Rainout! Hope you planned your ticket purchase around going out to the ballpark Tuesday night and potentially Thursday afternoon. Kilgore points out that 13 of the 19 teams that don't play in domed stadiums and list a rainout policy on their website allow for exchanges for any future game (subject to availability). Who were these 5 teams that don't? I checked the Red Sox, them of the 3000 yr "sold-out" streak. Nope. Any game this season. The money-loving Yankees? Nope. Any game 12-months from the date of the ticket.*
*Side note - this is how I got to see Doc Gooden's no-hitter. Friend had Opening Day tickets and the game got snowed out. Exchanged it for the Gooden game and by then I was back from college.
So then I had a thought. I'm thinking of the rich and successful teams. As much as the Nats have begun to emulate those teams in the standings, there's still a "you better weigh that mail and get the correct postage" heart beating deep in the chest of this team. Let's check the loser teams. The Royals? Yep, there's one. Cubbies? Yep. Though they "try to get refunds". Hmmm White Sox. Dodgers. I'm not going to waste my morning looking for the others especially when these can get a bit confusing (like the Tigers don't allow for exchanges UNLESS its rescheduled for the same homestand, but not then if it's scheduled into a traditional double header)
Anyway, it's not the best move by the Nats. Not only is it fan-unfriendly, but to me it doesn't say "winner" it says "we want your money". If you want to be a winner act like it from top to bottom.
Back to the game on the field, where the little things are going wrong for the Nats. Last year nearly nothing did. A few bad games for Wang, Lidge and H-Rod, otherwise the pitching was perfect. Offensively Morse disappointed, Espy never turned the corner, and injuries took their toll, but Morse still hit ok, Espy was still an average 2nd baseman at the plate, and the guys replacing the injured all did as well as they could. Even the pitchers were the best hitting pitchers in the league. It was a charmed year.
This year, the Nats aren't getting all the breaks. Let's look at a couple little things.
The pitchers aren't hitting. It's not a big deal, they don't get up much, get PH for, etc. etc. But still you'd rather have the best hitting pitchers than the worst. Last year the Nats smashed it to a tune of a .429 OPS. As I said before, that was best in the league. Now that's not good overall (Guzman's 2005 was never that bad) but it's a step above this year's 351 OPS. It's not anyone particular's fault (only Gio is hitting). It's probably not going to get much better. This is a pretty average number for pitchers. It's also not something you can really blame the pitchers for. It's just one of those things that was nice about last year.
The bench isn't hitting. We've gone over this a few times. Lombo is hitting some singles, the rest of the bench is hitting under .200. Does that matter? Well sure, in comparison to 2012. Last year the Nats PHs hit for a .786 OPS. That's a super high number. That's Ian Desmond right now. That was the best in the league. This year? .367 which is the worst in the league. Is that going to last? Is it really just a small sample size (64 PAs for subs, 42 PH ABs) and a low BABIP (.220)? Maybe. But maybe not. Remember last year Bernie had his best year ever. Tracy his best since 2005. We probably would have said "that couldn't last" last year in May and it did. There's not enough at bats to necessarily expect a turn-around.
Also... Tyler Moore sucks. Sorry Tyler Moore lovers (and I know you are out there. I remember yelling at you last year). He does. The guy is striking out at a scary rate. 42.9%. You think Danny strikes out too much? Is Tyler had this rate and Danny's PAs from last year he would have struck out 282 times. Adam Dunn stop Tyler Moore in the street and tells him to cut down on his strikeouts. He's got a pretty good BABIP of .286 but his average is terrible.Why? Because he's not putting balls in play. He could have a BABIP of .500 (unbelievably high) and he'd still might be hitting under .300.
Is there a reason this is happening? You can point to an increased swing rate (7-10% more swings) and a decreased contact rate but the real reason is his strikeouts were terrible in the minors too.This is the player he is. There has been no real difference what pitchers are pitching him - the pitch type breakdown is very similar to last year. A quick look at the Pitch F/X data hints that maybe they aren't giving him pitches on the low and in part of the plate, instead focusing on the up and in part. But if that's all it takes it suggests that there isn't a hole in Tyler's swing where he can't hit it, but rather there's a hole in Tyler's swing where he can.
I don't hope for improvement mainly because this team promotes aggression. They are probably asking Tyler to swing through this when really he needs to re-evaluate his view of the strike zone. Add to this the facts that his walk rate has dropped under 5%, he's a bad baserunner and a worse fielder, and you get a guy contributing nothing to the team. You can't even give him the intangibles. Veteran presence? Nope that's Tracy. Youthful exhuberance? Lombo.
Let's take a baby step here Nats. Send Moore down. Bring Chris Marrero up. Can't hurt. Keeps the R/L things with LaRoche. The Moore Era is over.