Monday, April 16, 2007

Two Weeks Down, Still A Bunch To Go

It's amazing what two wins and a rainout'll do to the psyche, eh? Hell, it's amazing that two measly wins is an improvement. Still, the Nats clearly played better the second week, but then again, not even the Cleveland Spiders played as poorly as our fair-to-mediocre team did. We ran the gauntlet and survived with three or four layers of skin intact. That's half the battle!

Nats Record: 2-5; 3-9 overall
Expected Record: 2-10 Yay for rounding!
Runs Scored: 13 (2.6/g -- same as last week); 31 overall (15/16 in the NL)
Runs Allowed: 21 (4.2/g -- over 2 fewer than last week); 66 overall (16/16 in the NL)

What's Good?
1) Starting Pitching! After that first week, whod've thunk it? With five games, each of the starters got one crack at it, and none of them allowed more than 2 earned runs. And Shawn Hill, with his masterful 7 innings against the Mets, picked up the first SP win of the year.

2) Chris Snelling! The Waltzing Mathilda finally started getting regular playing time and delivered, showing a great eye at the plate (.533 OBP!) and leading the team in RBI for the week.

3) Jesus Colome! The de facto mopup man pitched in three games and gave up just one li'l hit, winning his first game of the year. If his arm doesn't fall off, he's got a chance to emerge as an increasingly important cog.

What's Bad?
1) Ryan Zimmerman. When you come to the plate 23 times and only have one hit and one walk to show for it, you know it's a bad week. Just a bad week, or a sophomore slump? (Think Kasten's plotting on how to send him down to delay his arbitration clock yet? /cheapshot)

2) The Setup Guys. It was a tough week for the guys in the middle. Jon Rauch buried the team in one game with a homer he gave up to Andruw Jones. Ray King pitched poorly, then went to the DL. And Ryan Wagner continued his up-and-down stretch with four more runs -- for all his promise, his ERA with the Nats is 4.97.

3) The Cincinnati Kids. Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns had a tough week at the plate, combining for one extra-base hit, three runs, one RBI, and a Guzmanic .170 batting average

Game O' The Week
Someday, about 50 years from now, Jason Bergmann is going to have his grandson on his knee, telling him (for the 45th time) about how he beat Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz, 2-0. He'll regale little Albert with how he struck out Hall-of-Famers Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones with a sharp slider, and how the team carried him off the field on their shoulders when the game was over -- every Grandpa has to embellish from time to time.

Weekly Awards:
MVP: Ryan Church. .444 batting average, Ruthian .722 slugging. That'll do it.

Cy Young: Bergmann shut out the Braves, but Shawn Hill gets bonus points for the extra inning he pitched and the one walk he allowed.

LVP: Ryan Zimmerman. Middle of the order guys really need to do more than a .045 BA.

Joe Horgan Award: Which is scarier? Ray King's 54.00 ERA for the week, or his over 40 BB/9 total?

Weekly Whips:
4/10: Ummm... Chris Snelling had a double. That was about it for highlights.
4/11: Ronnie Belliard continued his hot streak with 3 more hits.
4/12: Jason Bergmann didn't get the win, but we won't forget his start.
4/13: Chris Snelling. Two hits, a key RBI and an outfield assist? That's a good day.
4/14: Sure, Snelling had more RBI, but it was Ryan Church's homer that gave the Nats a comfortable lead.

Looking Ahead:
The Nats are home for a pair of those stupid 2-game serieseses. Then they're off to Florida for three. The Phillies come to town with a record as dismal as ours, but they've got a helluva lot more talent than the Nats do. Could we be the death knell for ol' Chuck Manuel?


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