Nationals Baseball: Winners!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


See how much better you feel?

It isn't "over".  Matt Williams made some very questionable decisions and if the Nats don't take at least 3 of 4 from the Padres the homestand will have been a disappointment, but, BUT...

It feels better, right?

Remember what we talked about. This is a flawed team that has a starting pitcher and two starting players out. If they can keep their head above water (say a couple games over .500) until all these guys are back then things look pretty good. If not, you worry. We should have a better idea of when everyone will be back soon. Hopefully by the end of the Padres series we'll have that info. 

If you are aiming for say 50 games in (which is my guess for Zimm back - game 51) and a record in the neighborhood of say... 27-23?... you are going to have ups and downs. You can't swing too wildly.

That being said the Gio, ZNN, Stras trio is supposed to keep the wild swings to a minimum.  Gio did his job last night. as much as Matt Williams tried to screw that up.  Hopefully ZNN and Stras will do the same in the next two. That's the plan. That three out of every five games, these guys are keeping you in it and you win 2 out of those 3. 

We'll complain about stuff another day. Right now enjoy the much needed win.


Anonymous said...

Seriously? Excitement? The angels almost swept them... A team with no rotation or bullpen at all. And at the same time, braves just keep rolling along.

Chaz R said...

We left in the bottom of the 8th. It was cold, windy, and they didn't seem to have much offensive life. Although, I will say the Nats hit some shots, a couple of which may have been out of the park on a less windy night.

I was disappointed The Bear couldn't hold the Angels, but I will say one thing for the 2014 Nats, they sure do not give it. From now on, I'm not leaving until the game is over.

cass said...

1-2 is a lot better than 0-3.

Went to the game last night and had a blast. A walk-off win is a great tonic. Unfortunately, it only lasts until the start time of the next game.

Hung out with some fun folks in center field, one of the few places in Nats Park I've never sat before. It was striking how everything was focused on Mike Trout. But I got what I wanted - I got to see Trout do his thing and also got to see the Nats win. Works for me.

A team is never as good as it looks when they win and never as bad as it looks when they lose.

cass said...


Sorry you missed that. I wasn't too cold since I was sitting in the lower deck and brought a coat. I heard it was frigid in the upper deck.

I usually sit in the upper deck but 1) my knee is killing me and the tiny leg room of the upper deck was really bad for it last time and 2) Mike Trout. The angles on balls in flight are very different from CF - wouldn't want to be there all the time, but it was a nice change. My biggest issue with the outfield usually is the high concentration of drunks heckling players, but that wasn't a problem until the end of the game last night.

Chaz R said...

Thanks Cass. Yes, disappointing to miss the end, but it was like waking up Christmas morning today!

We have a partial season ticket plan, but purchased extra tickets for last night not expecting it to feel like February in April. we were in 131, and had our share of rowdy drunks. Back to our usual section tonight!

Harper said...

Anon - did I say excitement? Enjoyment of the "relief" type is a better phrasing.


cass - "Unfortunately, it only lasts until the start time of the next game." Yep. Which is why I'm not going to spend today bringing anyone down. It was getting pretty low come the end of last night

Kenny B. said...

The continued success of Danny Espinosa still pleases me greatly. If they survive the early rash of injuries, he will have been a huge part of that. It also gives me confidence that if everyone comes back, they can handle another infield ouchie relatively smoothly.

The series was still pretty terrible, but hopefully the late life last night is a sign of some guys about to heat up. The 2014 and so far 2014 Nats seem to have a knack for all slumping simultaneously.

Also, I really enjoy wiping the dumb smirk off Mike Trout's face. Something about his smile really irks me.

Kenny B. said...

Edit: ...The *2013* and so far 2014 Nats...

Anonymous said...

Who are you and what did you do to the soulless automaton that usually runs this online purgatory,for masochistic Nats fans?

cass said...

I think I'd be smiling all the time too if I were Mike Trout. He seems like a nice enough guy.

One other note: the red porch (Section 100) seats are far from any speakers, so the music and constant blaring noice from the announcers booth is muted. I really enjoyed that last night. Felt more old-timey.

I'd actually love it if they had throw-back nights sometimes where they turned off the speakers except for announcing the name of the player. No programmed sounds. No music. Just the game.

The closest I've come to this was at a game in Harrisburg - Strasburg's first home start there - when everyone left after a thunderstorm and two long rain delays. Was one of only a few people left other than the players' families. They didn't pipe in any more sound and just played out the game. It was great.

(I'm way off-topic, but we have no topic today really, so please forgive my comments about the stadium experience.)

JWLumley said...

I really like the players on this team. I know many of them are flawed, but I enjoy watching them. I do not enjoy watching Matt Williams. I do not like the way he manages the team. I do not like his impact on their World Series dream. I do not like the way it's ran. I do not like his use of Span. I do not like him Sam I am.

Also, on behalf of Marines everywhere I'm officially stripping him of his nickname. Mr. Williams, you are not a Marine. The very fact that you would accept a nickname that contains a title which many of us hold so dear speaks to your character. You did not complete boot camp, you did not EARN that title.

Donald said...

Here are some topics to bat around...

1) who starts on Sunday? Do you give TJ one more chance and if not, who would get the nod?

2) do you sit Bryce today against a lefty and let him think about some of his less than hustle play over the last few days?

3) do you sit Adam LaRoche today and give TyMo another start?

For #1, I think I'd give the ball to TJ since the Padres shouldn't be as fearsome a line-up and there aren't a lot of better options -- the best probably being Blake Treinan but he's as much of a crap shoot as TJ would be.

For #2, I wouldn't sit Harper, but I'd sure have a long talk with him before the game.

For #3, I wouldn't sit LaRoche either. If LaRoche didn't have 3 hits last night, though, I think I would have given him the day off, but not now.

Strasburger said...

Uh you would be smiling too if you were 22 years old and making over 20 mil a year knowing that is only the beginning.

I want to give a shoutout to MYSELF and Harper for being the only people on this site who believed in Danny. I knew he was going to bounce back, and he has (offensively, at least). There is no greater motivator than the rest of the world doubting you, and having to fight to win your spot back.

Last night was fun, I love seeing Werth get amped up, the dude is a psycho. Also funny story - I went Tuesday for Pujols night, and was right behind the Nats dugout. Werth threw a ball to a kid that was intercepted by an thiry something year old guy. Werth proceeded to yell at him and shake his head until he gave the ball to the kid. It was hilarious.

Stras always pitches like a monster against his hometown team. I'm looking forward to seeing him tear it up when I go tomorrow.

Hopefully last night serves as a pivot in the right direction and we start winning games in bunches from here on out.

Bjd1207 said...

@Donald -

1. Given that Fister's not ready yet you throw TJ out there one more time. But it's not really an audition for anything, Roark's been the clear choice for the 5th spot so far. TJ's almost definitely going down when Fister's back.

2. You may sit him for the lefty splits, but for pete's sake let the hustle thing go. He beat out a Pujols error last night by hustling down the line. He's past it, MW is past it, we should be too. The "long talks" have been taken care of.

3. Absolutely not. He's one of two bright spots in our lineup and we need wins after that Angels series. You leave him in there to mash the crappy bullpen and hope he gets a walk or a single against the starter (see last night)

Ficta said...

cass: The last Nats throwback night (in July 2012?) we only got the occasional organ music, it was great.

Or you could follow the Nats to Wrigley, that's a great no noise experience.

Mitch said...

Not to take away from the general cheery mood here, but does anyone think that Harper's WTF bunt attempt wasn't one of the dumbest things they've seen recently? Even F.P. couldn't justify it.

I know MW said he didn't mind it, but I have to think he did, but didn't want to go public against Bryce again.

BooyahSuckah! said...

Mitch - I think it's sort of like Werth said of his swing on a 3-0 pitch to tie up the game. I'm paraphrasing, but basically he said, "If you get a hit, everyone thinks it was brilliant. If you ground into a double-play, everyone thinks you're an idiot". The What The Bunt (trademark pending) was the same. If he'd pulled it off, it would've been brilliant.

On the other hand, yes it was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. Given the completely spastic, monkey-f**king-a-football manner in which Matt Williams seems to manage, I'm not surprised he didn't mind it.

I forget where I heard/read it, but someone before the game (maybe the preview on said something to the effect of "Here's the lineup as Matt Williams continues to try to find magic in the order". Good luck finding "magic" when the order is entirely different every single day. Have we had the same lineup for two consecutive games this season? I don't think so.

Hoo said...

The Angels series is the one where huge Red Flags on Williams are flapping at full speed. You can quibble with his lineup with weird left/right splits and Span at the top. But his handling of the pen has been baffling and not good.

Harper I'd love to see something on the Harper bunt attempt given the count, spot in batting order, outs etc. A symbolic Harper waving of white flag to Trout. Curious to see if a successful bunt by the #5 hitter increasing your odds of scoring. I doubt it. Wasn't it Acta who wasn't psyched about Zim bunting for hits given trade-off of power for Zimmerman.

blovy8 said...

I'm not a big fan of Williams so far, but to use the modern catchall phrase "it's still early". That phrase really sucks. Yogi should be the manager of this club. What's more appropriate than:

The future ain't what it used to be.
There are some people who, if they don't already know, you can't tell them.
It's deja vu all over again.
If you don't know where you're going you might end up someplace else.

Then again as last night demonstrates, it ain't over 'til it's over.
It gets late early around here.

Froggy said...

So many things to comment on here...

For starters, the Harper bunt attempt with a runner on and two strikes was THE dumbest thing I've seen him do. Starting to make me question the whole 'phenom' label. I really like the kids hustle (when he does) and power but hands down Trout is the more complete player ...At least right now.

As for Manny Acta Williams and all the different line-ups every game, pUh-lease stop and pick one!

Would someone please tell me how Williams got Marine for a nickname? Last time I checked you had to earn that one.

Mitch said...

I'm guessing he got the Marine nickname because he is a bald asshole.

(Just kidding, Marines!)

Anonymous said...

I hate watching these guys. I find myself screaming things at the TV or field about fundamentals and lack of common sense that my high school coach used to scream. Bunch of under performers led by a limp noodle in Matt Williams. His post games are the most sad, depressing thing in the history of press conferences.

Kenny B. said...

How many pitchers have better averages than McLouth and Moore? Can we just start using pitchers as pinch hitters?

Also, I know stats guys don't put much stock in RISP numbers, but 0-16 with RISP has to mean something, right? Is any team ever *that* unlucky?

Anonymous said...

@Froggy and Mitch, Williams' nickname should be the Bureaucrat judging by his post game press conferences.

Chaz R said...

We stayed for the whole game last night. It was painful to watch them squander so many opportunities. It really should have been a blow out. ZNN and Stammen pitched really well. Very frustrating, but again they never gave up and pressed right up until the last out. Despite the frustration, I can live with this loss. At least they are hitting.

The worst part is the Mets are now in 2nd place and the Phillies are a half game behind us.

JWLumley said...

@Mitch I take no offense to bald a-hole. I am both bald and an a-hole. But there's a big difference between real tough and fake tuf.

It occurred to me last night what Williams is doing with the lineup and the bullpen: he's fallen in love with the micro-split, but only with certain guys not named Denard Span. It's the whole, "he's 4 for 5 off this guy" thing. First 5 PA's isn't enough to know anything way too much randomness and variance in that completely SSS. Still, I think his ridiculous lineups are one of the reasons the Nats lost last night, it seemed like in every big situation you had Desmond, Lobaton or the pitcher coming up. Which is what happens with bad lineups, you've always got the wrong guy at the plate in big situations. Still, some of that is just randomness in and of itself, but Desmond needs a day off to clear his head or something. He looks just like Ian Desmond circa 2011, when everyone was clamoring for the Nats to trade him and move Espinosa to SS. And there's no way he should be batting 5th, even against a lefty the way he's gone thus far. Desmond's performance also begs the question of what Davey was doing with him and how that's changed with MW. Before DJ Desmond was pretty meh with a lot of potential, after Davey, Desmond has been terrible. It's only a month of the season, but it's tough to ignore.

blovy8 said...

What the lineup needs are Zim and Ramos to lengthen it.

I know it was a lineup spot issue, but I was pissed that Williams double switched Espinosa out instead of Desmond. Take the switch hitter who's gone 3/4 out who plays better defense? Stammen actually has decent atbats, I wouldn't have had an issue with just letting him swing and standing pat.

BooyahSuckah! said...

Blovy, I totally agree. I've always been a big Stammen fan. He's just okay on his second time through the order, but man, that first time, he's filthy and unhittable. To top it off, he's probably the most athletic-looking pitcher I've ever seen, and actually has a really pretty swing. I've be fine with letting him hack and leaving one of the only two guys (along with ALR) on the team who's actually hot right now.

Although I will say, despite the loss, it looks like the bats are finally coming around, even against some not terrible pitching. Everyone cold at the same time hopefully means everyone hot, too. I'd rather spread the love, but I'll take what I can get.

Jay said...

MW drives me crazy. I agree with not taking Espinosa out (never thought I'd write those words - I was wrong). Why even double switch? Any pitcher could have bunted Lobaton over to 3rd. Then you have 2 shots with a guy at 3rd. A wild pitch or sac fly could have won it.

MW strikes me as managing scared. Ironic I know, but stick with me. He leaves Clippard in bc he's the 8th inning guy. No one can argue against that right?? It's Clippard's fault he couldn't get the outs. He refused multiple times to bunt guy over to third to put winning or tieing run at 3rd. It's the players fault for not getting the hit. Even leaving Barrett in the night before - 40+ pitches combined between 2 nights so he wasn't available.

This team is so uptight right now - Harper bunting with two strikes, Desmond regressing to 2011 levels. MW is not too impressive so far. Makes me question Rizzo's personnel decisions, bc he was way off on this one.

JQuest said...

I was screaming at the TV last night. That rarely happens. What is the strategy behind not going for the bunt/sac fly routine when you're tied in the bottom of the 9th with no outs and a guy on second? Matt Williams cost us the game at least 3 times last night.

Kenny B. said...

I sense a lot of Matt Williams hate building up here. I'm not in tune enough with managing baseball teams to evaluate accurately, and I tend to place the impact of managers as fairly small on a baseball team.

Desmond could just be slumping, and the same idea that MW harms Desmond could support MW helping LaRoche or Espinosa. Definitely need more time to evaluate his effect on specific players.

Not necessarily defending MW, just not sure the problem is all or mostly with him. So far, the 2014 Nats look remarkably like the 2013 Nats, which weighs against MW's impact as being substantial.

Erich said...

@ Jay and @JQuest:

I was ready to say the same thing, but apparently there isn't a big variation on the likelihood of scoring one run.

I assume this is correct -- I didn't do it. Let me know if there is a better place.)

Looking at Nichols, the probability of scoring at least one run with a runner on 2nd - no outs is 63.3%. With a runner on 3rd - one out is 66.7%. So there is a slight increase to bunt the runner over. However, this assumes that sacrifice bunt play is successful. So you'd need to figure out the likelihood of that to compare the two situations, but it certainly isn't 100% so there isn't a huge difference between the two.

However, the smart manager takes other things into account -- the opposing pitcher, upcoming hitters, etc. Making the call to bunt the guy over isn't a ensuring a run. It depends. I'm not happy with MW on most things -- bullpen roles -- but this might not be the easiest decision to beat him up.

blovy8 said...

I don't have a problem either way, bunting or letting the guy swing, I probably lean a little toward the small ball there as the home team in a tie extras game, but the results would have been pretty poor regardless if the ensuing batters were still going to strike out.

Matt said...


See how much worse I feel?

(I know it's a bad joke -- sorry, couldn't help myself)

Zimmerman11 said...

zim ramos fister... let's hope for good news on bryce... what a terrible way to start the season! i'm seriously bumming.

Wally said...

I took a quick look at Roark. While he shows some modest 'luck' in some of the obvious stats like BABIP (but not crazy low) and LOB% (too high and certainly will regress over a full season), the stats suggest that he is doing it mostly the same way as last year. He has average stats in most areas like k% and bb% and gb%. But when you look deeper, you see that while his contact rate is high - 11th highest in the league - batters still aren't swinging at many of his pitches. A little more than last year, but still near the tops of the league. He is especially being helped by low swing rates at pitches in the zone.

In Z-swing% (the amount of times that a batter swings at a pitch in the strike zone), he has the 5th best rate, and it is a good category to be a leader in. Here are some people around him: Archer, Wainwright, Greinke, Sonny Gray, Darvish. I think it implies deception in your pitches, and Roark is taking full advantage, since he has the highest zone % of that group (pitches in the zone). Now, those guys almost always have lower overall contact rates too (which Roark doesn't) implying superior stuff. So if they start to figure out what's coming, this could regress in a hurry. Although the other thing helping him is the quality of contact that he is giving up. He is doing very well in not allowing line drives (probably too well, and it will regress some but still should be above average), and while his FB% is high, it hasn't led to worrisome HR/FB rates.

He has done this for 80 innings, which is still a small sample but beginning to reach a point where some of these rates may stabilize. If you wanted things to worry about, you could say that his velocity is down on three of his four pitches. But I don't think that is as important to a pitcher like this, as long as his FB begins with a 9. The biggest question to predict his future is why is this happening. That is probably beyond my ability to guess through data. I think it needs a scout or someone to talk about delivery deception, release points and spin rates among his four pitches.

FP made some Maddux comparisons yesterday, and while he certainly won't be that good, I can see the style similarities. Closest comp right now IMO is Chavez from Oak.

Zimmerman11 said...

Bryce to DL, have to hope no surgery now... the young man was really starting to heat up, and we are all looking forward to his potential for a breakout season. Hurry back Zim and Ramos!

Bjd1207 said...

@Wally - I think you're right. I think it's his filthy two-seam and as long as he can keep it up he'll have success.

@The Rest - Seriously, braves pitching HAS to regress at some point right? HAS to

Zimmerman11 said...

And is Bryce so desperately trying to emulate Pete Rose that he refuses to wear a helmet that fits? How long before he takes a knee or tag to the head and misses time with a concussion because he wants to look cool? I mean, he's not so fast that the helmet has to come flying off, right?

BooyahSuckah! said...

Well, if it makes anyone feel better (I know it doesn't make me feel much better, but I'm trying), the Nats RPI is second in the majors, as is their strength of schedule. The usual pushover-y NL East has turned out to be pretty good thus far and we've faced some of the better pitchers on the planet. And the team has managed to keep their heads above .500 despite the ever-growing list of injuries. All in all, I might not be encouraged, but at least I'm not destroyed.

And I got to be there for Roark's CG on Saturday. What a pleasant surprise he's turned out to be.

On another note, though, just once I'd like to have an injury turn out to be LESS serious than our totally inept training staff thinks it is initially.

akın sürmeneli said...

Cinsel hayatınızı tatlandırmak ve partnerinizi heyecanlandırıp daha fazla mutlu etmek için sitemizi ziyaret etmenizi öneririz, sitemizde en seçkin sex shop üreticilerinin en çok tutulan seks shop ürünlerini bulabilir ve bütün erotik shop ürünlerini kapıda ödeme seçeneği ile güvenle satın alabilirsiniz.

necmettin karadağlı said...

10 yılı aşkın bir süredir sex shop ve erotik shop sektöründe faliyet gösteren firmamızda dünyanın en ileri gelen markalarının seks shop ürünlerini güvenle alabilir ve kullanabilirsiniz
yurtiçi ve sürat kargo ile teslim alırken ödeme yapabilir ve isterseniz kargolarınızı ikamet adresinizden yada seçtiğiniz kargo firmasının size en yakın şubesinden teslim alabilirsiniz.