Monday, April 30, 2007

Four Weeks Down, Thousands More To Go

This morning, I read on one of Teh Internet's bestest Nationals forums, that "a run here or there, and the Nationals are looking at a four-game winning streak." While, right, that's the epitome of loser talk about a loser team. Sure, I guess it's literally true, but the reason the Nats stink (tied with KC for worst), isn't because of a run here or there. It's because of 10 runs here. And 10 runs there. Sure, good teams lose more one-run games than they should (and as we saw in '05, bad teams win more one-run games than they should), but it's the bigger things that matter.

The Nats lost this week, not because they couldn't get one run here or there, but because they couldn't get ANY runs at ANY point. And they lost in previous weeks because they couldn't prevent ANY runs at ANY point.

Don't think this is a good team because the pitchers suddenly got good and the flaccid bats went even more impotent. On that note...

Nats Record: 2-4; 8-17 overall (last in baseball)
Expected Record: 6-19. Yes, they're playing over their head. Worse, that's a 39-123 pace. Wow.
Runs Scored: 16 (2.7/g); overall, 78, last in all of baseball
Runs Allowed: 27 (4.5/g); overall, 134, 15/16 teams in the NL

What's Good?
1) Jason Bergmann! He's had four excellent starts in a row, and I want to be a believer. He had two starts, gave up three runs, and had a loss and a no-decision. That's some tough luck.

2) Ryan Church's Batting Eye! He cooled off considerably from his torrid stretch earlier (just a .235 batting average), but his team-leading 7 walks (4 more than anyone) gave him a terrific .435 on-base-average, allowing him to be stranded countless times by the feeble bats behind him.

3) Crappy Pitchers' Luck! Jerome Williams walked 5 batters, yet pitched a 6-inning shutout. Matt Chico allowed 10 baserunners in a smidge over five innings, yet gave up only two runs and got a win. Sure, we can curse our luck over the bats not doing anything, but the Luck Fairy sprinkled used all her magical dust on these two performances.

What's Bad?
1) Limp RISP. You saw the games. You know things were bad. They had 48 ABs with RISP this week, and had 7 hits for a woeful .148 batting average. Worse, they had just 6 RBI on those 7 hits. 11 times they came to the plate with runners on first and second, and they were retired all 11 times, with 2 GIDP thrown in for good measure.

2) John Patterson. I've said that there was a lot to like about Patterson's start this week, but the 6 runs allowed, definitely wasn't one of those things. Whether he gets his stuff under control or not, right now, he's Tony Armas.

3) Ryan Zimmerman. Remember when he was good? .217 .308 .261 ain't gonna remind you of that.

Game O' The Week
Thursday's afternoon game against the Phillies gave Shawn Hill his lone start of the week, and it also gave the Nats their first complete game of the year. With a 4-0 lead in the 8th, he hung a pitch to Aaron Rowand which he ripped for a homer. Hill got a chance to come back out in the 9th, but when he walked the lead-off batter, Manny Acta brought in Chad Cordero to give up some noisy outs, and make everyone nervous.

Weekly Awards:
MVP: Austin Kearns powered the Nats to at least one victory, when his three-run bomb held up against Los Mets. He had a solid week, batting .318 and slugging .727

Cy Young: No doubt it's Bergmann. Since that first outing, he's been as good, if not better than, Shawn Hill.

LVP: Felipe Lopez had a bad week. When your batting average is the same as your slugging and your on-base, it's tough. When your batting average is only .208, it's the worst. Throw in some bad defense and a CS, and it's not a week for his scrapbook.

Joe Horgan Award: Hopefully this'll be the last time John Patterson wins this. Yes, hope is something different from a prediction.

Weekly Whips:
4/24: Jason Bergmann did everything he could do but win the game. The Crappy Blowpen turned a close game into a rout -- three runs for the Nats is a rout!

4/25: Ron Belliard had 2 hits, but nobody really did much of anything.

4/25: Shawn Hill's 8+ innings make this the easiest pick of the year.

4/27: Pitching, Defense and Austin Kearns' Three-Run Homer.

4/28: Yeah, I know that Jerome Williams put the Nats in a position to win, but I was impressed by Jesus Flores' throwing, and without his laser to nab Reyes in the 8th or 9th inning, the Nats would've lost a helluva lot earlier.

4/29: Poor Jason Bergmann. What's a dude gotta do to get a win? (Hint: Don't pitch for such a crappy team!)

Looking Ahead:
Ah, the horrors of the Padres, then a chance to see our old friend Alfonso Soriano in his new uniform. The good thing about the Padres series is that we likely won't have a lead, so Cordero won't get a chance to yak the game away.

The first four pitchers the Nats face this week are Jake Peavy, Clay Hensley, Chris Young and Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano and Hensley have struggled, but they're very good pitchers, and I don't think this is the week the bats finally wake up from their slumber.


  • Not only are the Nats outperforming their Pythag projection, they are better than expected in one-run games (4-3). Even if you toss in 2-run games (which I like to do) The Nats are 6-6. Not wildly outperforming to be sure, but when you are looking at any reason for possible late season improvement you don't like to see all the tangetal information pointing to a downward swing.

    By Blogger Harper, at 4/30/2007 1:20 PM  

  • Can't believe Cordero didn't make the Bad list.

    Do the Red Sox have any magic beans we can still trade him for?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/30/2007 2:56 PM  

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