Nationals Baseball: Monday - super super quickie

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday - super super quickie

I'm not watching the eclipse (well I don't think I can completely avoid it) but I'm otherwise occupied. In quick notes

Strsaburg good! - Great. I want to see him do it twice on a regular schedule before I put it out of my mind and that won't happen next start either (he'll have an extra day off) so it'll be a while before I can assume health but there isn't anything right now that isn't positive. It didn't need to be a great start (though it really should have been) but it was.

Max hurt again! - At this point we're very close to hoping he just doesn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed right before the playoffs right? One is a fluke, twice is a pattern.

Werth and Turner rehabbing - as was pointed out to me Turner is stuck in rehab until the 29th because of a 60 Day DL thing. Werth is stuck in rehab because Kendrick has been real good. We've talked about pushing Kendrick out but Difo has also had a hot bat for a good long while. He does have some bad splits historically and he's not a "PROSPECT" so you'd sit him for Turner but it can be hard to stop doing something that's working. Of course "Oh no we have to sit our great performing back-ups to get back in our respected veteran leader and last year's nearly ROY" is a "problem" everyone would like to have.

OK that's it. Told you it was quick.

41 comments:

PotomacFan said...

What were the odds at the beginning of the season that: (1) Gio would lead the teams in Innings Pitched and (2) Zim would be only 2 games behind for Games Played?

G Cracka X said...

Death, taxes, and 2017 Quality Starts for Gio?

Remember when the team was poised to trade for Chris Sale, and then presumably they were going to trade Gio to balance the books?

2017 RA-9 WAR leaders:

Chris Sale 6.8
Gio Gonzalez 6.3
Max Scherzer 6.2
Clayton Kershaw 5.9

This is not to suggest that Gio is almost as good as Sale, but only that his overall results this year have been almost as good.

Only 18 more innings until Gio's 2018 option vests!

Natsochist said...

@PotomacFan, from Mark Zuckerman's annual Nats Media Predictions piece:

- Scherzer picked by all ten writers to lead the staff in Wins (ranging from 15-21)
- Scherzer picked by all ten to lead the staff in Ks (ranging from 212-285)

Nothing on G or IP, unfortunately, but that gives you some perspective on the first item, I'd say.

DezoPenguin said...

Zim's combination of health and competence has been a really pleasant surprise. Gio, though, I'm actually not surprised about. I'd have assumed Max would lead in IP (history of good health, regularly goes deep in games), but I'd have assumed Gio and Roark would battle it out for second on that list, since Gio's always been healthy, just not always going deep in games.

(What's intriguing about Gio is rather than his results regressing in the second half to his expected performance, rather his advanced stats seem to have come around and are catching up to his results. He's now at a 3.81 FIP and 2.9 fWAR. (4.25 xFIP, though, so at least some of his results are getting lucky in suppressing HRs.)

...Actually, looking at Gio's Fangraphs page makes me think that I've really been taking his quality for granted. Though his W-L record has always been meh, a guy whose *bad* year was 2.9 fWAR is definitely somebody I'm happy to have in the rotation.

Josh Higham said...

Last paragraph of DezoPenguin's comment is me every time someone complains about Gio.

Bjd1207 said...

Just to add to the love. By bWAR (baseball reference, but want to differentiate from fangraphs RA9 WAR) Gio is the best. Literally, the best pitcher.

Him and Scherzer are 1 and 2 after yesterday's game

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: I don't think anybody in the Nats organization or fandom is considering playing difo over a healthy turner. I mean. I assume not. Seems like a totally separate situation to me from Werth Kendrick, which seems relatively close call to me but I play Kendrick...the defense difference is too much to ignore given offense that is comparable even when Werth has his timing fullyback.

Anonymous said...

"Max hurt again! - At this point we're very close to hoping he just doesn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed right before the playoffs right? One is a fluke, twice is a pattern"

That does seem a bit incredulous. Could this just be a contrived excuse to give Scherzer a week or three of rest before the late season stretch. The Nats huge division lead affords them a you-dont-have-to-win-at-all-cost luxury not normally available to teams. So if you can afford the losses, why not ensure everybody is a fresh as they can be for the playoff run.

SB said...

I'm all for resting people to make sure everyone is healthy for the playoffs, but I'm not sure this is a contrived situation... Max is in the middle of another Cy Young season, and I think it was a badge of pride for him to have never been on the DL before this. I just don't think he would fake an injury or let the staff fake an injury for him. They just as easily could have just pull him early a few starts instead of having him go 100+, and give an extra day here or there to maybe cut out a start or two. The Nats are comfortably sitting in the two seed in the NL, so who cares if the middle relief blows a game in the 6th or if AJ Cole gets an extra start.

Anonymous said...

Depending on Trea's wrist, I'd leave Difo in at short and move Trea to CF, benching Taylor. MAT is the lesser of those two aforementioned. Kendrick should also get the nod over Werth in LF, assuming Bryce is back for playoffs, if not - then Kendrick in RF. The way Kendrick and Difo are hitting, they should be in the lineup everyday until they stop.

Also, none of this will happen. Name familiarity over production is the popular thing to do.

Bjd1207 said...

OK let's pump the brakes on Difo a little bit. He's been as hot as he's ever been certainly, and that hot streak has put him solidly at...83 wRC+. So maybe just August? Ride the hot hand? 93...He's got zippy power to speak of and doesn't walk much. Which means he HAS to rely on an elevated BABIP (.426 in August, .341 overall) to remain relevant. And while I was skeptical on MAT's sustained success, he's at least got power going for him in his profile.

He's done great for us, and I think with his speed and defense he'll be an asset off the bench in some tough situations. But there's no reason to call him a starter over MAT or any else of our regular position players, his offense just doesn't keep up.

ssln said...

I understand the argument of Kendrick over Werth buy you guys couldn't be more wrong about the situation. Assuming that Werth comes back and is hitting about 270, he will get the start in the playoffs. Anon it has nothing to do with name recognition. It has everything to do with team chemistry and WHITE MAGIC.
Werth is a team leader in the club house and is respected because he came here as a FA when no one else even considered us in free agency. True he got paid, but he played on some bad teams before we got good. The vets on the club want him in LF. Dusty understands team chemistry and so Werth gets the nod. You don't go into the playoffs messing up team chemistry.
As for WHITE MAGIC, the vets remember Werth's game winning homer in the playoffs. They understand this is his last go around (same comment I made about Edwin Jackson) and they believe he will come through in the clutch. The baseball gods have a way of smiling on wily veterans. If there is a walk off chance in a playoff clinching game, I would rather have Werth in the batters box than Kendrick--and I love Howie.

Bjd1207 said...

@ssln - If Werth hits .270 when he comes back then he definitely gets the start. That's not the hard question. The hard question is what to do if he comes back hitting .220, especially with zero power (see previous wrist injuries).

And what about the team chemistry of the past 2 months while Werth's been out? Why does the previous team chemistry trump the current team chemistry? I'm playing Devil's advocate, but I suspect the answer lies somewhere in Werth's veteran status (or as Anon was saying, name > production).

Lastly, if it's the walk-off you're banking on (which can't be a sustainable strategy), then keep Werth on the bench so you can pinch hit in those situations. Otherwise you're at the mercy of the lineup or using Kendrick in that PH spot.

If Kendrick is the better every day LF (to be seen once Werth gets a few AB's under his belt) he should get the start. And Werth's veteran presence and magical clutch skills will help us when we need him most.

JE34 said...

Maybe I'm just old, but what the hell is white magic? Sounds like a euphemism for cocaine.

Werth will have a very long leash, especially in September games that don't matter much.

Ole PBN said...

@ssln - I'd argue just the opposite regarding Werth. I don't care if he's hitting .270, if Kendrick is hitting .330 or even .271, Kendrick is who they should go with. You say it has nothing to do with name recognition and everything to do with team chemistry and "white magic"? That's a swiss cheese argument. Werth is a punk who happens to be a veteran presence in the clubhouse (which makes it all the worse). If he brings minimal value on the field (or if another player is better than him), I don't want him in the lineup. Fortunately for him, he has been a valuable player on the field for us.... on the field.

You say "he's played on some bad teams before we got good?" He came here in 2011 and we finished .500, the following year we were the best team in the MLB. That holds no water. You make the argument for team chemistry and I'll show you a man who throws his manager under the bus (MW), acts too cool for school, and sets an example for how our team handles itself. It’s a lazy, elitist, individualistic attitude that has been pervasive in our clubhouse since he got here. And it has been exploited again and again in the postseason. Look no further than to his response regarding his speeding ticket a couple years ago:

"One some level, in our society, people want you to be sorry - say sorry and apologize - that sort of thing. I would think that I'm sorry if I let anybody down. But I don't feel like I put anybody in danger." - Washington Post, 2.19.15

Sounds like a guy who's ego is too big for him to care about anyone else. I've played with guys like Werth at all levels, and when they are the leader in the clubhouse, the club benefits in no way. I've met him in person and his persona fits the picture I just painted compared to several of his teammates I've encountered. Don’t get me wrong, guys like this exist on every team, but they aren’t always the leader in the clubhouse, like Werth is for us. I can’t wait until someone else fills those shoes. I don't want to turn this into a bashing-Werth session, but I'd bench this guy if a better player came a long in a heartbeat. Somebody please tell me you don’t get an asshole-vibe from Werth? And you dubbing him "White Magic" makes him no better of a leader, a teammate or a player.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much to say about Werth's leadership qualities, but I will say this: sometimes a shitty manager needs to be thrown under the bus. Matt Williams was a shitty manager who did a shitty job.

I think it's fair to criticize Werth for being too cool for school (that, and not assholish, is the vibe I get from him). But I don't think he's lazy. He seems to be in quite good shape for someone nearing the end of his career. And unlike Bryce (who we all know is a much better player than Werth), Werth NEVER loses his cool on the field and gets himself tossed.

Keith Watts said...

Syracuse on the road until the 28th... I'm sure Trea will be on his way back to DC that day or sooner... won't get to see him up here during his rehab assignment. Not complaining... I HOPE I don't get to see him in SYR on the 28th. But was disappointed they're on the road (I'm sure Jayson and Trea are also disappointed to be travelling on a bus :)



Jay said...

I thought I saw something about Syracuse is off Thursday and Werth and Turner were going to change to rehabbing at Potomac this weekend.

Josh Higham said...

Trea is not eligible to come off the DL until the 29th, because they moved him to the 60-day.

Zimmerman11 said...

Yeah Werth/Turner going to Potomac on Friday apparently, that was news after I posted. Even if Trea hadn't moved to Potomac, I imagine he'd get a day off for travel/whatever and wouldn't be in the lineup in SYR on the 28th.

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly OK with going to see Trea in October instead :)

Sammy Kent said...

I hate losing last night's game, but if it will be the final straw for Shawn Kelley it will sorta be worth it. I've said since last year he needs to be on the soonest train out of town available. If Rizzo and Dusty can't figure it out after last night, they are blind and dumb. I don't care how they do it, trade or unconditional release or a rocket ship to Mars, just be gone.

On another subject, since I live in Woodbridge I may just have to DVR the Mets game and go watch Jayson and Trea play a few innings for the PoNats. That should be a real treat!

Kubla said...

@Sammy

I disagree. Kelley is having a rough year and may not ever be good again, but sometimes you need someone to throw out there in losing efforts or when far enough ahead that even a 3-run dinger won't hurt. That way, you can preserve your better guys for when you actually need them. They could bring in other replacement-level guys as warm bodies, but what would be the point? I doubt we'll see Kelley or Grace in the playoffs, and the Nats are just trying to coast out the rest of the season without any more injuries.

I hope you get to see those guys in Potomac. TT was playing for Syracuse last year when they played the Durham Bulls, and it was fun to watch him steal base after base (and kind of funny watching him try to chase down an obvious home run in what was one of his first games at CF).

Josh Higham said...

Kelley is a special kind of horrible this year, but he is under a biggish contract and might be less horrible next year, so I understand wanting to give him trash innings this year and hoping he turns it around in his walk (retirement?) year. And the Nats can play losing baseball until October and almost certainly win the division, maybe even keep first round HFA.

All those reasonable things aside, there's a primal part of me that would love to see Shawn Kelley sent to Mars until November or December this year.

JE34 said...

BTW, interesting read, given the handwringing about the Nats not getting Greg Holland, who had an all-star first half, but then:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-rockies-have-a-greg-holland-problem/

Robot said...

Not Nationals but baseball related - Very disappointed in the outcome of last night's Dodgers game. We were a wild pitch away from witnessing a feat even rarer than the perfect game - a complete game, no-hit loss.

Sammy Kent said...

I was seriously pissed at Dusty for switching Doo and Kintzler. I knew it would backfire. But how my heart rejoiced to see Tyler Clippard take the mound for the Astros!!!! I knew we were going to win then. Ol' Goggles did not disappoint. How the baseball gods did smile upon Ryan Zimmerman and give Houston a good dose of comeuppance!!!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Stick your challenge where the sun don't shine, Asstros!!!

Ole PBN said...

^^ agree with the Doolittle/Kintzler switch... what on earth was that for? Sometimes managers will put their closer in the game in the 8th if its a crucial point in the game (i.e. heart of the order coming up). But Doolittle was due to face the bottom of the order - so I don't understand the logic there at all.

Again, its not so much having the players to win games, but putting those player in a position to succeed. That's intuition. And not saying Dusty doesn't have any, because I think he often displays that he does have player intuition, but... what the hell was that last night?

Anonymous said...

I actually disagree. Bringing doolittle in to face lefties/ switch hitter that are worse right handed was the right move. Sometimes the right move does not work out but if you continue to play the smart move it will work out more than often.

Josh Higham said...

I'm with Anonymous here. Dusty played matchups using two guys who have closed this year. There really wasn't a wrong answer there, but we should be praising Dusty in managing a possible playoff preview game like a playoff game--roles be damned, get the outs you need.

Turned out to be a disaster, but only ex post. Dusty played the odds and lost, but he made a sound decision, ex ante. We can argue whether it was the best decision till we're all blue in the face, but it was certainly not objectively wrong.

Sammy Kent said...

If Dusty wanted a lefty in the eighth he could have sent Ollie back out. Ollie can go two innings easy, and he was pitching well. I think he would have been fine, but if he puts on a runner or two, then the option of bringing in either Kintzler or Doo depending on the matchup is still in play. If Ollie gets through the eighth and Dusty wants to get Kintzler a save, then fine. Doo is still available to come in and bail him out if Kintzler gets in a jam. In the end it turned out OK because we won....except that it cost Stras a three-hit shutout W. I know why Dusty did what he did, but his biggest advantage over Matty has been that he feels the game and doesn't stick with the on-paper odds come hell or high water. This move didn't have a good feel at all.

OTOH seeing Goggles on the mound in the 11th was a bagful of warm fuzzies. :-)

JE34 said...

Watching last night's game, I immediately extolled the virtues of using Kintzler in the 9th to my son, singing Dusty's praises.

"Inning ownership" is dumb. Mental prep to pitch in different situations is a great thing. Playing the matchups, it was a perfect opportunity to cultivate the idea of having two closers. (Neither one of them is a prototypical closer anyway.)

Of course it didn't work out. But if I'm Dusty, heck yes I'd do it again. I'd consider a healthy Ryan Madson in the 9th too, especially as unhittable as he's been. Dusty has the luxury of a fat division lead to do some experimenting with little in the way of consequences. It would be awesome to use all three new arms in situationally intelligent ways in the playoffs - let's try it all now. All 3 of them are veterans - they don't need coddling.

Kelley and Solis still drive me nuts though. I'd be happier with Clippard than either of those guys.

Jay said...

I think it had more to do with getting Kinzler to 30 saves. Dusty is a "player's manager". Anyway, I didn't like the idea that much. If you are going to do that then at least save Doolittle altogether and give him the night off. Use Solis or Ollie in the 8th. It is readily apparent that they really miss Madson right now. Which still speaks volumes for where everyone else in the pen is late in the game.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman's injured as well. Where does it end?

Sammy Kent said...

In the 13 games since Bryce was injured the offensive juggernaut that was the Washington Nationals is averaging barely 3.2 runs per game, down from their pre-injury season average of four runs per game. Despite that, despite three of the five starting rotation being on the DL, despite the stars named Murphy, Zimmerman, and Rendon slumping at the plate, and despite a season full of injuries that would have decimated virtually any other roster in MLB, they've gone 8-5 over that same stretch and despite playing half the season with the most wretched bullpen ever assembled in this or any other universe, lead the division by 12 1/2 games and are 26 games over .500.

I wish I could lose my pessimism....part of it is just conditioning from being disappointed in some way every year since 2012. I honestly think this team has lost six or seven games they should have never ever been in a position to lose; turning those Ls into Ws would have us at nearly 40 games over .500. Yet, with all the injuries it feels like the season is being held together with smoke and mirrors that sooner or later is going to go poof. Or worse, Dusty (even though I think he's ten times a better manager than Matty was) will make the same mistake Matt Williams did in 2015 and throw the second and third string guys that actually kept the team in first place under the bus to have Spring Training 2 in September for Jayson Werth and Trea Turner.

Just beat the Mets two out of the next three and I'll feel better.

ssln said...

Here is a thought. Will the Marlins overtake the Rockies for the second wild card spot?
With Stanton hitting a homer every other night and the Marlins playing in a division that has three other below 500 squads, my guess is they will. Colorado pitching is imploding and they still have seven games against the Dodgers.
Arizona against the Marlins in the wild card game. Will the Dodgers be able to beat the Marlins in a seven game series? Should be an interesting match up.

Richard Parker said...

Harper died. Just a rumor. Or maybe he's on a bender.

Harper said...

Or maybe both.

Josh Higham said...

Minor league rehab stint scout Josh Higham here with a Trea Turner update. Hit two doubles up the third base line on Saturday, including one where he took second running through an apparent "hold up" sign from the first base coach.

John C. said...

On the Marlins running the Rockies down for the Wild Card: well it's theoretically possible, but the odds are against them (Fangraphs has the Marlins at 14.5% for the Wild Card). Yes, the Rockies have seven games left with the Dodgers. That would have been more of a problem if it was over the last six weeks than the next five. The Dodgers will always be good, but they dropped a series over the weekend for the first time since June (against the Nats, oddly enough, in LA). Further, of the Rockies' 32 remaining games, 15 are against pretty dreadful teams (Tigers, Padres, Giants). Further X2, the Rockies play 18 of those last 32 games at home, where they are very tough. The Marlins basically have to pick up a game a week. It's doable, but it's a tall order.

And whatever team gets out of the WC game, they get to play the Dodgers in a five game NLDS series. Which actually helps - the shorter the series, the less predictable it is (and even a seven game series isn't all that predictable).

Sammy Kent said...

MAGIC NUMBER IS 22

Let's sweep the blankety blank blank Marlins and cut that number by 12....and keep them the heck out of the playoffs.

JE34 said...

@SammyKent - try being a Buffalo Bills fan for some real pessimism. They've basically made me hate football. Long stretches of residence in first place is sooooo nice. Playoffs being a foregone conclusion is awesome.

Here's hoping Giancarlo doesn't see a pitch in the strike zone over the next 3 days.