Nationals Baseball: NLDS Game 1 review

Saturday, October 04, 2014

NLDS Game 1 review

This might be my least favorite time of year for baseball stories. This or Spring Training. A week ago we were putting our finishing touches on what we thought of these teams based on 6 months and 162 games of play.  Things like "heart" and "drive" were mixed in with actual provable facts to give us a pretty decent picture of these squads. Now one week and at most three games later those definitions are thrown away in favor of what ever fits what happened recently. Stupid. The Nats are the Nats. Angles, Royals, O's, etc. they are all exactly the same teams that they were arriving at this point.

Take Boz's column please. The Nats are a pretty sound club.  They did have an off inning that the Giants did not and that did cost the Nats a run. But the Nats didn't lose because they gave up that one-run.  They lost because they didn't score enough. That's the take-away.

First things first. Strasburg. He didn't have his best stuff. He only struck out 2 and that first inning as fast as he was pitching he was missing and giving up fly balls. That's bad news for Strasburg whose been known to leave it up and watch it get hit out. So he did what he could. He pitched. Belts fly out in the 2nd was the last fly ball he would give up. This type of pitching has its disadvantages. They will usually score a few runs. If luck is on your side maybe you give up just one.  If it isn't, maybe it's 5 in 6.  But it usually works to keep you in the game.

Key moments
Top 3: LaRoche goes for the big out on the bunt and comes up empty. Silly decision and not really defensible.  If you go for that play you have to make it and the result tells you it was too close to try.

Ramos' PB? Just took his eyes off it. Another unnecessary mistake. The combo of these two would lead to a run and if it weren't for a timely DP it could have been worse.  Stupid but these things happen.  It's hard to play perfectly game after game. To have them both happen in the same inning and only give up 1? I'll take it

Bottom 5: Ramos DP.  If you read the chat you may have caught how we were rough on Ramos for hitting into so many DPs. Good enough for T13th in the NL despite playing in 50-60 fewer games then a lot of these other guys. With Bryce's speed hit and runs have to be considered here

Top 6: Matt makes a minor questionable decision keeping Stras in after the lead off single but the bad call of the night is made next by Bochy batting Peavy instead of pinch hitting with a RHB.  Blevins was in and a LHB was next meaning Matt would have to at the very least burn a reliever if you pinch a RHB and at worst he might leave Blevins in to face a RHB. Peavy was around 85 pitches so it's not like you had a lot left coming from him.  Peavy hits though and gets out and then proceeds to not make it through 6th. This is a classic move of using regular season thinking in the playoffs.

Bottom 6: Span fails to move Scheirholtz over. I don't think you need to sac bunt with a man on 2nd and a .300 hitter at the plate. But that guy needs to pull at ball and Span couldn't do it. Does he score if Span is successful? Doubtful. But it's possible.

Matt's big mistake is this inning talked about it last post but this is where you pinch hit Zimmerman. RISP, lhp on mound, LaRoche your worst LHB vs lhp up. Perfect time. Matt doesn't and the result is neutral. LaRoche doesn't try to swing and Lopez accommodates him with a 5 pitch walk. Runs are precious especially in the playoffs especially later in games. You have to maximize your opportunities and Matt didn't.

Top 7: Just a note here. Boswell wants to put the triple on Bryce but I see it a lot like WR play. If you can get a glove on it, you should catch it. Span really should have caught it. It's not a knock. Not many CFs get there in as good a position, but still Bryce here is secondary. Also I would have used Barrett, but like I said.Stammen is ok here.

Top 8: Crawford screws up his rundown and gives Duffy no chance to get to 2nd. Thorton just comes at him and Crawford forces no throw. Very bad base running.

Bottom 8:  Laroche's "excuse me" single is a soft fly to no man's land. But Rendon is stuck at 2nd. It won't matter (Desmond's K makes it moot) but for a team that prides itself on base running its a thing that should have happened.

Bottom 9. Danny pinch hits. Yes he's technically a switch hitter but he's so bad from the left side that he shouldn't be used from there. Frandsen was the call. Danny should be a RHB facing LHP only ph.

The a Nats put them selves in a bad spot. While a series win is still possible the advantage has shifted to the a Giants. You don't want to have to win 3 in a row. You don't want to have to beat Bumgarner. You don't want to have to take 2 on the road. ZNN is better than Hudson. Nats lineup is better than Giants line-up. So while it's not a must win it kinda is. 


Froggy said...

My gripe with Danny was that he should have taken a pitch or two for timing and see what the guy has. He went up there with an 'I've got 4 more AB's so swinging at the first pitch is no big deal' regular season approach.

John C. said...

Danny is there in the 9th because the options (Frandsen, Lobaton) are only slightly more likely to get on base, but with two outs and no one on Danny is the most likely to ride a hanging slider out of the park. If there was a baserunner it wouldn't have been Danny.

KW said...

I couldn't believe Stammen was the call in the 7th, based on his last outing. I would have gone for Barrett or even Roark. It would be much better to use Roark in games that are winnable than as a long man after a starter has gotten shelled. (That's Stammen's job.)

Kudos to Blevins for a strong job cleaning up the mess he inherited. He validated his selection in that one inning.

Overall, the Nats didn't play that badly. But they didn't adjust to Peavy's junk or Diaz's liberal strike zone as well as they should have.

And c'mon, Boz and everyone else, give Bryce a break. He beat out an infield hit and then completely got the team and the crowd back into the game. He is the heart of this team, and the sooner everyone realizes it, the better. It's not Desmond, who looked so overmatched in the clutch that it's really hard to think about paying him superstar money to extend him well into his 30s. If he thinks he is that guy, then it's time to have more intelligent at bats in situations that matter.

The straits are not yet dire, but they will be if the team doesn't wake up today. Time to rise and shine and show Mr. Hudson who has what in their pants.

Zimmerman11 said...

game was a coinflip... we lost the first one. next four are coinflips. enjoy the ride :)

these playoffs are working out a little strange so far. the cards threw up 8 runs on kershaw? really? royals with three extra innings wins in a row? i guess the orioles lineup is just that good... but mowing down scherzer and mr. upton? good stuff so far... so long as ZNN and the nats even things up today... and someone kneecaps that Panik kid.

Zimmerman11 said...
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Zimmerman11 said...
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Bjd1207 said...

@Zimmerman11 - You nailed it. Desmond looked completely lost in 2 high leverage at bats. Quickly down 0-2 and then flailing at everything. Definitely needs to reign it in and play smarter if we wanna get through this series and he wants a superstar contract

Zimmerman11 said...

Time to exorcise some demons...

The power of Vlad compels you!

Kenny B. said...

I can't take this. I lack the requisite perspective.