Nationals Baseball: Quality Control

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quality Control

Adam Dunn sick and Kennedy at first? Nyjer getting the day off? (what is this newfound love Riggles has of a Bernandina and Harris OF combination?) Given all that you kind of got to expect an offensive output like they had last night. But even with just a couple runs on the board, once again the Nats were still in the game thanks in no small part to the starting pitching.

Last night Stammen settled down after a super-rough 2-out first inning rally to give the Nats 6 innings of 4 run ball. While not quite a quality start (at least 6IP, no more than 3 ERs given up) it was certainly enough to give the Nats a chance to win. Since April 22nd the Nats have played 24 games. They have pitched 13 quality starts, which is a good number but doesn't do justice to how well the starting pitching has been. Out of the remaining 11 "non-quality" starts:
  • Five times the Nats starter gave up 3 or fewer runs, but hit the 5 inning threshold, not 6. (5.1 & 1, 5 & 2, 5.1 & 0, 5.1 & 2, 5 & 3). While you hit the bullpen early certainly the Nats were in these games.
  • Once (last night) the Nats pitcher went 6 but gave up 4 runs, not 3. Again - not ideal but no one can say the Nats were out of the game last night.
I'd argue that all of these are decent enough starts, and that at least 19 times in 24 games the Nats starters have done thier job. (whether the Nats were in it or not depends on if there were any unearned runs to this point)

What about the other 5?
  • Twice the pitcher gave up 4 runs in 5 or less innings (5 & 4, 4.2 & 4).
  • Once the pitcher gave up only 3 runs, but only pitched 4 innings
  • Twice the pitcher gave up 6 runs in 5 or more innings (5 & 6, 5.1 & 6)
None of these games were terrible. While I wouldn't go so far to say the pitcher did his job, in none of these starts was the game a lost cause when the starter exited. Were the Nats likely facing an uphill climb either from their offense or their bullpen? Sure. But the game was never unwinnable.

It's been said that the Nats have a new attitude, coming into every game expecting to win. With pitching like this, you can understand why they feel that way. They've had that chance every game for almost a month.


DCnatty said...

Willie Harris should have got that ball on the fence in the first, meaning only 1 run scores. Otherwise i agree, pathetic power in the lineup last night. WHY IS MORSE IN THE MAJORS? the guy stinks....because he had 2 weak seeing-eye-groundball singles on Sunday? His ABs are horrible, particularly in the 7th with 2 on and he swings at ball 4. Hes a bum with a mullet....send him down.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...


Any comment on the Oswa;t to NATS brouhaha started by ESPN Insider? Pro and Cons (I am a con) being discussed to a faretheewe on NATS Journal.

Harper said...

DC Natty - Assuming it's not a Willingham off-day the bench has no power. That is why Morse is in the majors. He is supposed to provide that. Whether he can or not is up for debate - his recent minor league numbers suggest yes, but his major league numbers are all over the place. Other than Morse there is only one other option with Justin Maxwell and I don't think they want him up here seeing so little playing time.

Sec 204 - As always it depends on the deal, but assuming a couple decent prospects for Oswalt...I'd go no. Not because Oswalt isn't worth a couple of young pitchers (I'm a "bird in the hand" guy) but because his contract (15million this yr 16 next) could hamstring any other improvements (though it shouldn't) and it focuses all the marbles on 2010/2011. Also - I'm not sure Oswalt would wave his no-trade for the Nats. The team is better but by no means a lock for the playoffs if he comes here.

Hoo said...

Why would the Nats trade for a starter? The problem isn't the SP but it's the missing reliever and the gaping wound in RF.

As Harper documented, Nats are getting solid SP. Stras is up in a few weeks likely replacing Atilano. Then Marquis returns replacing Stammen or maybe John L if he keeps struggling. But at best it's about 12 starts of Oswalt before Marquis is used to replace Lannan.

If Nats are going to trade prospects or make a run this year, they gotta make a move for a solid, everyday RF.

Bryan said...

I concur with Hoo.

A trade for starting pitching makes sense next year, maybe the year after that. It makes NO SENSE to give up what we've built in the minors for starter now.

I'd rather see what we have and how we far this year, THEN go after the big stuff next year, when we have Storen and Stras for a full year.

In any case, a RF makes 1000% more sense, since that's our biggest hole. No, this rotation won't win the playoffs, but who cares?

Harper said...

Hoo / Bryan - You trade for Oswalt only if you are serious about 2010, but if you are serious about 2010 you first need to solve that huge problem in RF. Of course if you were serious about 2010 you wouldn't have waited this long to bring up Strasburg and Storen. So I think there is little more here than maybe the Nats seeing if they can get Oswalt on the cheap and there's no harm in asking (unless you ask like Jim Bowden which would be "How about Oswalt for Miguel Batista? Ok to make it fair I'll add in Eric Bruntlett and you can toss in Hunter Pence and Bud Norris. Deal?"