That’s A Big Comeback

June 15, 2011

With an offense performing as poorly as it has, you’d think that the Nats hadn’t scored that many runs in a while. But they actually had a few games recently that compare in terms of scoring.

The last time they scored 6 runs in the 7th inning or later was June 5th against the Diamondbacks, when they scored 3 in the 8th, to go up 4-1. The Diamondbacks tied it up in the 9th, but the Nats scored 5 more in the 11th, thanks to a Mike Morse grand slam. The last time they scored 6 or more runs in a single inning was May 20th, against Baltimore. They won that game 17-5.

The comeback, on the other hand, was something for the ages. They were down by 5 runs in the 6th inning, but managed to squeak out a run in the bottom of the 6th. Then, in the 7th, the broke open for 6 runs with the help of 5 hits, 3 walks, a HBP and a wild pitch. They hadn’t had a comeback of that magnitude in almost two years.

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September Call Ups

September 1, 2010

According to Ben Goessling, the Nats are calling up a trio of players today with the expanded roster. Danny Espinosa will be on his first major league stint, 22 year old Wilson Ramos will likely make his longest appearance – in May he was up for a week with the Twins, followed by a 1 game appearance after he was traded to the Nats, and, of course, Collin Balester will return to the bullpen. Meanwhile, Yuneksy Maya is starting in Syracuse tonight, but is expected to start for the Nats some time next week. Syracuse’s season is over early next week, so more callups, including Maya, are expected after that. You’ve no doubt seen Balester this year, but here’s a little bit on the others:

Danny Espinosa – Sometimes he’s portrayed as the opposite of Desmond: less rangey, more sure-handed, weaker arm, not as powerful with the bat… more powerful with the bat.. the list goes on. This comparison is probably unfair to both players. The truth is, in the field, Espinosa has a very good range, and a cannon arm. And he is a very solid defensive player. He’s more similar to Desmond than different, which is why there will be arguments about who should play where. But at this point, Espinosa will play 2B as Desmond sticks at SS. With the bat, Danny has been able to take walks in the past, although this year he wasn’t as patient. 74 BB in 2009 was good, only 41 in 2010 wasn’t as impressive.  His numbers, other than the walks, have been similar over the last two years, .264/.375/.460 last year and .268/.337/.464 this year. He also hit 22 HRs this year in the minors, but enough about the numbers. He is going to be a potent member of a strong middle infield combo, and whenever his bat is major league ready, be it today or next year, he shores up what’s been a gaping positional hole in the lineup for many years.

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Time to Bring Someone Up?

July 21, 2010

When Luis Atliano came up to the Majors this year, not that much was expected of him. He had pitched well in AAA, but he wasn’t a real prospect. Yet his first two starts looked good, and after 9 GS he was 5-2 with a 4.24 ERA. Not bad, but not meant to last. In those 51 innings he had only walked 22, which isn’t bad, expect that he had also struck out only 22. The ratio was a hint, as was his 6% of strikes from swinging. People didn’t miss his pitches.

Since that 9th start, things have really tailed off for him. He’s gone 1-5 (the team has gone 1-6), his ERA has been 6.49 in the last 7 games, and while his K/BB ratio has improved to 18/10, its because people are swinging and hitting him more. The opposition has gotten 44 hits in only 34 2/3 IP off of him in that time, and over the whole season, his ERA has gone up to 5.15, rising in all but 2 of his last 7 starts, those two against Baltimore and Kansas City.

It may be time to find someone else to fill Atilano’s role, at least for the moment. This isn’t to say he can’t be a decent 5th starter, or find a constructive role in the bullpen, but that right now it appears his starts are set up to be losses. So if they do make a switch, is there anybody out there to take his place? There sure is, and you’ve probably heard of a few of them:

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Not Livan Us Alone

February 25, 2010

If it was anyone else with his numbers, I’d be surprised the Nats signed him. What do the Nats need from a 35 year old starting pitcher who had a 5.44 ERA last year, a 6.05 ERA the year before? It’s not like he’s a recovery-from-injury project, someone with upside to do something much better. Those numbers are probably around what you’re gonna get from him, so why? Because the person we’re talking about is Livan Hernandez, and he apparently signed a lifetime contract with the Expos that this franchise still can’t get out of. Whenever he’s out of a job, someone here brings him back.

The problem with bringing Livo in to round out the rotation, in every sense of that phrase, is that he’s completely unnecessary. I know that people will say his numbers are a bit deceiving. His 5.28 ERA over the last 4 years doesn’t reflect the number of quality starts he had. The combination of very good games and very bad games inflate his numbers. To them I say, if he had enough good games, it would balance out. Instead, the last few years have been just plain bad:

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Jumping on the Optimism Bandwagon

February 22, 2010

Pitchers and catchers are in, position players are starting to show up. Meanwhile, some young prospect threw down in Viera this weekend. Teammates were calling him Jesus, people were talking about how he’s the best thing they’ve ever seen, and there was a general feeling of optimism for the future. So let’s get on the train to positivityland and figure out what is the ideal scenario for this team. Not record-wise. If everything goes right they probably won’t be very good. And I’m talking about the big boy team right now, so I’ll avoid talking about development of guys that won’t see the pros this year.  I’m talking about what would help set up a winning season in 2011 – a complete list of things that would be good for this team, but trying to keep them all realistic. So, no, I’m not going to say that it would be awesome of Craig Stammen struck out 250 hitters and won a Cy Young, or if Josh Willingham became a gold glove outfielder.

Instead, here’s a list of the good things I’d hope to see, that actually have a chance to happen

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Questions Going into Spring Training 2010

February 10, 2010

It’s almost upon us. Pitcher and catchers report in a matter of days rather weeks, although many are down there now already. Spring training games begin in a few weeks, and the Nats are semi-set at many places to begin the season. But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t many many questions that need to be answered. Here are a few I have going in to the season…

Who are the 5 starters?

That’s kind of a big one, so I put it first. You know, the guys that start the games? We’ve got two for sure! John Lannan is the only guy I have real confidence in as of Feb. Marquis is fine, he’s not great, but you can expect a close-to-league-average ERA and near 30 starts. On this team, that put you at the top. But that’s IT. There is nobody else guaranteed a spot. Three empty rotation spots is a ton, and I’m not sure they’re planning on bring Strasburg up any time soon. 2011 looks promising when you add him and Zimmermann, but until then? Here’s a quick rundown of the candidates:

  • Scott Olsen – Was once pretty good, once threw in the mid-90s. He’s coming back from shoulder surgery, so he’s very risky BUT, if that heat is there, he’s gonna be decent. The problem is that it hasn’t been there for years.
  • Garrett Mock – Lots of Ks but too many walks. Good stuff, but hasn’t put it together and is now 27.
  • J.D. Martin – Had some success last year, but doesn’t miss many bats. Also turning 27.
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Can a Website Have a Mustache?

January 19, 2010

Not alot of Nats news these days, so I wanted to show you something that caught my eye this weekend. Collin Balester’s got a brand new website, and it’s pretty impressive. The Nats starting pitching prospect has quite a bit going on here, including a blog that I’m hoping he maintains a bit more than his last one. Plus, his obsession with his own mustache comes front and center as he has a “mustache watch” section. I guess that’s where we get to see him look more and more mustachioed.

This week on his blog, he is counting down his top 5 hobbies, and number 5 was mustache growing. This could be very entertaining. He’s also got a section for videos, and an area with a game you can play – but you’re a hitter in the game. Shouldn’t you get a chance to pitch on Bally’s site? Regardless, it’s fun and a great way for a young player to try to interact more with the fans. And it shows that this is a guy who’s having fun with what he’s doing.

By the way, when I say the site “caught my eye” this weekend I meant I spent over an hour on Sunday night playing the freakin’ baseball game.


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