Nationals Baseball: Tired Tanner?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Tired Tanner?

You know my opinion.  While it took until the 7th for the wheels to come off, the guy was hit pretty hard all game long. Lots of line drives. Is that Roark or the Orioles lineup? The Orioles are ok, but they aren't actually anything special in the AL, so I'm going with Roark.

Yes, yes I know you all love Roark and have a giant Fathead of him covering your wall which you kiss every morning before going out to work. But here's a fun note about Roark that you never hear - it's possible only one other consistent starting pitcher has faced an an easier set of opponents in 2014. This stat, aggregate OPS of opponents faced, isn't an "end all be all" one so you don't have to (and probably shouldn't) take it as gospel. But Roark ranks so low in comparion to other pitchers the idea that he's had a bit of an easy ride, if not the easiest, has to be considered fact. I mean 35th out of 654 guys who have thrown a pitch this year. That's not something you can dismiss out of hand.

OK since you are wondering

Roark : .667
Fister : .703
Gio : .669
Stras : .690
ZNN : .690

Clippard at .719 ranks as the highest of any notable Nat.  The Nats as a whole rank on the low end because the NL is going to be lower than the AL with all those pitchers and the NL East is probably the worst hitting division... well the worst hitting division when you take out the Nats, who the Nats pitchers don't have to face. Gio, you might notice also ranks on the low end which is kind of worrying given his up and down year but this is why I note that you might not want to put complete faith in this stat. I trust the history of Gio. With Roark the history is limited so I take a closer look at something like this.

Roark's next start, on 4 days rest again and against the Braves will be huge. Luckily for him - NL East - the Braves aren't all that good at hitting the ball. If Roark stumbles again there has to be a question f how effective he'll be come the stretch run, likely two additional starts away from his all time high in innings pitched.


Mitch said...

I thought they probably should have pinch-hit for him in the 6th, until I realized he was probably the best available hitter.

Harper said...

Mitch _ Kilgore explained that with the long stretch of games without a day off Williams was trying to rest pen. Given Roark's recent success too you might buy that argument... if you weren't actually watching him pitch.

Jimmy said...

Roark has no time for your fancy statistics, he's got a "bulldog" mentality. *Kisses fat head and begins to sharpen pitchfork.

Jimmy said...

Harper_It was a bad move with runners on the corners only up by one, Roark had spotty command all night. But if Roark gets pulled for Souza and he gets put out, followed by Stammen getting lit up MW would still be held to the flames. He's kind of damned if he does and damned if he doesn't for yesterday.

cass said...

Looking at those numbers, can we all just appreciate yet again what a steal Fister was?

Oddly, he's doing it in a new manner - he's never really beaten his peripherals before and now he's destroying them. On the other hand, his K%-BB% is right in line with his career numbers, so he's probably just getting unlucky on home runs and lucky on balls that stay in the yard.

Either way, I'm very glad DD got hypnotized by Robbie Ray and let us walk away with Fister.

I've been telling a friend of mine that Strasburg will get better and Roark will get worse. I think we all knew that Roark wasn't really this good. He's great as a 5th starter, but he's no ace.

Also, I'll also come out and admit I was wrong about Span. Very happy for him - hopefully his change in approach sticks and he keeps the BB numbers up even when he returns to earth a bit on balls in play. He won't stay this hot, but he's already helped the team now. The Nats should pick up that option. As I think Harper said before, the worst case scenario is he's a well-paid fourth outfielder.

Gonna see Strasburg and Roark in Atlanta this weekend, so really hoping Roark manages some of his old pixie dust. I don't want the Nats to get shelled while I'm there at Turner Field, especially with my Braves-fan brother and father with me.

Harper said...

Jimmy - I don't disagree and he had a low pitch count too. I would have pulled him (the Nats couldn't expect to keep the O's from scoring again the rest of the game and like I said he wasn't rolling as he has been) but keeping him in is defensible. Apologies to Matt for making it seem like it wasn't.

Now after the 2nd double....

cass - and think of the dominoes. Fister isn't traded to Nats. Do the Tigers end up trading for Price. If not do the Cardinals get him? Or do the Nats?

Mitch said...

@Harper: in all honesty, pinch-hitting for Roark and having to go to the pen early vs. leaving him in, hoping he slaps an RBI single, and giving the pen a little more rest was probably about even odds. Just didn't work out.

Kenny B. said...

Didn't watch the game, but looked at the line score and thought it seemed like it made sense to keep him in there, especially with the lead. But apparently it was a bigger mess than I thought.

I just generally approve of getting the game straight to the 8-9 inning guys, because it reduces the opportunity for MW to misuse all the other guys in the pen.

Anonymous said...

Is MW uniquely dumb in not using his best reliever in highest leverage inning, set routine be damned?

I get that saves are an institutionalized value in that closers need them to get paid (great, because Soriano probably not best reliever). But why have a "8th inning guy" wait to potentially deal with the 6 7 8 hitters when facing runners on base in the 6th or 7th? Does anyone know of a team that is less rigid in its bullpen use?

Donald said...

I will say at the time, I was calling for MW to pinch hit Souza for Roark, but as most commenters here have noted, it clearly wasn't a black and white call, so I'm not going to beat up on MW too much for that.

So time for the Nats to take 2 out of 3 from the Mets while the Braves split the 2 in Seattle. Would be nice to go into Atlanta up more than 3.

WiredHK said...

I've sharpened my pitchfork - here goes: Prior to last night, Roark's last four starts were 7 inning/1 ER affairs (I dislike the "yeah but who's it been against" discount -- over a long season, that stuff makes only a marginal difference to me). The guy has one middling/poor outing against a team more known for it's hitting than pitching and we trot out the "here comes the big regression" or "Roark is tired" narrative? Did you keep this article in the can awaiting a bad start? Prolly been in the can awhile, then. Harper - for a guy who hates it when we unfairly malign/judge Stras when he has a poor outing or two (which he has had a few of, let's be honest), this feels like just that.

Sometimes your 5th starter will get hit. Smile and move on -- and instead wonder why, against a poor pitching Bal team, we scored just 2, 6, 3 and 3 runs in the four games this year. The offense has simply got to be better if we aspire to anything besides a first round playoff exit. Period.

Btw, I missed the game as I'm in Kansas City for work. Special Nats sidenote: I hit a very tasty local BBQ spot last night and their specialty sandwich was called "The Z-Man" - and it was awesome. All I could hear in my head as I ate it was Charlie yelling "The Z-Man has done it again!!!" Deee-lish.

Harper said...

WiredHK - as I linked I noted a couple of weeks ago that Roark had a little bit of a slip-up before the All-Star break and I wondered if it could be due to having pitched on 4 days rest often prior to those starts. Basically, he is a new major leaguer putting the most stress you can on an arm - major league starts on major league rest patterns at a point that's good chunk into the season. Did that matter? Or were those just flukes?

I also said he'd have a lot of rest for a couple more starts but then would go back to an every 4th day stretch for a while. If we're to investigate my original hypothesis we'd have to wait until he had another string of 4 day rest starts, i.e. "now" and see how he did. The answer? Not so great. If he has a 2-3 more bad games in his next 4 starts (projected rest 4, 5, 4, 4 days) there may be something here.

It's a question that we're looking at - not anything definitive. Even if he does pitch badly that doesn't PROVE anything. But a tiring arm is something worth looking at with any pitcher without significant major league experience.

WiredHK said...

That's fine, but...maybe I just read the post wrong. It sounded like you were attempting to go in depth to explain something that may be completely a non-issue - he had a rough start after a ton of good ones. Ok, let's watch and see what happens next.

The tiring arm idea is reasonable IF we start seeing evidence of it. For now, there is not much evidence. Fair?

Jay said...

Another great MW quote last night. He mentioned that Roark pitched the 7th because his pitch count was low and bullpen had "pitched a lot recently". When asked who was unavailable he stated that "it was for us to know. I'm not going there now. The bullpen has pitched a lot." Storen last pitched 7/31. In the MW world of every reliever has a concrete roll that is inflexible - doesn't Storen usually pitch the 7th inning? Of course after the first double Storen could have warmed up. Or maybe after the double off the wall that tied the game? Of course after the go ahead single, I guess Storen could no longer pitch the 7th inning bc the Nats were no longer ahead.

Does anyone really think this guy can string together 3 playoff series wins - if we even make the playoffs? The only good thing is the Braves have lost 6 in a row. If we can just maintain our 2-3 game lead till next Monday the Braves then play LAD, A's, at Pirates, @Reds, @Mets, and then Miami. Hopefully, we're up by 5 after that. Alternatively, they are a game over .500 and only 3 games back of Nats now.

JWLumley said...

@Jay No, I really believe a little more each day that Matt Williams is the worst manager I've ever seen. New school, old school, doesn't matter, he does things that defy logic. Not sure how he'll use Thornton now, but it will probably be to pitch to righties. Detwiler will continue to pitch once a week and I don't think anyone can judge his ability this season because his use has been unbelievably erratic. It's ridonkulous. Over the last month Storen seems to be in the Jerry Hairston witness protection program off an on. At least with McLouth on the "DL" he can't use him as the absolute first bat off the bench each night. Still, seems to think that being left-handed outweighs being good at pinch-hitting based on his use of Espinosa off the bench last night. I know it doesn't matter more than 3-4 games a year, but it's just maddening to watch someone do the wrong thing almost every single time. I grew up a Giants fan watching Dusty Baker manage and he wasn't this bad. He was at least decent at mixing guys in and using his bullpen outside of the closer. Oh yeah, and players liked him. Never thought I'd say that Dusty Baker was a better manager than someone. Snowballs I guess.

Froggy said...

So Bryce 'tinkered' with his stance after the AB and lowered his hands in a slightly (and I emphasize ever so slightly) more relaxed position and had some success until about a week ago. Now he is back to holding his bat corkscrewed up around his ears (ala Rick Ankiel stance) and back to his old strikeout form. I wonder is there any Rick Schu input here or is Harper just up there flapping.

Froggy said...

@Harper, really that this was a good post and interesting stat the 'aggregate OPS of opponents faced'. What do you think accounts for that when presumably each pitch faces generally the same line-ups, or could it be that most teams poo it their A list guys in the order when facing opposing teams starters 1-3 and rest more when facing starters 4-5?

Curious your Autonomic statistician thoughts on why this might be.

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