Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Phillies stink.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Quickie - Phillies stink.

The Nats did what they needed to, taking 3 of 4 from the Phillies. Anything less would have started the season not only a depressing 5-8, but with a losing record against a team the Nats, injured or not,  should roll over. It would have also increased the Mets lead to 5 games. Every game counts.

A lot of other things happened - here's my quick takes

Span is back!  Great! I've never been convinced Span was a good offensive player. Last year strikes me far more as a lucky peak year than a transformation to a bat you want in your line-up. But still Span is not a bad bat and I like him much better in the field. Even if Taylor is a great fielder Span has advantages it would take Taylor at least months to catch up to. He knows the speed of the major league game. He knows the opponents. He knows the different parks. Most importantly, he knows what Bryce and Werth can and can't do (and they know the same about him).  We've seen that lack of familiarity cause break downs in the outfield. That shouldn't keep happening now.

Taylor goes down! To me this is another "future" move when a present one would make more sense. The best 4th OF the Nats have is Michael Taylor. There should be no doubt about that. You can make a case that you want him to get regular at bats, but to me regular AAA bats hold no value for Taylor anymore. Keep him up. Get Werth (injury risk) and Span (injury risk) a day off every 4th game or so. Give Bryce (injury risk) a game off every couple weeks. In the end Taylor would be playing every other/every third game. Make this team as good as possible. Don't worry about making 2016 maybe a tiny tiny bit better (and probably not)

Yuney goes down (in another sense)! Yunel Escobar has been fluky good early on. That wasn't going to last. But he could be average or very slightly above. Why not? He hopes to be back on Tuesday and he very well might be. MRI showed no issues other than slight inflammation and for everyone but Anthony Rendon that usually works out pretty quickly. But let this be another warning shot across the bow for you. This entire offense, save Ian Desmond, is an injury risk. It's hard for me to consider any of these guys "mild" risks either. It's a precarious situation that makes winning when they are mostly healthy (like now) paramount.

Strasburg pitched great. This should not surprise you. He's a very good pitcher.

Zimmermann pitched poorly again. Is it velocity (it's down a bunch after years of stability)? Is it location (issues throwing strikes past two games)? Is it stuff failing (K's are down a ton)? I don't know. I'd give it one more start.  The Red Sox game was a game where he didn't have it - he was hit hard. The Phillies game? That was more control issues and some bad luck. Desmond doesn't boot another one, Galvis' broken bat flare doesn't fall in and it's 2 runs in 6 1/3 despite the walks and no one is really concerned.

The Mets suffer two big injuries. Jerry Blevins caught a ball on the arm and broke it. Catcher D'Arnaud broke his hand. The latter could be a quick recovery - depends on the break. The former will be a couple months at least. Wright is already out. So the Nats got 'em right? Well we only have to look back to the 2012 Nats to see that isn't the case. Morse missed 60 games. Werth half a season. Ramos barely played at all. Storen missed half the season. The Nats still managed to win 98 games. If the Mets rotation stays intact and they get some luck with injury replacements, they'll be fine... meaning they could be trouble.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was EXACTLY the type of game Strasburg tends to shine in (and pad his stats)

Donald said...

What's your take on the Marlins? At the beginning of the year, it seemed like they'd be neck and neck with the Mets. Are they really that much worse?

Bjd1207 said...

Yea his home/away splits are ridiculous, really don't understand it. It doesn't even seem to be that his stuff is different, he/Ramos just call a completely different game when they're away. This game was full of off-speed in hitters counts and blowing fastballs by 7/8 hitters. When he's away he throws nothing but fastballs when he falls behind and walks weak hitters with nibblers. Just don't get it...

Carl said...

They won 3 of 4 vs. the Phillies and of course I attended the one they lost. A non-obvious critical moment in that game was in the bottom of the 6th--with the score tied and Zimmermann not looking great, I was hoping his spot would come up so they'd pinch-hit for him (and maybe, you know, score a run). Instead we got the Lobaton-Uggla K/CS double play, Jordan went back out, and promptly walked Howard, which would eventually become the go-ahead run. Argh.

JWLumley said...

e tu Harper? Can we please stop with the narrative that Bryce Harper is an injury risk due to 2 freak injuries? Most medical folks (Stephania Bell is who've I've heard most on this) agree that soft tissue injuries are cause for concern that someone is injury prone. Tearing a ligament in your hand happens because ligaments have a limited rang and when you extend beyond that range, they break. Bursa sacks also aren't likely to cause recurring injuries in your 20's. Some injuries, like concussions can make you more prone to future injury, but nothing that Bryce has suffered. It's a faulty narrative that I expect from Thomas Boswell not you Harper.

With that being said, I normally would agree about Taylor, but Taylor's different in that his biggest issue is command of the strike zone, which is something you can work on in AAA. He just swings at too much out of the zone and puts himself in bad counts.

Also, I know everyone thinks the Nats made a great deal in the Souza trade, but I think they're going to regret it because Souza is going to be good and I think better than Turner. Ross is the wild card, but he's not someone I'm terribly high on.

I think the Philthies series was pretty much a whatever, they did what they were supposed to, but Zim's still not hitting (although unlike Harper who keeps walking, Zim is clutch!) and neither is Werth. Uggla should be DFA'd, bring up Difo if Escobar goes down, because I think Difo is a better player right now than Uggla and he's already on the 40 man roster. Cardinals series will be much more telling. Should be fun.

Anthony Rendon said...

Bjd
. Stras should shake him off a little more on the road or put lobaton in next road game that he pitches.
Anonymous
Stras is cy young against below average teams, and streaky against good teams. It's why he's going to get paid.
Harper
I take offense to that comment.

Froggy said...

I was scratching my head when I saw Taylor got sent down. The guy is 7/19 in his last 5 games regardless if it's leadoff or #8. I think he has great speed out there but has quite a bit to learn about the league, and how other parks play. But he isn't going to learn it in Syracuse. I agree that he is the best 4th OF option but Robinson is a big strong lefty and I think that made the difference. No doubt we see Taylor back up here soon.

Now, if we could just deal Moore...

(*select all the bread??...I thought the pizza was a trick answer. Being a robot is so much easier)

Kenny B. said...

I just posted on the previous post about the Taylor issue. Seems to me like he's earned the right to stay up, especially given the injury risks of Span and Werth (I'm less worried about Bryce, I think he's learned where the fence is and is getting better about being a little more cautious on the basepaths).

I guess we just have to wait to see what's... in the Cards? ...

I'll show myself out.

Zimmerman11 said...

Harper you nailed it, I was just lamenting having to watch Reed Johnson play instead of getting to continue to watch the development of Taylor. Another case of the team working on precedent and not thinking about what is actually best for the team. And my friends were just parroting "common knowledge"... that they want to send him down so he gets regular at-bats... that it'll be better for him and for the team long term. Why is this the general consensus? Isn't it ALSO good to be up with major leaguers? Learn from THEM? See better pitching?

Mostly I'm just selfish and want to see more of the new, young guy instead of the tired old vets...even if his numbers wouldn't be much better.

NatsDawg said...

Gotta agree with the Taylor sentiment. The guy could play every few days and give us 4 horses in the OF with plus defense on the days he plays for Werth.

Let him get exposed to the strike zone in the show, facing guys that are likely not going to be pitching to him in AAA.

Zimmerman11 said...

@JW ... If you think Souza is going to be better than Taylor, then I think you are right, otherwise, we filled a position of need with a high first round draft pick for a guy who wasn't going to start/was blocked for the next several years. Keeping Souza AND Taylor means you have to find another middle infielder.

Bjd1207 said...

And it's possible the Rays don't take that deal with Taylor instead of Souza

Harper said...

Anon - The good thing is those types count the same as those other types.

Donald - pitching staff issues were basically ignored pre-season. Everyone thought "Latos and Haren will hold it down until Jose came back" and didn't say anything about middle relief. Rotation looked ok but has little upside - at best a little above average at worst... you're seeing it. And if it fails then you get into the soft underbelly of their non-back of the pen. Add to that some slow offensive starts and some bad luck (1-4 in 1 run games, 0-3 in two run games) and here we are. They'll bounce back but if Koehler and whoever can't stabalize in the back of the rotation it'll be hard for them to keep pace enough that Fernandez' return will make a difference.

BJD - also could be Phillies being Phillies

Carl - eh I bet Matt let's him bat.

JW - bryce is an injury risk because of the way he plays. he's shown a tendency to go all out with no regard for his body. true, he has no injuries that you'd expect to return say running to first base hard or picking up groceries, but who's to say tomorrow he doesn't try to slide hard and weird to break up a DP and jam his shoulder?

Taylor - I suppose but I think the free swinging gives him a lot of his power. They tried to change Espy's take a lot, swing and miss alot approach and I think it was bringing him down (pre-injury)

Souza is finding his groove but he wouldn't be playing here either. They'll only regret it next year (or if someone goes down) I guess. They also NEEDED Turner. Desi's been terrible in the field but look at the bat they need to replace.

AR - Heal up and I'll take it back.

Froggy - we can deal Moore, Rizzo just wants too much back i.e. something more than a lottery ticket.

Kenny B - I'd rather he stay up then have to bounce back and forth if these guys get nicked up. Plus let's say one of these guys goes day to day. You won't call up Taylor. All of a sudden it lasts 5 gaames and you've had 5 games of Moore/Johnson instead of Taylor.

Also Booo

JWLumley said...

@Z11 I definitely think Souza is going to be better than Taylor, but I'm approaching fanboy status when it comes to Souza, so I don't know how objective I'm being. As for the middle infielder, I don't know that they've found their long-term solution at SS because Turner isn't a can't miss type prospect. I like him, love the makeup, love the speed and the glove, but the arm and the swing are concerning to me. Also, prospects are overvalued currently. Take a look at the BA Top 100 from 10 years ago, there's a whole lot of fail in that list.

Still, it's not even what I would consider a bad move by Rizzo, more a difference of opinion.

JWLumley said...

@Harper I think you may be right about Taylor, at least partially, but I think the key difference between Danny and Taylor's approach, is that Danny trends more towards 3 true outcomes type of hitter, but Taylor doesn't walk. I have less concern with swing and miss, than I do with swing at everything.

As for Souza, he wouldn't have had to sit until yesterday and they could've gotten him 400 PA's this year I think or they could have been even more ballsy and dealt Span (who I've been too hard on, but is an excellent defensive CFer and decent enough hitter). Even 1 year of Span could have netted them someone like Escobar if not better. Sure, it doesn't solve the problem long term at SS, but that's where dealing Strasburg for Addison Russell would've fixed things. (See I would be a great GM with all of my fake trades).

Zimmerman11 said...

Harper, please post two months from now, about how the Nats basically plan an entire month on the road after the all-star break, and how we couldn't afford to have fallen behind like we have... but are lucky that it's just the Mets we let jump out in front, so it's okay 'cause they'll tank and let us barely catch up...maybe.

Anonymous said...

Though I like Taylor and would like to see him up here for good, it won't happen with Span still here. The notion of giving Span and Werth "off every 4th game or so" doesn't bode well for the consistency of Werth, Span, or Taylor. Sitting Werth of Span that often is about as a good an idea of a football team going with 2 quarterbacks every other game...it hardly ever works.

BxJaycobb said...

The number of people on this blog who think they are pro scouts is hilarious. Nobody and that includes Keith Law knows if Trea Turner will end up being good. Taylor and Souza I suppose you can have an opinion on, but it's not going to be a good opinion. And Ross....ur kidding. That guy could be anything from a 2nd starter to a bust. If u think you know or are "high on him" or "low on him" you're literally full of it. Unless you have training as a scout and have seen him play in person.

JWLumley said...

Well Bxwhatever. I actually played baseball in college, got paid to play baseball in Asia, know a number of scouts, as well as several past and present big leaguers. I have seen Ross play in person as well as Souza and Taylor. I've seen enough video of Turner to have a good idea of the player as well as read people like KLaw, Sickels etc. All that being said, you got me, I am not in fact a pro scout. Mostly because I like seeing my kids and making a living wage. Congratulations to you! Do you feel so much smarter than everyone else now? You've identified the obvious! Yay. Let me go ahead and break the next big case for you, none of us have ever worked in a big league front office either. Perhaps you might want to consider that the guy who discovered the theory of relativity, wasn't a paid physicist and the guy who revolutionized baseball through statistics was working as a night Security Guard. Also, consider this: Ruben Amarro Jr. is paid a large sum of money to run a major league baseball team. The 49ers, a billion dollar company, are run by somebody's kid. Professional scouts thought so little of Mike Piazza that he nearly went undrafted. They thought so highly of Todd Van Popple that he skipped the minor leagues and was given a huge bonus (for the time). Professional scouts have given you Lastings Milledge, Willie Mo Pena and a host of other "prospects" we've all forgotten. Point being, just because someone pays you to do something doesn't mean you're good at it. And scouting is anything, but an exact science.

P.S. Keith Law is a smart guy, but I don't worship at the temple of KLaw and would dare say there are a number of people out there even better than him, he just happens to write for ESPN.

JWLumley said...

Oh, one other thing BxSummer'sEve, Just like KLaw and other pro scouts, I am often wrong. Happens, and just because someone else may not have played baseball at a higher level or know anyone in the game doesn't somehow make their opinion less valid.

Kenny B. said...

It is indeed kind of silly to show up in the comments section of a blog and start accusing commenters of lacking professional experience when they are openly and unambiguously stating that these are just their opinions (on top of the fact that it is the comment section of a blog, so that should be obvious).

Would you walk into a sports bar and accuse every fan there of lacking the requisite qualifications to discuss their favorite players? Maybe you would, but I wouldn't recommend it.

On a related note, I learned a lot about JWLumley today. Curious where you played, if you feel like discussing it.

Harper said...

Hey hey hey! Snip it!

Anonymous said...

The point is that many fans make proclamations about prospects with much higher certainty than is appropriate.

That being said, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, whether they're a scout or not. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding is worthwhile and should not be restricted to professionals (or baseball would not be fun to follow)

Harper said...

obv not Kenny B's q.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Do we have to go there?

And what's all this talk about Souza (OPS .463) being better than Taylor (OPS 814)? If Harper didn't say it, it probably ain't so.

I'm not a scout/robot.

Froggy said...

So what if someone played college / Asian ball or just goes to 30 games a year like I do, this is an opinion blog and people should feel safe enough to make comments even if they don't have man-crushes on Bryce Harper or Stephen Souza.

I come to Harper's blog because I get to hear a wonky sabermetric-ish take on things and I usually learn something and often find myself changing my opinion after reading other's take on things.

One thing for sure, it's no fun to get belittled or called names by someone who feels compelled to dominate the conversation.

Bjd1207 said...

@Anon (last one) - Where you getting that OPS number for SOuza? I'm reading about... .906 for him for the Rays so far this year. He's been hitting well for them

Rob Dogg 29484 said...

I have no great insight to offer, but just wanted to say that I love this blog and I come here to discuss my favorite team with other baseball nerds. There's not too many of us left nowadays. I'm also not a scout or a robot. Peace!

Anonymous said...

Harper it's your worst nightmare (the 2nd name from top):

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CC-J_oUWYAAFAgo.jpg

Anonymous said...

let me try that again - https://twitter.com/Nationals/status/589841935612928000

WiredHK said...

Things I think I know: 1) I don't think it would be very fun to discuss athletes and sports with Bxjaycobb (due to my own lack of credentials); 2) This sort of discussion happens on every sports blog and online community everywhere (and the guy with Bx's position rarely comes out looking well); 3) It's hard to resist "taking the bait" when a poster posts something like Bx did.

Carry on!

Jay said...

I was ok with the Souza trade. But you pull up TB espn team page and Souza leads all categories at the top - avg (.289), hr (3), obp (.373), rbi (10), and hits (13). Anyway, looks like TB is doing ok with that trade. We'll see how the end of the year is going. Also, I think Rizzo deserves benefit of the doubt on any trade (not that they all work out). But who said - ah we got Roark from Texas back when Guzman was traded. I figured it was the equivalent of get what you can. Everyone could tell Fister was a steal, but most trades take time. Turner and Ross are both highly regarded - let's see how they develop and the impact they make in the long term. If Ross is a #3 starter and Turner is the SS of the future then that trade is a no brainer every time, but we won't know for a while.

Zimmerman11 said...

I credit JW for not pulling up the first couple of weeks worth of stats and blaring "I TOLD YOU SO" on the Souza trade.

I was sorry to see Souza go. I beleive he would have been a valuable bench piece this year and injury fill-in who probably would have received significant ABs.

But I also beleive in Rizzo, so I'm banking on many years of contributions from Turner and Ross.

JE34 said...

In other news... Ian Desmond makes me want to scream. Just horrendous situational hitting. His current average is smoke and mirrors. Swinging wildly with one out and bases loaded. My kingdom for a hitting instructor. GAAAAH.

Chaos said...

Sudden recoiling relapse--Yunel heads for home and there's Span.....untucking. Nooooo!

DezoPenguin said...

Hey, it's entirely possible the trade works out for everyone: Turner turns out to be the next Ian (or the next Jose Reyes), Ross develops into a mid-rotation starter, Myers lives up to his potential, and Souza ends up being an all-star outfielder, and everybody's happy because they received value at positions of need in return for value at positions of a lack of need.

blovy8 said...

Watching Storen last night made me yearn to see one of the Fingers/Lyle/Gossage olde tyme 3-inning saves. Roark looked like his aggressive old strikey self that could have blown through that team with the extra couple of mph on the fastball he was featuring. Bullpen roles, matchups, bah!

whoops, wrong blog...

blovy8 said...

JE34, I was yelling at the tv that Desmond didn't have a situational bone in his body, too!

I think Ramos called a bad game last night, honestly. With the darting, reasonably good fastball Storen had, and a base open, why would you feature anything but inside heat to Holliday. Change up? Sure, he probably would have hit a broken-bat quail over the infield, but c'mon.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Must have been looking at spring training stats. Anyway, correct link is:

http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp?c_id=tb#elem=[object+Object]&tab_level=child&click_text=Sortable+Player+hitting&game_type=%27R%27&season=2015&season_type=ANY&league_code=%27MLB%27&sectionType=sp&statType=hitting&page=1&ts=1429711182091

Anonymous said...

Better question, why in the hell is Matt Williams pitching to Holliday with a man on third and one out? That's stupid managing. Put him on, pitch to Peralta, hope for the game ending double play... or a strikeout and then a pinch hitter for the pitchers spot.

Pitching to Holliday has got to be the lowest EV option in that scenario.

And Desmond. Jesus. All I could do was laugh from my seat as I watched him try to hit the ball 800 feet. Typical E'in Desmond approach.

JE34 said...

The Desmond situation last night reminded me of JV baseball. I was a lousy hitter... and I can remember facing a particular pitcher who would stifle a smile while watching me dig in. You know he's thinking, "this'll be quick."

Desmond is *not* a lousy hitter, but all the world knew he was going to get a steady diet of balls down and away, even with the bases loaded, because he has no patience and plate discipline, rarely goes the other way with a pitch, and because the Cardinals are well coached .

Desmond has elite talent... but someone please tell him to stop trying to impersonate Dave Kingman.

@anon - great point. "Players' coach" MW probably took the "my guy can beat your guy" macho/stupid approach, as opposed to using, y'know, rational thought.