Monday, June 26, 2006

Twelve Down, Fifteen To Go

Maybe that AL is pretty good, huh? This week should put to bed the idea that there's anything like momentum in baseball. Fresh from two amazing (some would say historic) victories over the Yankees, the Nats went out and crapped the bed. Last week, those Yankees games looked like a springboard. Now, in hindsight, they look like one of those stupid speed humps that wreck my car, in the midst of what would've been a 10-game losing streak. Nationals Baseball: Feel The Momentum!

This week sees two more AL East foes, the Blue Jays (my darkhorse pick for the AL East flag and as Soriano's dumping ground), and the woeful Tampa Bay Stink Rays. If you're not doing anything tomorrow, and you're in Toronto, it's Gustavo Chacin cologne night. Yes, I'm serious. Check out the link for making-of videos and testimonials. Who needs a stinkin' fragrant bobblehead when you have Chacin?

Nats Record: 1-5. 'They' say that good pitching beats good hitting, a fact that I'm not entirely sure I believe. The Red Sox did convince me, however, that good hitting beats bad pitching.
Overall: 33-44. Half a game ahead of the last-place Braves, which is also 'good' for 26th place overall. Maybe we'll draft another Zimmerman!
Runs Scored: 21 for the week, with 9 of those coming yesterday. That's 3.5/game. Overall, 346 (11/16 teams).
Runs Allowed: 36 (6/game), 386 (13/16 teams).
Expected Record: 34-43. It's hard to win games when you can't hit or pitch. At least we're catching the ball.... oh, wait.

What's Good?
1) Daryle Ward. The fat man continues to mash the ball, batting .571 for the week. One problem. Of ALL players who came to the plate this week, only one had fewer ABs: the mostly injured Nick Johnson. Hey, but at least Marlon Anderson got some game action, right? You're killing us, Frank! Killing us!

2) That Patterson kid. Who is he? Some new guy? When did we pick him up? He pitched well enough to win. If he's able to snap off those curves like he did last year (his injury would mostly affect the feel he has for his breaking pitches), then he'll pick up right where he left off last year -- lack of run support and all.

3) Royce Clayton. Yes, it pains me to write that. The man of many excuses/justifications came through with a big week, finally. He lead the team in hits, doubles, and RBI. But, Frank, if I ever pay money and see him batting third, I'm going to stand outside the team parking lot until...well... ummm... forget you read this. If it's premedidated, it's worse, right?

What's Bad?

1) Alfonso Frickin' Soriano. He's been worthless for almost a month now, and his struggles continued this week. The go-go engine of the team hit just .115 and he added 9 more strikeouts to his Wilkersonian total. If you've seen him hit, it's weak popups and dribbling little grounders. It's rare to see a hitter struggle THIS much. He's swinging at the breaking stuff away, and taking the fastballs on the inner half of the plate. When he was going so well early on, he was letting the soft stuff go, and hammering the fastballs inside. It's gotta be his head.

2) All the pitching. ERAs by pitcher: Livan, 10.57; Hill, 12.71; Armas, 9.82; Stanton 18; Cordero 9. Only Gary Majewski was unscored upon -- and even he allowed 7 baserunners in four innings.

3) Lineup construction. I alluded to it in the Daryle Ward comment above, but there's no way that Marlon Anderson should've started ahead of him at DH (or batted cleanup!?!?). Royce Clayton should NEVER hit third in a major league lineup -- he'd probably bat 7th or lower for the Long Island Ducks! Why did Frank bench the struggling Jose Guillen (.056/ .150/ .222), a player who really needs to shake off the rust, but leave the struggling Alfonso Soriano (.115/ .179/ .192) in the lineup? I just don't, and probably never will, understand 3/4 of the decisions this team makes. Maybe that's for the best.

Game O' The Week
Slim Pickens this week, so I'll go with Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Blowrioles. The Nationals played hard, but couldn't get the big hits when they needed them thanks to some craptacular baserunning by Brian Schneider -- he was caught stealing in the second, then ran himself into an out in the 9th inning, when it looked like the Nats were going to break through.

Mike O'Connor pitched effectively, but it was Gary Majewski's wiggling in to and out of trouble that I'll remember most. In a tie game in the 8th, he loaded the bases with nobody out before getting a one out grounder to Zimmerman. Zimmerman fielded, stepped on third for the first out, then took an extra step before firing to first. His throw was wild, causing Nick Johnson to stretch and drop the ball. But, NJ grabbed the ball off the ground before the ancient Jeff Conine got to the bag. Inning over, game tied! Woohoo! (Then something happened after a long rain delay. Anyone know how it ended?)

MVP Award
Jose Vidro gives him a run for his money, but the extra half-foot of range gives Royce Clayton an undeserved weekly MVP award. If he promises to keep batting .409/ .458/ .545, I'll never complain about him batting third again.

CY Young Award
Well, I guess I'll give it to Patterson's 6 innings of 2-run ball -- thanks to a Royce Clayton error, only one of those was earned, but they still add up to a loss.

LVP Award
As bad as Soriano and Guillen were, this is the easiest call of them all. Ryan Zimmerman, despite the fielding, was horrid this week. A few years back, after he hit the homer that ended the Red Sox World Series hopes, Aaron Boone had a terrible World Series. The kid couldn't buy a hit. Someone, I think it might've been Joe Sheehan, had a great line: "It was just a home run, not diplomatic immunity." The same can be said for Wahoo Zim and the ONE hit he had this week. (.045/ .160/ .091)

Joe Horgan Eischen Award
Throw a dart and pick one. ::Thwack::
Congrats, Tony Armas! Here's all you need to know about how bad Armas' start was against the Red Sox: Peter Gammons reports that Bowden offered him to the Sox, but that they laughed him off because waiver wire scrub Kyle Snyder pitched better than him.

  • Is there anything else you think I should track or look at?


    • kAccording to the rankings at Sox Prospects Jimbo asked for the teams 3rd and 5th best minor league prospects. (Baseball America puts Ellsbury at 4th, Bowden they don't say but I have to believe he'd be top 10 now). For Tony Armas.

      When someone asked me what I thought Bowden would ask from the Red Sox for Livan I said Wily Mo and either Lester or Hansen. I now see I underestimated him. I should have said all 3 and Papelbon for good measure.

      By Blogger Harper, at 6/26/2006 3:27 PM  

    • Well, July's just around the corner. We bloggers haven't had much action on the Bowden front since Spring Training, but I can't wait to tee off on his trade offers in my blog next month.

      It beats writing about the on-field (in)action.

      I think you should add a Frank Moment o'the Week to your weekly roundup. It'd be tragically funny and, hey, the old guy won't be around for much longer anyway.

      By Blogger Brandon, at 6/26/2006 7:40 PM  

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