Monday, March 31, 2008

I Could Get Used To This!

Here's what our friends at Baseball Analysts said about today's game:
Matt Chico is one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball. His strikeout and walk rates are well-below average, which spells trouble for an extreme flyball pitcher. Brett Myers, in his return to the rotation, won't enjoy an easier matchup all year (at home against a mediocre hitting club and a weak pitcher, not to mention the fact that the Nationals will be coming down from their high after celebrating Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off home run in the team's opener at its new ballpark).

I quote that not to mock (although calling our offense mediocre is RFK-type thinking), but to show how improbable these things are.

Chico just doesn't impress me, using a smoke and mirrors approach, but dammit, it was good enough today. He didn't walk anyone, despite lobbing balls up to the plate as if he were (dammit... I don't know how to finish the analogy).

Meanwhile, the offense hums along. It's really something to watch. I don't like to make too much out of a game or two, but it just SEEMS like a better lineup. Kearns is hitting! Nick Johnson is picking up where he left off in '06 -- with some DAMN GOOD baserunning in these last two games. Milledge had a bomb! What's not to like!?

Oh. Ray King. Nothing worse than watching a LOOGY give up the tying run to someone swinging right-handed. Saul Rivera continues the march to 140 appearances. Hanrahan pitched better than his line would indicate. It'll be interesting to see how Manny handles him in the future given today's failing.

The Nats didn't convert one squeeze bunt last season. Today, it worked. Sort of. With NJ on third and Lo Duca -- who for whatever his faults as a player sure can handle the bat, and Acta is terrific about putting players in positions to maximize their strength -- attempted a bunt. He didn't get the pitch, and the throw to nail NJ (who had played the non-bunt perfectly) was wild, scoring him, and giving the Nats a freebie run.

Remember last year? 9-25? Not scoring in the first inning in how many straight games? 22 or something like that? Remember how nobody could do anything with the bat? Well, forget all that, dammit! Enjoy what we've got -- for the moment, a full 1-game lead in the division!

  • Your fun fact o' the day, courtesy of WFY: This is the first time the Nats have been above .500 since October 1, 2005, when a loss to the Phillies dropped them to 81-80.


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