Monday, September 10, 2007

23 Down, 3 To Go

To save time, just insert my weekly rant about how just when you think they're dying, they sputter back to life.

It's hard to believe that there's just three weeks left. It's been a long season, yet it hasn't. Some parts have zipped by. Other seemed to last ages. But, like most things in life, when you look back it seems to have taken 15 minutes. Sucks gettin' old, eh?

I was sorta struck by that when I flipped through the channels last night after Romo's 15th TD pass. There was a MASN game from 2005 on last night, and I only saw 30 seconds of it or so. Chad Cordero was pitching to Pat Burrell, and even though it was 2 years ago, Cordero looked like a kid. And Burrell seemed incredibly young even though he was probably 28 or so. Two years, yet it looked like 10.

Nats Record: 4-2, God bless the Marlins!
Overall: 64-79, a 73-89 pace. The Nats would have the 8th draft pick if the season ended today. Tampa Bay (surprise) would have the first. They're four games ahead (behind?) the Nats. To tie last year's record, they'd have to go 7-12. If they take 2/3 from the Marlins, they do it easily. If they get 1 win or swept, it's going to be hard, though not impossible.

Runs Scored: 26 (4.3/ g); 567 overall, dead last in baseball by 40 runs. I'm still amazed by that.

Runs Allowed: 30 (5/g); 673 overall, 9th in the NL, 100 runs out of first. SP Watch: 5.00 ERA (15th place), 764 IP (last).

Expected Record: 68-94, a drop of 1 from last week. It was a funky week. The Nats went 4-2 despite being outscored, which always hurts ol' Pythagoras' head.

What's Good?

1)Jesus Flores! He's taken on more and more playing time because of Schneider's "flu" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and he's responded. His overall numbers are now roughly league average for a catcher. Overall, he's still having trouble with righties, but that's all the more reason that he's a perfect compliment to "Snyder". If I weren't lazy, I'd figure out if he's gotten better as the season goes along. My sense is that he has, but...

2) Jason Bergmann! With him, Ks tell the story. 15 in 13 innings (and only 3 walks) tells you he's gotten it back. I'm still a bit nervous with him, but I'd feel comfortable penciling him in for 20 starts of 4ish ERA next year.

3) Matt Chico! 5 Ks, just 1 walk. One start, but did he find it again? (2, actually since his other 1-walk return, post call-up).

What's Bad?

1) Ryan Zimmerman! His 4 strikeout, 3 error game has to be one of the worst that any player has had, right up there with Bob Brenley's 3 error (in one inning!) game and Joe Torre's 4-GIDP game. (Positive spin: in 20 years, there's a good chance he'll be an overrated manager)

2) Nook Logan! For all the over-the-top praise he gets, he's now at a .185 batting average and .200 on-base over his last 15 games. If you want to be generous and extend back past his 5-hit game you can manipulate the stats (who? me?) and show that he's been dreadful over his last 100 or so plate appearances.

3) Joel Hanrahan! Can we stop saying that the Nationals have done a good job this year of developing young pitching? Save for an early stretch which was attributable as much to luck, he's been terrible because he has almost no idea where the pitch is going once it leaves his hands. Unless they can get him to harness that, which the Dodgers and now the Nats have been unable to do, he's just not good enough to get MLB hitters out. They figured out a trick to improve Bergmann's control. Joel better hope they can do the same with him, or it's off to the Long Island Ducks.

Weekly Awards
MVP: Ryan Church doesn't play much anymore and the perception is that he struggles in those situations, but as someone I know who's condescending pointed out, he'd actually excelled in this most recent rash of irregular playing time. Since the Wily Mo trade, he's hit .275/ .311/ .500, an OPS that if done over an entire season, would make him the team's second-best hitter. That's hardly the mark of someone struggling. As it is, by OPS+, he's as productive as Zimmerman has been. If you look closely at their lines, other than in homers, they're basically the same player. Church has hit for more doubles and more walks (relative to playing time). But other than that, they've been the same player overall. [insert rebuttal to your impending comment about clutchness].

Cy Young: Jason Bergmann wins it for the first time since probably June.

LVP: Teh Nook! Again, the CP Official Party Line on Nook Logan: "If he's hitting .280 he's a usefull major-league CFer."

Joe Horgan: Hanrahan was terrible, but I'm a sucker for a 20+ ERA, which both Jesus Colome and Saul Rivera did. Saul pitched in just one game. Is he hurt? Did I miss something?

Weekly Whips:
9/3: Jason Bergmann pitched great, 7 innings of one-run ball, the modern-day Loaiza.
9/4: Flores' 2-run, come-from-behind, game-ending (need. more. hyphens!) was probably the biggest hit of the season. Though it's hard to rank all the ones he's had.
9/5: Kearns had three hits, but just as important, he scored three runs when the bottom of the lineup finally came through.
9/7: There was nothing pretty about this one, so why not Detwiler for getting through his MLB debut?
9/8: Belliard had a homer, even if it was meaningless.
9/9: Ryan Church had just one hit, but like all his Sunday homers seem to be, it went for three.

What's Ahead?
The Marlins were no problem last week, but each week is a new week! After that, it's three with Atlanta, the final three with the Braves for the year. At this point, I don't really know what to expect! 3-3 would be nice, but for some reason, I'm not holding my breath. I keep expecting us to fold, and it hasn't happened yet. Yet.


  • I consider the Smoltz game to be a moral victory for us, because at the beginning of the season I had a very strong feeling that somebody would toss a no-no against us this year. I wasn't buying any of that historically bad bullshit, but just based on probability you figure that if it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen against the worst offense in the game.....and I'm glad it didn't.
    (There are three weeks left, however, so I should probably shut my F'ing mouth.)

    By Blogger Rob B, at 9/10/2007 1:10 PM  

  • We still don't have a complete game pitched for us (along with a couple of other teams). I believe that no team has ever gone a season with 0 complete games.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9/10/2007 1:17 PM  

  • Flores pre all-star break: .646 OPS

    Flores post all-star break: .772 OPS

    In roughly the same amount of at-bats too. And that post AS break includes a dreadful August where he posted a .577 OPS. His July was .930 and his small sample in September is 1.132.

    So yeah, he's gotten better as the season has gone on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 1:18 PM  

  • He's definitely gotten better overall.

    I just wonder how much of that is an improvement against RHP. I can tell just by the numbers that a part of it is. But I wish I could find some more exact splits without having to comb through the boxscores.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/10/2007 1:21 PM  

  • You used to be able to double-split at's stats page. Dunno if you still can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 1:35 PM  

  • If the starters are at the bottom of the league, but the staff as a whole is in the middle, do the Nats relievers rate among the NL's best?

    Naturally, that is a good sign for the season, but I've always felt that predicting effective relievers is a bit of a crapshoot from one year to the next. Not sure how long the Nats can count on a stellar pen as a lot of teams have spent more money on bullpen arms (like the O's) with woeful results.

    Perhaps, a concern for the future.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 1:54 PM  

  • Sort of.

    The Nats are 4th in the NL in reliever ERA but are first in the NL in reliever innings. So the relievers have been good and have been relied upon a lot, thus reducing the ERA burden applied by the starters.

    Actually, as the Nats and Marlins are battling for the bottom of the NL East, they're also competing for most reliever innings. The Nats have five more at the moment. No one else is even close to being close.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 2:25 PM  

  • Two teams, same record, who gets which draft pick?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 4:18 PM  

  • Tiebreaker is last year's winning percentage.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/10/2007 4:51 PM  

  • That was under the old CBA.

    New rule is that the team president of both teams has to drink a blenderized bug-and-roach smoothie. Whichever team president can chug more in twenty seconds gets the better pick.

    Better start training, Stan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 4:53 PM  

  • With football starting yesterday i temporarily forgot the Nats were still playing games.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2007 6:28 PM  

  • So, if I don't drink the bugs I get a lower pick and pay less?

    I'm in!!

    -- Stan

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9/10/2007 6:29 PM  

  • Re: Church comparisons.

    While at the stadium last week, it appeared as if Church had nearly the same absolute numbers as Kearns...despite not playing every game.

    By Blogger Jim H, at 9/10/2007 6:54 PM  

  • Hopefully 20 years from now Zimmerman will just be concluding his HoF career with the Nats and thinking about buying a minor league or three.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/11/2007 1:24 PM  

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