Links for Your Friday

April 30, 2010

Sure it’s cheap, but the Nats didn’t have a game last night, and I did a TON of research for yesterday’s post. So everyone deserves a cheapy now and then…

Tim Kurkjian discusses the much-improved Nats bullpen, and he mentions some really interesting facts. Can you believe they had 10 saves on April 28th this year, and didn’t get there until June 17th last year? But, to me, he misses something. He credits the turnaround to Capps, who has a 0.68 ERA and is 10 for 10 in saves. Capps has had great results, despite a poor WHIP of 1.350 (it’s getting better), but Clippard has been unstoppable. Clippard has been the linchpin of this pen.

CBS released a list of the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Team Names. Wait, “Guzmania” wasn’t on there?

Two Padres prospects acting like me and my friends when we were roommates. In other words, like idiots, but in an insanely awesome way.

The spreadsheet of a guy who plans to bet $20 on the Pirates losing.. for every single game. Reminds me again of my old roommates. One of them, a huge MD fan/Duke hater (like me), decided to bet on Duke over MD during the heart of their early 2000’s rivalry. The spread was only 3, and he figured either way he’d win. I believe Duke won by 2 points. Double Dagger.


Livan’s Start Compared to Expos’ Days

April 29, 2010

Yesterday I mentioned that Livan was off to perhaps the best start in Nats history, depending on whether or not you like a certain player from 2005’s start better. I was wondering, though, how it stacked in the history of the franchise, going back to the Expos. So is there a starter that had a beginning of the year, through 4 starts, as good as Livan’s? Only sub-1.00 ERAs here, only if they’ve had 4 Quality Starts. I only found a few occurrences, and one guy did it twice. You may have heard of him. Read the rest of this entry »

Livan Making Nats History

April 28, 2010

Livan Hernandez continues to dominate every time he goes out there. Not through striking anyone out, mind you, he only has 10 of those in 31 IP. But he’s third in the majors in starter ERA sitting pretty at 0.87. He’s also 7th in WHIP at the same number – 0.87. His start to the season, which many thought would be a typical up and down year for him with a final ERA between 4.50 and 5.50 (at least I did) has been, to say the least, impressive. He’s pitched at least 7 innings in all 4 appearances, hasn’t only given up more than 1 ER once so far, when he gave up 2. He lost 2-1 that game, so he’s sitting at a record of 3-1. Off to a great start, sure, but it’s downright historic for this franchise.

In the history of the Nationals, a start like this has happened once, and only once before. Any guess who started out the season ALMOST this well, but not quite? I’ll let you stew on it, you can click the link to read more and get the answer.

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Pitching – Now, Soon, and the Future

April 26, 2010

Thanks to a dominating performance by Scott Olsen and then the bullpen on Sunday, the Nats won a 1-0 victory for the first time since April 2, 2008. That’s a smidge over 2 years. I’m not ready to get too excited about Olsen, though. Last April he had a rough two start debut, then managed two quality starts followed by a 5 2/3, 1 ER outing. But it all blew up in May for him. The difference this time was that he struck out one more batter yesterday than he did in any single outing last year. And of course, he didn’t allow a run.

I don’t think anyone expects Olsen to have this kind of performance week in and week out, but if he can put together one of these every 3 or 4 starts, and just pitch quality starts of the definition kind (6 IP, 3 ER) the rest of the time, he’ll be a pleasant surprise, even if there’s a stinker thrown in once a month.

After Only Seven Years in the Minors

Some credit should also be sent the way of Luis Atilano, who made his major league debut on Friday night. Read the rest of this entry »

Pattern Remains, Clippard Dominates

April 22, 2010

The Nats won last night, keeping themselves above .500. You’ll hear it alot, that this is their best start since 2005. But they were above .500 until the last game of the year in 2005, so don’t expect them to top that start. Still, best team in 5 years? I could definitely buy that. They’re now 8-0 in games where the starter put in at least 5 innings of work. 0-7 otherwise. John Lannan didn’t have a great game, but he wasn’t awful, and since the Nats hit, it was enough.

The reason the Nats are able to win when their starter puts in a full days’ work is that their bullpen has been very effective when used for short periods. Especially effective has been Tyler Clippard, hands down the best reliever on the team for the first few weeks. So good, in fact, that Riggleman has been happy to leave him in for multiple innings stretches in 5 of his 7 appearances. So good that he’s struck out 14 in 11 2/3 innings, while only walking 5. So good that he leads the team in wins at 3-0. So good, with multiple good pitches, that he’s probably a better starter right now than half of the rotation. Yes, I said half, which I know means 2 1/2 pitchers, but whatever.

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Another Day at .500

April 21, 2010

The Nats once again spotted a team 10 runs, but this time they weren’t even close to coming back. The performance of Olsen in his first game, against the Phillies, may have made you think he was ready to be a back of the rotation guy. But we still have no idea, as he got demolished by the Rockies yesterday. He wasn’t fooling anyone in the 2nd inning, and was picked apart in the 3rd. And so, despite having the 4th worst run differential in all of major league baseball, the team is sitting at .500.

The offense was fine, not enough to stay competitive in a game where the opponent scored 10 runs, but still, the position players didn’t lie down, and their fought their way to a respectable offensive score. Every starter has a pretty good set of numbers. Desmond is at .256/.356/.436 which you’d take for the year from a rookie SS. Guzman’s hitting, Morgan has an OBP of .368 which is all that should matter. Everyone else looks good, too, except for Dunn. And you tend not to worry about him. It seems that the offense has been very good so far this year, and that’s part of what’s kept them around the .500 mark for the first 2 1/2 weeks.

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Marquis and the Power of 3

April 19, 2010

Currently leading the league in losses and earned runs, with an ERA of 20.52, Jason Marquis has not started the season out very well. His first 3 games this year have been bad. But how bad? This is a guy who has a career ERA of 4.57, with some seasons obviously worse than that. He’s had to have a 3 game stretch this bad, right?

Well, he’s never started out this poorly, but in both 2002 and 2003 he had a pretty awful ERA of 6.75 and 6.53, respectively, in his first three starts. In 2003, that was actually on the back of 2 decent starts and one awful relief appearance, so let’s take a look at 2002. That year, he ended up starting only 22 games, and going 8-9 with a 5.04 ERA, something that most Nats fans would be happy to see as a final result at this point. So the awful start was a portent of a bad season final line, except after those first 3 starts he had a 4.70 ERA, something that I think, once again, everyone would be alright with.

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