Nationals Baseball: Don't get swept

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't get swept

It should be a pretty easy proposition.  The Nats are at home and you can't make the argument that the Braves are better than the Nats. The Nats have made a habit out of beating the Braves this year and the Braves have made a habit of getting to the edge of a breakthrough only to tumble back down to the pack. 3-1 is the smart bet, and a Nats sweep might make more sense than a 1-3 series in the Braves favor.

Still, this is baseball - anything can happen, and the Nats fans have been waiting all season for some sort of shoe to drop. Is this really already a 90+ win team that can take the NL East without breaking a sweat? The matchups don't help clear anything up.  After Strasburg v Hanson (which the Nats should have the edge) there are three straight games where the pitcher on either side could be replaced by a question mark.

Sheets v Jackson - Ben Sheets pitched 20 games in 2010. Then didn't pitch again until his two warm up minor league starts this month. His first start went well but there's no telling what he's back to being.  Edwin Jackson was cruising along as one of the big 4 but in his last few starts he's been giving up a bunch of runs.  It's not one thing in particular.  He walks one or two more, gives up one or two more hits and that's enough to tip the scales. The good news is it wouldn't take much for him to get back to where he was. Is this just a blip?

Delgado v Lannan - Randall Delgado has a lot of potential, but control issues have kept him from being effective.  The talent is there that if he's on he can shut you down but you only see that once every few games. Probably he'll give up a bunch of walks and get beat around. We all know Lannan. He hasn't been impressive in AAA but who knows if that's talent or mind set. He's never been known as a dominating force so a shutout win is unlikely, you just want a classic Lannan performance and not some sort of disaster.

Jurrjens v Detwiler - Jurrjens had been one of the best pitchers in the league last year and two years before that, but he's injury prone and if he's not healthy he can get hit hard.  He looked healthy coming back from his most recent stint out but that all came crashing down in a terrible game against the Giants in his last start. Is the brief return of good Jurrjens already over?  As for Detwiler, I hope no one is kidding themselves.  He's fine as a 5 but not much more than that. He'll have bad games and good games, but as long as he avoids the homers (like he has most of the year) he should keep the Nats in it.
 
How to call these games? It takes a lot of luck for the Braves to play in a 4-game series with the Nats and not get 2 of Stras/Gio/ZNN but that's exactly what they are going to see. The Nats could just as easily lose big in all three as win big. It's all going to come down to who happens to pitch well that day, which should make for a hell of a series.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

You write as though Detwiler is who he is and will forever will be. Is his stuff simply notoriously mediocre? He seems to throw relatively hard - is it simply flat and/or lacks movement? Is there really no room for improvement? I'm sorta neutral on Detwiler for now and I'm struck by (and would be interested in the technical basis for) your seeming certainty with which you know he's going to end up a journeyman.

blovy8 said...

The other issue may be going with the extra pitcher.

Anonymous said...

Detwiler is a former 1st round selection whose delivery caused his hip to get cut open. Following the surgery, his mechanics have changed and he's lost some movement. However, he's still left-handed, still throws 93-6 mph and is still reasonably young. He could make it to a #3, in my book.

Chaos

Kenny B. said...

Here during the 8th inning of the first game on Saturday, "Don't get swept" is feeling like an unlikely result.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Let's really hope we don't get swept

AtlNatsFan said...

Lannan! Just Lannan being Lannan.

Kenny B. said...

Harper must be psyched; my recollection is that he has always been very pro-Lannan. If we were showcasing him for trade, then job well done. Let's get him on the block asap.

Allison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harper said...

I'd call myself a Fannan, a Lannatic.

Before Detwiler starts I want to clarify a couple points

1) I mean he's a 5 or not much better for THIS franchise. He's not getting past Stras/Gio/ZNN and there's always gonna be someone with promise who might pass him (or someone better the cheapness of the above might let them sign).

2) On Team X - he probably looks like a 4/5 with a 3 ceiling, like Chaos says.

2) There's always a chance he could be something more. Ryan Dempster is leading the NL in ERA. RA Dickey was an all-star. But I don't think it's likely.

We'll look at Detwiler on the large scale after this start. See if the general impression in point #2 is fair. (hopefully he won't throw a 10K no-hitter or bomb out in 2 innings and screw this all up)

Donald said...

I think that Detwiler has the potential to be a lot better than a fine #5. He's a lefty that throws 95 with some decent off speed pitchs. His raw stuff could be top of the rotation material. His issue has been in not trusting it and trying to finesse outs, which raises his pitch count, which gets him into trouble by the fifth or sixth inning. But he's got a 3.00 era after a decent number of starts this year.

Josh said...

Suppose Lannan will be the 5th or 4th starter when they shut down Strasburg?

Harper said...

Donald - my thoughts are if he's getting pretty old to show top of the rotation stuff - not that 26 is old, but most guys who are true #1/#2s show it early. More tomorrow I think.

Josh - you'd have to think now he'd be the first arm they would turn to.

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