In 2005, the Nats had an amazing first half powered by a number of quality starts by Livan, John Patterson and Esteban Loaiza, some timely relief pitching, and a great amount of luck from a terrible offense. The story should have been about that pitching. But it wasn't. Since they had won some crazy number of 1-run games by the time that Cubs series ended in early July, the story was about the "heart" and 'hustle" and "scrappiness" of the team. Feel free to blame Tom Boswell for this - I do. Then suddenly (and unsurprisingly) the team started to lose a lot of those 1-run games. The story became about the Nats free fall (I guess they didn't care anymore! Washed off the grit!) and remained that way for the rest of the year as Bowden tried to patch holes in the leaky boat using tissue paper and CheezWhiz. The pitching never got it's due.
This year the pitching has been amazing.
STARTER ERA : 1.75 (1st in the NL by 0.6 runs!)
RELIEF ERA : 2.43 (4th, sad face!)
TOTAL ERA : 1.99! (1st)
The starters are :
- 1st in Opponents OBP (a mere .235)
- 1st in Opponents SLG (a ridiculous .256)
- Obviously 1st in OPS (by over .100 points!)
- 1st in WHIP
- 2nd in K/BB
- 2nd in P/PA
- 3rd in K/9
- Tied for most IP (3rd in IP/G)
- 5th in BB/9
- Bad news and good news on the hitting front. The bad news is that all of the guys doing well are being propped up by super high BABIPs : Werth (.467), LaRoche (.444), Desmond (.410). They should fall. The good news is that all the guys doing poorly are being held down by super low BABIPs : Espinosa (.231) , Zimmerman (.212), Ramos (.208). They should all get better.
- Speaking of crazy BABIPs - Davey please don't use Flores more because he's hitting well. His BABIP is .667. Basically that means he made a deal with the devil for a few games.
- It was great that Nady was able to hit that homer but the "other" OFs still stink. Nady .208/ .269 / .333, DeRosa .091/ .259 /.091, Bernie .143/ .200/ .243. I hate to say it but Rick Ankiel can actually make things better.
- Adam LaRoche already has 6 walks. In his best year he only walked 69 times. Maybe he learned something last year while fighting that injury as he had his best BB-rate of his career in that short span.
- It's not the average or patience killing the offense, it's the power. Only 5 homers in 10 games. Werth and Zimm are still waiting for their first.
- While I praise the starters - let's not forget about the relievers. Stammen, H-Rod, Gorzelanny, and Burnett have given up a combined 2 runs in 19 IP. (and the stats say only Tom has been real lucky here)
- Also - no homers given up by the relief corps yet. Other than H-Rod and Clippard, they are doing a good job of forcing the ball down, especially Stammen and Burnett
- Speaking of Clippard though - barely used over the weekend. Ineffective when pitching. How long until he hits the DL for surgery? Over/Under says April 30th.