the bottom of the inning. A A-Sor double, and a SS error later, and the game was tied, setting the stage for Ryan Church's game-winning homer.

Is there any doubt that Nick Johnson's the team's MVP? With the way he hit, he carried the team, leading it with four runs scored. He had only one RBI this week, though, because the crap hitting ahead of him was never on base. Why is he batting so low in the order?

CY Young
John Patterson cemented this one with his 13 K performance against the Marlins. He wasn't especially dominant against the Astros, but he kept the team in a game they would later lose.

Congrats to Ryan Zimmerman. His week was quietly poor, but poor indeed. He didn't get on base, and didn't hit for power. Hopefully it's just part of the learning process, because if he can't improve, whatever chances the Nats had of doing anything go kaput.

Joe Horgan Award
Joey Eischen wins this one for his Joe Horgan clone performance against the Mets. One inning pitched yielded five runs turning a laugher of a game into a suicide watch.

What's Ahead?
The Nats have a much-needed off-day, before heading to Philly for three. Then, they return home on Friday, where it appears they'll be introduced to their new owner coughlernercough. For you non-MASNites, Friday night's game's on DCA, and Sunday's game is the ESPN night game, meaning you'll actually be able to see it!

It's another tough week on the schedule. Atlanta made the playoffs last year, and Philly missed by one game. Both teams have struggled a bit this year, but are considered contenders for the division. With everything that's gone wrong, they can't really worry about the opponent so much as the things they're doing wrong. Hopefully they'll build off these two Marlins games and take it to Philly.


  • welcome back Mr. Church!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/17/2006 9:10 AM  

  • Cali vacation
    somewhat spoiled by ticker
    reminder: we suck.

    By Blogger MDT, at 4/17/2006 9:27 AM  

  • Seconded on the missing MDT!

    For italics, put i between two greater than/less than signs.

    Then after the part where you want to italicize, put a /i between the two signs.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/17/2006 11:11 AM  

  • I cannot believe how inept this team is in deciding to run. Come on! At this point, this team has to commit to a station-to-station approach. I read somewhere that strategies such as the bunt and hit-and-run should only be employed by those teams capable of proper execution. Clearly not this team. I'd like to see an experiment. For one week - no steals, no run-and-hits. Let's see how not giving up those outs translates into runs. Oh, yeah...perhaps they should invoke the softball rule - no leaving the base until the pitch is on the way. The pickoffs are ridiculous!

    By Blogger Jim H, at 4/17/2006 6:56 PM  

  • Citizens Bank Park
    is very hitter friendly;
    no more Nats whining.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2006 1:22 PM  

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