Nationals Baseball: Let's play One and Seven-Eighteenths!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Let's play One and Seven-Eighteenths!

The Nats had the rare "suspended" game last night as they rightly figured they could sneak in enough innings to make it official, but were screwed by the fact the Nats and Yankees were tied at the time it would matter. The fact they started the 6th was kind of a joke, but when you tried hard to force the game in, it's too tempting to think "Well if the Nats can get the Yankees out quick and then score right away..."

So what do the Nats do? Well in theory tomorrow is an offday so they should have their full pens and what they do today shouldn't really matter. In practice though today looks spotty so you have to consider the possibility that there will be a game tomorrow. That's ok for the Nats (only Wander Suero might be out for that one) but it also would set up several pitchers who would have pitched in back to back games going into a stretch of six straight. It's a tricky thing to manuever around. Even if they do play both games tonight, it's very rare to see the same guys pitch in both games. The question then becomes how do you split up Kintzler, Madson, and Doolittle? How do you do it knowing Scherzer is on deck?

What I would do it try to Wander Suero the first game till it's finish. Three innings is probably too much but two shouldn't be and maybe you get lucky with quick swings from guys that know they'll have to be forced into some scheduling acrobatics if they don't end this game here. If he throws too many pitches - you go with one of KMD depending if you are winning (Doolittle) or close (one of the other two). If you aren't close (in either direction) then anyone else can pitch the top of the 9th. But Wander gets two, even if he gets in trouble. Consider it a learning experience.

Game 2 then you just treat as a normal game with Suero and whoever else pitched not available. Ideally Scherzer goes deep enough and the game is settled enough that all you need is the two of KMD you didn't use.

There are ways this can break down sure. Suero can be sitting at 33 pitches with one out and men on in the 8th. You'd have to pull him. Either game can go extra innings. The second game can also get suspended, or feature multiple rain delays. Scherzer can get knocked around, I suppose. But I kind of feel this is the best plan. Use one pitcher to eat up as many innings in G1 as possible (Suero makes the most sense to me as he pitched yesterday and thus already had his rest clock reset.)

Interesting game last night where it felt the Nats were both lucky to be in it (Gio seemed to be on the brink of giving up runs every inning) and unlucky to be only tied (the Nats were hitting Tanaka hard, especially early).  It was kind of fun it was leading to a tight finish but oh well. 162 games means 162 chances for something to happen.

28 comments:

cass said...

How about "starting" Scherzer when the game resumes and have him keep pitching until he gets to 100 pitches, either in the resumed game or continuing on into the second game as needed? You'd have all bullpen arms available and we have two offdays this week so the rotation should be able to hold unless I'm missing something. It's a tie game against the yankees - use your best pitcher? That's Scherzer. It's his day to pitch anyway.



Mainelaker said...

I don't know that you want Scherzer sitting around for half an hour or 45 min. between games. Maybe if he throws a simulated inning in the batting cage between games. I wonder if Hellickson could give a couple innings since he only threw 60 pitches Sunday.

Josh Higham said...

I like Mainelaker's idea. Let Hellickson throw slop for 3 innings and hope you can win a game where you have 4 innings to hit and the other guys have 3, then use the off day to jiggle the rotation so that Hellickson gets 3 days rest after this, and no one has to go short.

BxJaycobb said...

I wouldn’t screw around with Max that way where he sort of takes a long break between games (it’s equivalent of like a long rain delay right?) then starts game 2. If max hurts himself the season is over. And you don’t want to only get 3 IP out of him in game 1. If there’s no break and they immediately start game 2 then maybe there’s some sense to it. Although I’ve never heard of that strategy.

Ole PBN said...

Yeah, its too risky to have Max sitting around between games. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if the Nats are just going to wave the white flag with Carlos Torres out there for the short game and be fully loaded for the full game. It's one game, doesn't matter - but interesting and fun to analyze nonetheless.

MAT Daily Update: Stevenson got the start in CF and got a hit. MAT did some cage work, whiffing on the first swing off the tee.

PotomacFan said...

Stevenson also created the dropped fly ball, that lead to an unearned run. Without that unearned run, the Nats would have won the game (sort of, kind of). Then again, it looked like Stevenson called for the ball, and Adams didn't get out of the way.

I assume you are joking about MAT's cage work.

mike k said...

I think this is one of those few instances where defense over offense would've made the difference. I like Mr. T's take in the previous thread. I know Stevenson was the "centerfielder", but jeez, he ran right in front of someone TWICE who was literally standing there camped underneath for whole seconds.

I like the Hellickson idea. I also think they shouldn't even try game 2 if it looks like rain might be coming. Just do it tomorrow in that case. (If that's the plan going in then maybe I'd go for 3 innings of pen over Hellickson).

Jay said...

Zimmerman's night at the park is Thursday night, so a day game is the only option for Thursday. I like MAT. He is one of the few people that hit last year in the playoffs. He is his own worst enemy and needs to stop thinking too much and just play. I also agree that MAT makes that play in the outfield. Of course, Stevenson drove in a run which MAT might not have done.

My big take away from last night was that Gio hasn't changed any. Typical Gio against a good team, or aka playoffs, working around impending disaster all night. Finishes 5 innings, tie game despite his team giving him some runs. He gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, lots of walks. This leads to a question - do the Nats go get a legitimate playoff number 3? I read they did make a push for Arrieta but he wanted to go to Philly and be "the guy". Can't fault Rizzo for that.

Ole PBN said...

PotomacFan - wasn't praising Stevenson's defense, only noted that he got a hit. And yes, it was sarcasm on MAT's cage work... ahhh but... would you be surprised if were true? Hmmmm?

Mark said...

Tonight's pitching debate is probably moot, as Rain is 80% likely.

PotomacFan said...

I wouldn't be surprised it MAT swung and missed in the cage. But I'll bet he hits like a monster in the cage. But when he faces real pitchers in a real game in front of real people, he struggles mightily. If/when Murphy and Eaton return, I think I'll be okay with MAT being a no-hit, strong defensive center fielder.

Nats will have to make some tough decisions at the trade deadline. Do they focus on (1) middle relief (yes!); a number 3 starter for the playoffs (maybe); and/or a catcher (probably not, if Wieters is healthy). Unfortunately, they have few minor league prospects to trade. Soto and Robles aren't going anywhere. No one else is worth anything.

And finally, will we see Austin Voth this year? He's at AAA. His ERA is rather high, but his WHIP (1.200) is fine, and he's striking out a lot of batters and not walking any. The stats say he's pitched 25 innings in 7 starts. That looks awful. I'm wondering if that is correct.

Ole PBN said...

I don't know about Voth. While he isn't walking people, he ironically had his two worst starts following his 10-minute call-up to the bigs. Crazy speculation to think that it messed with his confidence being sent back down, but since none of us know anything anyway - I'll put it out there. Regardless, I think he's pitched well enough throughout his career to have shot at a spot start. Maybe should have gotten the 5th starter gig over Cole IMO. And regarding the 25 IP in 7 starts, I think its typical for a minor league SP to go no more than 5 innings per start. The fact that he went 1.2 and 0.2 over his past two starts makes the 25 IP in 7 look more glaring than it actually is. I'd like to see some of these young guys follow Suero and get a shot in the pen, instead of some random guy posing in a baseball uniform (Carlos Torres).

JD said...

@Harper as a fellow Yankee fan, who do you think needs the the wins more? Best case scenario is a series split?

Anonymous said...

Just to make conversation: why not have Roark pitch the last innings of the suspended game? It was his scheduled day to pitch before they bumped up Max, and with the off-day Roark can slot right back into the rotation next Monday on normal rest.

G Cracka X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G Cracka X said...

@PotomacFan I agree that Robles and Soto are untradeable (unless they get an offer they can't refuse), but Carter Kieboom (Carolina League Player of the Week!) and Erick Fedde would have value on the trade market.

PotomacFan said...

I don't think Fedde is worth much.

I suppose Tanner could pitch today, although he won't have done the necessary prep. But, Tanner's been the go-to guy for messed up schedules for years. Max and Stras need to do their routines, or they can't pitch. Tanner doesn't get a choice -- and he doesn't complain (at least not publicly).

JE34 said...

^^^ one reason why Tanner is one of my favorite Nats. The guy just does whatever, suffers comparative indignities and keeps on truckin.

JE34 said...

@Jay - ***getting ahead of ourselves*** but IMO you start Gio in playoffs if he has favorable matchups (a team like the Dodgers), knowing you'll need a pallet of Tums at the ready. He has gotten into and out of trouble reasonably well thus far, but yes, good teams won't let him get away with that as much.

Gio is averaging a walk every other inning pitched. That's... a lot. Thankfully his Ks are up, and HRs are down.

To me, Tanner is a fine 3rd starter, if this crew makes the playoffs.

BxJaycobb said...

To me, Gio had his last chance last year to be a quality playoff starter. The guy has blown like 3 separate large leads in enormous games through walks and shoddy pitching. His performance in that on game vs Giants in 2014 was one of the most pathetic meltdowns I can remember. I go with Tanner before Gio. (But they probably need another starter).

Fries said...

Weiters underwent surgery for his hamstring. I'd say for all intents and purposes, his career with the Nationals is over.

Now do we stick Severino or go out and get Realmuto (or even bring back the Buffalo)?

Ole PBN said...

Gio is such a unique pitcher. Similarly to what critics of Kershaw say, but to the extreme. Gio is durable and generally pretty good in the regular season, especially for a #3. But he is a meltdown-waiting-to-happen in October, not typical of a quality #3. So what do you do with him? He's in his last season with the Nats, so do we go in a difference direction? Without breaking the bank, are really that much better off? Durability is tough to come by - we never have to worry about Gio hitting the DL. He really handicaps us with his postseason blunders because otherwise, I'd say we've had a bargain of a #3. Truthfully, I opt for a different direction this offseason or pick someone up at the deadline. Having Gio start a playoff game puts all the more pressure for us to win the Max & Stras games.

DezoPenguin said...

I would absolutely put Even-Year Roark (seriously, I'm surprised he didn't come from the Giants organization) ahead of Gio in a playoff rotation unless the opposing team is 2016 Dodgers levels of bad at hitting left-handed pitching. (I'm reminded of 2016, when Roark was the clear #2 ahead of Gio; the problem there was Strasburg being hurt.)

Weiters' hamstring surgery seems rather like addition by subtraction. We have to pay him, of course, but that was a sunk cost, and at least when he's hurt we don't feel obliged to run him out there in the lineup.

Thus far, Severino has been roughly league-average with the bat and good on defense, which is kind of amazing. The problem is that we have negligible depth and Severino's MILB track record doesn't suggest he'll keep a c.100 wRC+ bat. Unfortunately, competent starting catching seems to be at a premium this year (the Red Sox and Diamondbacks, for example, have performance thus far that make even Weiters look good), so if the Marlins and Rays want to sell, it'll very much be a seller's market

PotomacFan said...

With regard to getting a better catcher, the Nats don't really have anything to sell. And I think the Nats need middle relief, and maybe a #3/4 starter (for the playoffs) more than they need a catcher.

Anonymous said...

@PBN

Gio is a usually pretty good guy prone to random meltdowns. We forget about the regular season ones because they get evened out. There were some regular duds (and an okay postseason game!) in 2012 before he and Storen became co-scapegoats forever.

BxJaycobb said...

I have to say, I don’t think loss of Weiters is a big deal. He was one of the worst players in MLB. Not a good defender. And a terrible hitter. Severino is a better defender and has been league average (superior) hitter. He may and likely will regress, but I actually think that this forces the Nats to (1) give Sevy an extended opportunity to be the man and (2) go get another catcher outside org. Two things they should’ve done to start the season IMO. It’s not true that they don’t have anything to sell. They just don’t WANT to sell their players with value.

JDBrew said...

Thinking of Gio, why not try to extend him a couple of years? I can’t imagine he’d draw a huge payday on the open market, why not try to keep him? Maybe he won’t be a #3 starter over the next few years, but he’ll likely be better than any #4 or #5 we’re likely to have.

Thoughts? Is there any chance they’d resign him?

Ole PBN said...

Gio does succumb to epic meltdowns, regular season included. The difference is macro/micro, when you compare regular season vs. postseason. I'd bet he's 5x as many regular season meltdowns as he's had in October - doesn't matter. The point is, he's our #3 and I think it's an odd predicament to be in when you cannot count on your #3 to perform in the playoffs. He's a quality arm overall, when you look at the numbers after he's had 30 starts under his belt. I'd say to resign him though, and yes JDBrew, probably better than any #3/#4 we're likely to have. We don't have the trade chips, and won't have the money if we want to bring back Bryce... tough decisions ahead. That's why they have to make the most of their time in the limelight - hasn't happened yet.