Nationals Baseball

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chugging along


I'm giving Bryce the homestand, but in fact I'm giving everyone the homestand** and will see where things lie come Monday.  Other than the usual, "seeing more games to form a better judgment of players" there are other, season defining reasons to wait until Monday.

The Nats have a weekend series with the Padres, who are neither a good team nor are playing particularly well. The Nats should take at least 2 of 3. That's important because the Mets have a weekend series with... the Marlins! Assuming the Nats take care of business, the only way one of these two can gain ground is if either the Marlins or the Mets sweep the other. That would put the NL East at either: 

Nats; Mia 3.5 GB, Mets 8 GB or
Nats; Mets 5 GB, Mia 6.5 GB

with closing in on 60 games to go in the season. Tick tick tick. Looking at it another way, the only way the Nats won't come out of this weekend in better shape then they went in is if they screw it up, if they lose the series or worse - get swept. It's in their hands.*

Another reason to wait it out is because we get within a week of the trade deadline at that point and that's when most of the action will happen. Up until this weekend, there has always been more time to see if player X will come around or player Y will begin to fade.  After this weekend, there is no more time. You have to have a decision in mind. You've seen 100 games. You don't want a good game or two that week to change anything. 

After these games the Nats will go on the road to Cleveland, SF (who'd I expect to right themselves a little by then), and then Arizona. The D-backs aren't good but I don't automatically assume games at the end of a road trip are going to be easy, especially a Cleveland to SF to Phoenix road trip. Then it's CLE and SF at home. This is the tough stretch, where if the Nats are going to stumble in the second half, it's most likely to happen here.

That's why this Padres series matters a little bit more. Timing wise, and given the current NL East situation, it is at a point that can make all the difference. If the Nats are 3.5 and 4 games up after this weekend, then a stumble during the tough stretch could put the Nats in a three-way race. Maybe you are more likely to make that trade to try to ensure this doesn't happen. If the Nats are 6.5 and 7 games up come Monday I wouldn't even worry about a stumble. It would take a crash really for a chasing team to pull even. The team would be more likely to let the trade deadline pass.

Finish it here. Nats - win the series, so you can muddle through the tough stretch, so you can glide to the finish.

*If I were a Nats fan, what would I root for this weekend? Obviously a Nats sweep - then honestly a Marlins sweep. The Marlins are the 2nd WC right now. If they were to sweep the Mets and the Dodgers didn't tank, the Mets could find themselves FIVE game out of the WC on Monday morning. That's a team that has no reason to make a trade and I want the Mets, with those arms and with last year's run still giving them hopeful thoughts for this year, out of it. 

**Who else is of interest? Espinosa is slumping out of the gate, was playing over his head, and had a terrible 2nd half last year. Robinson/Zimmerman and Taylor/Revere haven't shown any reason to believe the 2nd half will be that different than the first. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nats and their choices

Let's cut to the chase.

The Nats have the money and the prospects to pick and choose what reliever they want. Do they want Aroldis Chapman? They can get Aroldis Chapman. Do they want... I don't know... Tyler Thornburg? They can get Tyler Thornburg. There is nothing stopping the Nats other than what seems like the small chance of a possible outbidding by another team.

What does this mean?  It means that on August first, when we look up and see who the Nats have on their team and probably most importantly, in their bullpen, it means this is who the Nats chose to go into battle with.

Now perhaps by "the Nats" we don't mean everyone in the organization. The team is a chain, and first and foremost it is run how the owners want it to be run. Next is Rizzo, who has shown over several years he can put together successful teams. Then it's Dusty, a winner as a manager riding a first year out 1st place season, much like Davey did in 2012 or Matt did in 2014. It's possible, given that chain, that Dusty won't get what he wants, or Rizzo won't get what he wants. It's not possible though that the Lerners don't get what they want.

I bring that up because I want to remind you that the Nats payroll this year is 20 million less than last year. This is why I say, "they have the money".  This shouldn't be a make the other team eat salary situation like nearly every Nats trade in the past for a veteran at the deadline has been.  There is no need. But that is assuming the Lerners are ok spending that much.  Remember this is a group that told us they were "topped out", that made last year sound like a singular season in terms of money into the team. Things can change, sure, but it's something that we have to be aware of.

There's a brilliance in spending less and letting the assumption that it would be spent at the trading deadline run through the fanbase. You could have a bad season and be so far behind that trading for a high-price FA makes no sense, which means you don't have to spend more money. You could have a great season and be so far ahead that trading for a high-price FA makes no sense, which means you don't have to spend more money. You can call-up all your young talent to help the team and if they perform in that short while you can convince yourself you don't need to trade for a high-price free agent, which means you don't have to spend more money. 

The Nats are not so far ahead that they can simply run with what they got. They are close, but not there yet. They are trotting out young players. Many in the fanbase hope it's for a trade, but it may not be. It may be getting them ready for important roles down the stretch.  If the Nats roll this way that's fine. But remember that when Reynaldo Lopez or Felipe Rivero are staring down Brandon Belt instead of Andrew Miller, it was the Nats choice. They deserve all the credit if it ends up working, and all the blame if it doesn't.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Give Bryce the homestand

Inside. That's the answer. 

What's the question? What happened to Bryce and will he ever be BRYCE again?

You see pretty much all last year and through the first three weeks of this year Bryce was an super MVP force. Then it stopped. It's been 3 months now and while we've seen glimpses of the old Bryce and it hasn't been as bad as you might think, he still hasn't gotten back to those levels. He hasn't been close. So what happened?

Some people will claim that it had to do with where he was being pitched. That he was being pounded low, away, and primarily low & away and that was keeping him from hitting. That is true, but the problem with that is he was pitched that way all last year. (All these things are courtesy of  Go there. Use it. Praise it)

See? I mean he did walk 124 times last year, 50 times in the last 2 months alone. And yet he didn't hit like he is now. So if it's not what he's seeing, it must be how he's reacting to it. Here is where he swung at pitches last year.


He jumped over anything in the strike zone. He was moderately aggressive on pitches over the plate that may have been high or low, less aggressive with some middle zone pitches inside and out. Has this changed at all?  Well let's look at how he swung from 4/26 when PETE MACKANIN not Joe Maddon you goddamn sycophants, started the "walk Bryce" craze, through mid June.

In possible reaction to the over-walking Bryce has been a little flummoxed. He let the top of the zone go in favor of turning on anything that he can reach. If it was in, he was going for it.  But like almost everyone Bryce's power comes from when he can get those arms extended. Take a look at the isoSLG from last year

Outside of that fluke area up and in it's all out over the plate. HRs per BIP show the same thing. During his down period (and it was a period with a BA around .220 with a .320 SLG - which is bad) Bryce was looking in, turning on inside pitches, but in the end, that's not where his power lay. He may have had some bad luck with the BA but he wasn't going to be BRYCE swinging like that.

So why do I say give him the homestand? Because Bryce has been swinging better recently.

He still might be favoring the inside pitch a bit too much, but he really stopped swinging at pitches off the plate inside. That helps.  Next is probably getting back to going after those "arm extended" pitches. He still might be a little gunshy on pitches low but in the zone. He's generated no power from those and he should. This is what I'll be looking for in the homestand; continued taking of pitches on the hands and attempts to drive pitches over the plate at the knees, while not chasing pitches lower and more outside than that.

That sounds hard and it is. What separates the good from the great is understanding the difference between the pitches you can hit and the pitches you can hit well, and adapting your approach to maximize the number of swings on those. That means taking a pitch you can hit that's a strike early in the count to wait for one you might be able to hit better later and taking a walk then if you get nothing else. It means being able to tell the difference between a strike low on the outside corner and a slider that keeps going, Bryce was here in 2015, can he get back to it? Because this is what teams are going to pound him with until he proves he can.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday off!

Not for me, but for the Nats which makes pretty much no sense.  There's no travel (for the Nats). The large bulk of the players / coaches / etc just had 4 days off. I'mn sure it's a Dodgers coming from Phoenix thing but still come on, MLB, schedule better.

The Nats keep on keeping on . They nearly swept the Pirates thanks to Muprhy's heroics but end up with the series win and the same lead they had 3 games earlier. Now there isn't ~72 games for the Mets / Marlins to make a run there are ~69.  Tick tick tick.

The pitching looked great coming out of the break. Strasburg pitched well, which was most important after the held out of AS Game moment. No issues to speak of. Roark and Max both were great. Now comes the rest. The pen pitched admirably in the 18 inning game - it's just one game but it's better than not pitching well.

On the offense side things were not as sunny. Zimm is out. Muprhy had one at bat. Rendon got sick. Werth and Bryce both have stumbled out of the gate. Despite the RS it was actually a very poor hitting series where the offense was made to look better by Stephen Drew, some timely hits, and some helpful Pirates errors. They would have still likely won two games, given the dominance of the pitching but it's something to keep watching in the Dodgers series.

As a public service : If you can't watch the Nats tonight - what should you watch? No, not the RNC.  Who watches conventions? You should watch more baseball, of course. Tonight there is only one marquee game - Mets v Cubs and it's really not even close. The next most compelling game is probably Cleveland v Kansas City, but while you were watching the Nats, the Indians opened up an 8 game lead on the Royals (the Tigers are closer). I suppose if you stretch interest as far as it will go you could watch White Sox / Mariners as being swept would likely turn the loser into sellers. Jose Fernandez is pitching, so is Chris Sale. There you go.

Be back tomorrow with something more meaty and substantive, I hope. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

The 2016 Nats : Parts 1, 2, & 3

The Nats season has been undeniably successful. They have played very well and have a nice lead in their division. They are on pace to win 97 games and in a normal season that would be enough to challenge for home-field advantage. Then why are we still saying they can do better? It's in part because how they got to this point. Rather than a steady climb, or a slow start and gradual improvement, the Nats season so far feels like its had as much drag as go.

The Nats started super fast and by game 18 were already 10 games over .500. After that though the Nats spent the good chunk of the first half playing near .500 ball.  For the next 32 games they'd find themselves bouncing between 11 and 7 games over .500. After another week or so, they finally broke through going 10-2 over a twelve game stretch to reach a high of 18 games over .500, only to then lose 7 in a row to bring them back to 11 games over.  So 57 games since reaching 14-4 the Nats had manged to gain all of one more game.

The pessimist might say nothing had changed looking at the season. The optimist though could point to the Nats ceiling and floor both rising.  Yes, in those 32 games the Nats didn't really move the needle and played uninspired ball. But in the next 25 the ceiling went up to 12, the floor to 10, the ceiling up to 18, the floor to 11. The Nats may still have been bouncing back and forth but the good started to outweigh the bad. The Nats would then go 11-4 to end the half tying their season high of 18 over and having the floor move up to 15 over.

I think we have seen the Nats play their best ball. If we break the season into the start, then the middling period, then the rising it works to be : 14-4, 15-17, 25-15. A can't be beat 18 games, a disappointing 32, then a great 40. The 25-15 was a wild ride going fast up (10-2), then fast down (0-7), then fast up (6-0), but the ups took the Nats higher than the down brought them back. 25-15 is a 100 win pace. That's right up there with the best this team is going to do over that long a stretch.

We've talked about this upcoming schedule before the break. PIT, LAD, SDP at home; CLE, SFG, ARI away; SFG CLE at home. That's a tough 23 game stretch. Trying to set up an expectation :  you probably go for 6-3 at home, 4-5 away, 3-2 at home for a 13-10 record. I'd probably be ok with a slip-up to 12-11. Under .500 means something went wrong somewhere, while 15 or more wins should have you thinking best record in baseball with ATL, COL, ATL, BAL, COL, PHI finishing out August.

Basically, if the Nats don't collapse out of the gate I'm not sure that the Mets games around Labor Day will be meaningful at all. You have to figure 10-7 for a floor for those 2nd half of August games. If the Nats do go say 12-11 that puts them gaining 4 games over 40 games. Meaning to get within 3 games the Mets would have to go at least 7 games over or like 24-16. And that's figuring the Nats to go 10-7 over a stretch where it's very likely they do much better. We just said 25-15 in 40 is a 100 win pace. 24-16 is only a game behind that. In short, if the Nats take care of business now, simply by keeping pace, it looks like it'll be up to the Mets to do something special.

OK let's get this 2nd half started.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Worry Worry Worry... too much worry.

I'm sick! So this was going to be longer but it will be quick! and also Quik was better as Quik rather than NesQuik. Just saying.

1) Injuries

Every team has to worry about injuries but the Nats have a team with an especially robust injury history.

What starters missed at least 30 games last year? Zimm, Murphy (well...), Espinosa, Rendon, Werth

What starters missed at least 30 games 2 yrs ago? Ramos, Zimm, Espy, Bryce

Basically only Ben Revere has avoided major injury the past two season (we can quibble about Murphy if you like - he spent June 5th to the 30th on the DL).

Pitching wise it's a bit better with a lot of recent past season health but two starters (Strasburg and Ross) and the closer as currently defined by team Papelbon, have been injured this year.

Someone is going down. I'd bet on it. One, though, isn't going to derail the Nats.  If three or four go down though? That's season changing and it's something that isn't unreasonable to think as a threat for this Nats team

2)   Offensive decline

Even if the Nats remain healthy there are some reasons to believe the offense could drift off in the second half.

In Ramos, Espinosa, and Murphy, the Nats have three players having career years. These happen but when you see a surprisingly strong first half, it's likely that a more typical second half will follow rather than a repeat of what was just seen. This doesn't mean bad 2nd halfs (though Ramos and Espinosa certainly have that capability) but if all three slow down to paces more in line with their histories the offense can't help but suffer

In Werth, Rendon, and Zimm, the Nats have three players coming off of big injuries. Sometimes, if you haven't played an full season recently and are carrying lingering issues, the grind of a season can wear down on you harder.  This probably won't be the case for Rendon. He had a strong 2014, is young, and has shown some spark so far this year. But for Zimm? Who last played a full season in 2013? Who looks so bad now at 31? I'm not hopeful.

In Werth the Nats have a player in his late 30s. Time catches up to everyone and nicks and dings wear harder and longer if your career is lucky enough to see the other side of 35.  If it were one (injury recovery) or the other (age) I might give Werth the benefit of the doubt, but it'll be hard to shake off both of these.

Of course a moderate decline here - say a slowing of Ramos, Werth amd Espinosa, could all be washed out by Bryce turning into BRYCE again. And Robinson might play more if Zimm can't hit. I have a hard time seeing a completely offensive collapse. But a mild decline is possible.

3) Relief pitching woes.

Ollie Perez has disappointed. Felipe Rivero may have gotten used up in the first half.  Blake Treinen's ERA hides a merely passable first half. It continues to feel like Papelbon gives up 2 hard hit balls for every one strike out. Solis has been unhittable, but only when he gets the ball over the plate.

The Nats don't have a terrible pen, but it feels a bit piecemeal when everyone is healthy. That's not where you want it to be 90 games into the year. Dusty has been pretty good at working around having a lack of go-to guys, but as we just saw, one injury, in this case to Papelbon, creates a chain reaction that throws it all into turmoil.

It could still work out well. 70 games is a lot of time and September call-ups may ID a live arm at the right time. But it could also fall apart. With an injury or two (God protect Shawn Kelley's arm) the Nats could be in real trouble. This is why when you hear about the Nats and possible trade targets you hear guys like Miller and Chapman bandied about. They would help set the 7-8-9 up in the traditional way preffered by baseball guys.

And the rest

4) Gio
5) Roark back and forth
6) Bryce merely being Bryce
7) Can Nats defensive holes (right side of INF, Werth) be exploited.

If you want me to guess how the second half goes I'd say the Nats get an injury or two, but nothing big. I think Bryce keeps up how he's been doing lately (not quite BRYCE but very good) but the offense still droops a little. I think the relief pitching woes don't get cleared up as the Nats make a deal - but for a middle relief arm that costs them little in return.  In other words, I'm not really worried by injuries, and I'm even less worries by offensive decline. I think relief pitching worries are more on my mind but also least effectual, at least in the regular season. All in all they slow to a high 80s win pace for the rest of the games but that means 93-94 wins, and I think that means the East title.

We'll see. The big thing will be who gets injured - how bad for how long. It probably won't be enough as guys like Turner, Robinson, and Giolito are likely passable fill-ins in 2016. But there are combinations (Ramos & Bryce, Strasburg & any starter not Gio, Kelley & any other arm) that could make the road bumpier. Other than that though I don't see big worries.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Marlins: Legit threat or not?

The Mets are the biggest threat to the Nats hopes for a NL East title. That hasn't officially changed yet. But with Harvey now done for the year, they can't afford another pitching injury. To that end, both Matz and Sydergaard are battling bone spurs while DeGrom has already missed a couple games this year, and their other pitcher is 43 years old and I think 550 pounds. Add to this the various ailments that their starting catcher, first baseman, third-baseman, and now CF have had and the Mets are hanging onto relevance. It's going to take a post-trade Cespedes like performance or complete good luck with injuries going forward to keep them in the division mix*.

We never expect complete good luck so that brings us to the logical conclusion that the Marlins, not the Mets, are likely to be the main threat to the Nationals for the rest of the year. Or will they? First off let's do a StrengthOfSchedule check. If Miami has a particularly hard schedule to end the year, it'd be tough for me to see them doing well.  Understanding that this is all flexible - the Marlins have a slight edge on the Nats, while the Mets have a big edge. That's not all that important other than it allows me not to write the Marlins off at the get go.

Ok so who are the Marlins? Offensively it looks a bit confusing. They have only one hole in the line-up with Hechavarria, and are 5th in the NL in OPS+, leading the Nats. Yet they are tied for 10th** in the league in runs scored. It's not a fluke of rank. While they are clearly above the bottom 4 in the NL, they fit right into the below average spot they currently sit in and should be higher based on their stats. It's not really situational hitting, they are only slightly worse with RISP.  What it appears to be is an extreme lack of home run hitting. Three players (Stanton, Ozuna, and Bour) account for 52 home runs. The rest of the team, bench included, account for 25. Outside of the middle of the line-up the team becomes very station to station and while they can hit singles with the best of them (most in the majors! Almost 10% more than next NL team) if you get hits 30% of the time you get outs 70% of the time. It's hard to piece together single after single after single.

They are also not particularly aggressive on the basepaths or particularly patient*** All this adds to the problem.  Still they should have, given even luck, scored more runs. Let's say that happens. Is that a worry? Not really. The Marlins record is already a few games better than it should be by Pythag. Essentially "other luck" has compensated for "bad luck scoring runs". They are at where they should be and where they should be translates to an 86-87 win team.

Ok that record shouldn't catch a healthy Nats team. Could they get better though? Maybe.  Stanton could easily hit better. His .233 BA is by far the worst of his career and well under his average. And it looks like that better 2nd half will come based on how he finished the first half. He was at .193 in mid June and since then has been on fire .329 / .396 / .683. He can almost carry a team.

A lot of the other players are youngish (26 or younger) with not much experience so it's hard to say with any certainty that they would get better or worse. I will say batting averages are likely to fall a bit. There are a lot of high BABIPs here. But overall big changes in production I don't want to predict. I can't even do it for Realmuto, a catcher with a very high BABIP, given he's on pace for 15+ SB this year. On the flip side though I'm not going to assume that the low BABIP for Hechavarria is going to change either. That guy has never been a great hitter and might not be able to make good contact. OK maybe his hit type and hit speed numbers suggest it will go up but I don't want to start to nitpick the others let's just assume we take all these guys (Hechavarria, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, Dietrich) as is, what about the other guys?

At 28, I'd like to say Bour has a history but he doesn't.  He has only 170 major league games before this year. He has always been a solid hitter and is like the only starter not getting a decent BABIP boost.  This could easily be the real Justin. Martin Prado - the BA should fall here. This we can be pretty sure of. History and statistics agree.  But he's still a .280-.290 type of hitter so it's not likely he'll turn into a bad hitter.

I guess what I'd say is that the Marlins offense has potential to be better - if Stanton goes off and the team maintains or manages the likely downs in BAs with ups elsewhere (better HR/FB rate, Hechavarria hitting better, a surprise player performance), but I'd far more expect an offense that was similar to the first half, regardless of what Stanton does. Likely more runs scored - because of the bad luck in that previously - but not a change in the offense or more wins.

Before I go into pitching I'll note that the Marlins have a terrible bench. Just awful. It relies completely now on a definitely playing over his head Ichiro and has nothing else. Absolutely nothing.

OK so what about the other side - how's the pitching? It's ... fair!

The rotation is a problem. Fernandez is one of the best pitchers in the league. There's no argument there. But after that it's hard to see anyone reliable. Wei-Yin Chen was brought in to provide a sub 4.00 ERA stability but his AL ERAs weren't really reflective of his pitching and while he should be better than this he shouldn't be much better. He's a 4-5 type right now. Tom Koehler has pretty much been nothing but that level his whole career. Conley is better, and he's young enough that he could be a nice rotation piece for a few years, but he doesn't have the control or the power to make you think he's anything more.

Wait you say. That's only four. That's right! and that's it. There are other starters but no one worth mentioning. Justin Nicolino is a successful minor leaguer but strikes out so few batters there's little confidence he can make it in the majors and so far he hasn't. Jarred Cosart was once a big prospect but he hasn't progressed since reaching the majors in 2013 leaving him a less than effective starter (and just god awful this year). After that you might remember Kendrys Flores. He pitched against the Nats and held them scoreless for 3 innings. But 3 innings - he got hurt and he's working his way back. I'd still expect to see him this year though because there is literally nothing else left.

Looking at their system - it's been a bad year for upper minors starting pitching for the Marlins. There is no help in AAA or AA and I'd argue you get into Low A before you see a real prospect that you like where they are this year.  This is a team that needs a trade and knows it.

Of course they did make a trade - for Fernando Rodney and it's kind of an odd deal. If you don't like the Marlins SP arms (and you shouldn't) you do like their relief arms. Barraclough is a nice live arm. Wittgren has been effective. Ellington is good. Former SP prospect Austin Brice has taken to a relief role in AA. They might need a LH reliever but Rodney was probably unnecessary, and definitely a bad use of what little tradeable prospects exist in this barren system.

You might be wondering how the Marlins find themselves allowing the 7th best team R/G in the NL with a pretty awful rotation and a good but nothing special bullpen. Well there is a lot of BAD pitching in the NL. The Nats have the best R/G a good 0.70 points ahead of the Marlins. There are still 4 teams worse that 0.70 pts behind the Marlins. Three teams are allowing over 5 R/G. Of course the Rockies (5.32) but the D-backs (5.07) and the Reds (5.96!.... FIVE POINT NINE SIX!)

We ask the same question - could the pitching get better? I suppose it could get better internally. All the pitchers COULD pitch a little better or Flores could come in and be real good. But to make a big impact all of them would have to do it or Flores would have to be real good. It's not the likely scenario. More likely is more of the same, a middling rotation not giving a decent pen many leads to hold. A big improvement could be had through trade.  Arms like Hill, Ordorizzi, and Pomeranz are likely on the market, but the Marlins have little to offer.

Oh I guess I should mention here - the Marlins are pretty good defensively. It's an up the middle thing as Hechavarria, Realmuto and Ozuna are all top-notch defenders and anchor solid guys around the field.

So the point of going through this exercise was to figure out if the Marlins were a legit threat or not. I'm going to lay down an answer of "no". Not as they are right now. The hitting, which is good but not great, can't get much better than it is. It's likely that any surge by Stanton will be balanced by a team drop in BABIP.  Without the hitting being great the Marlins are going to be held back by the starting pitching, which is not good and can't get much better than it is either. There are no great pitchers, or even good ones, underperforming, and no prospects on the horizon. This doesn't mean craziness can't happen. But assuming things play out as they relatively should the Marlins shouldn't be much better than a mid 80s wins team. If you want to see that as a threat that's fine. I don't

Of course this is a answer that only holds up assuming nothing happens at the trade deadline. If it does then we'll have to re-evaluate, just like the Mets forced a re-evaluation last year. But it's hard to see the Marlins getting that SP they desperately need given what they have to give in return. Most likely they'll only be able to fix the bench, which will help but won't have a big impact.

I'll keep my eyes more on the Mets than the Marlins. Just looking at the teams I can't see the Nats going under the low 90s in wins. I can't see the Marlins getting there. But I can see the Mets doing so. Yes, it'll take complete luck with injuries like I said, but until that next run of missed games happens, I'm going to keep the Mets as the main threat to the Nats and let the Marlins float out there 4 to 6 games over until they prove to me that I'm wrong or they change up their team.

*Or I suppose completely bad luck with injuries for the Nats along with the Marlins not playing well either. 

**Or 11th - B Ref seemed to go on break as well for the ASG so some things aren't matching up there.

*** which is how a similarly singly team like the Giants score a bunch of runs.