Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Quickie

On one hand, that was a damn ugly trip.  On the other, if you told me going in that Zimm would be out for the entire thing, I would have taken 2-4.  Plus they are still in first place and about to face one of the worst pitching teams in the NL in Arizona.  Maybe that'll be a little bit of a cure. For those down in the dumps think of it this way. The Nats were getting lucky at the end of games for a while now. The luck has evened out a bit.  The team is still 14-8 (100+ win pace). This weekend didn't suddenly make the Nats a non-contender.

Moore is up too now.  That's good. He deserved it and he makes at the very least a nice potent mash bat on the bench.  Though with Bryce and Moore up, expect to see a lot of games like yesterday, where the Nats help some pitcher close in on his career high in Ks.

As for the Bryce thing - since it's being treated as a move with no strong downside - I do want to go over the one way that bringning him up now could end up being a mistake.  If Bryce Harper gets yanked around from the majors to AAA for the next couple years then bringing him up was a mistake because you started his FA clock way before you needed to. I don't think this is likely. Anyone who saw this kid this weekend would have a hard time buying the fact that he wouldn't be able to stick in the majors until 2014 or something. I think anyone that would put money on that is stupid but there is a lose situation possible.

Other Notes
  • The Nats offense is currently Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and pray for HBP.   LaRoche is crushing the ball at a .435 / .500 / .826 pace the past week and Ramos is hitting .333 with a .500 OBP.The next best regular?  Ankiel with a .214 average. Espy, Desmond, Werth, Nady, Tracy, Lombardozzi, all hitting under .175 for the week.
  • Yes Ramos needs to work on his fielding - no it isn't that bad. I thought it was weird how seemingly H-Rod got a pass for what was indeed a terrible pitch just because Ramos' stabbed at it instead of shifted over.  You did see how Ramos was set up outside and the batter could have simply bent his knees a bit more and got hit right? There's a good chance if he moves like Pudge that ball still bounds away. I'm not defending Ramos, but the lion share of the blame goes to H-Rod on that play.
  • Not to harp on a subject but Desmond is back to hitting roughly what he has the past 2 years.  I wish Lombardozzi was the answer but he doesn't look like it.  The only positive is that with this going the way it is Danny should have all year to work things out. Espinosa is a top-notch fielder with good pop.  He deserves a long chance to stick permanently. 
  • Let's not forget why the Nats will remain contenders.  The pitching is still very very good.  Strasburg gave up a run, Gio 2, Detwiler 3.  You'll take that every time. And outside of the Sat night debacle the relief pitching was great again too.  No runs in 4 innings on Friday and Sunday and a shutout inning for Clip before the H-Rod flameout. (plus really H-Rod was one good pitch away from getting out of his mess.   Seriously I don't know how you overthrow vs Dee Gordon.)


DCNatty said...

You need to check the boxscore, or watch the game. Bryce and Moore may have been the only reason that kept Capuano from gettin his career high in K's. That game was miserable.

They had a combined 1K. and were repsonsible for half of the team hits. Thats more then embarassing for the rest of the team.

Ps. Ive been more then impressed by Harpers ABs. 9th inning AB yesterday was awesome. Wish the others could follow his example!

brendan said...

I'm never sure how to take the "he was one pitch away" argument. On the one hand, it means that he was really close. On the other, it means that he couldn't even get one pitch.

The fact that the Nationals are only 14-8 is astounding. If they had even a competent offense, a middle of the league (maybe even 14 in the league!) they would be probably be 19-3.

I'm optimistic about Moore and Harper--they can't hit any worse than Derosa--and probably won't do any worse than Bernadina and Ankiel are at the plate currently. They also add--hopefully--some youthful exuberance.

Harper said...

DCNatty - I wasn't being specific to yesterday (though I totally see how you could get that) I know they only had one K between them on Sunday, but generally you K-rate goes up for a bit when getting called up. Bryce K's at a decent clip and Moore strikes out a crazy amount. If they start every day I'd expect them to account for 3+ K's on average for a while.

Bryce's first two games make me wonder why he hasn't hit in AA or AAA. I'm curious to see how he does a week in when the pitchers are more prepared for him. Will he struggle or was that more a lack of focus in the minors?

brendan - it's a crappy argument to be sure, but I just wanted to note that the relief pitching as a whole was not too far off from being scoreless for the series. Kind of "yes things went bad, but I wouldn't worry about it".

Bryce and Moore - I say why not. If you want them to possibly be pieces to a big 2013, it helps to bring them up sometime this year. Why not now with all the bad hitting the Nats have?

Bryan said...

We lost 3 competitive games to the team with the best record in baseball.

I would have loved to win one, or come away from the trip 3-3, but honestly...

We lost 3 competitive games to the team with THE BEST RECORD in baseball...

So we aren't the best team in baseball. I don't think anyone thought we really were. And we don't have to be. We proved we can play with them, and that is probably/maybe enough to win the division. At the very least that should be enough to get us into the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

"We lost 3 competitive games to the team with THE BEST RECORD in baseball..."

You're an idiot. The Dodgers are an awful team, their record is a product of playing nobody good. We should have taken the serious easily, and the next time we play them we will.

No, the Nats aren't the best team in baseball, but they are a lot better than the Dodgers. We're one month in, anybody can beat anybody right now while players are still getting adjusted.

Anybody that thinks the Dodgers are for real and the Nationals aren't is an absolute idiot.

DezoPenguin said...

Honestly, watching the bullpen blow two games (G3 in SD, plus Saturday's meltdown) was the most painful part of this. Well, plus the fact that the losing streak isn't actually over yet. Really, we basically saw every starter magically morph into ZNN: great game, no run support.

Mostly, it's a stretch like this that raises fears that if the pitching backslides a hair or the offense somehow gets any worse, the Nationals will suddenly become the Pirates. Yes, our pitching *is* better (and given the talent level, more likely to sustain being better), but this weekend is an object lesson in not getting expectations high.

Still, though, the best offensive output the Dodgers could manage against us was four runs...FOUR! A team will win a lot of baseball games when four runs allowed is their definition of a *badly* pitched game.

Nattydread said...

We lost some great baseball. Harper debuting on a Strasberg start was a great PR opportunity. Lots of media attention on that game, which was like a coming out party. Nats all but won the game, with kudos handoffs from Stras to Harper to Kemp. That was great for the Nats.

Donald said...

We all knew there'd be some losing streaks over the course of the year. This hasn't changed my opinion of them yet, which is basically a great pitching team with weak hitting. The hitting will improve once Zim and Morse come back.

The next 16 games or so should be interesting. They should win a lot of them -- at least 10 - 6. 12-4 isn't out of the question.

Harper said...

Bryan/Anon - Bryan, your giving the Dodgers a bit too much credit. Anon, you're selling the Dodgers WAY short. They are a decent team with enough great parts to be in the pennant race. Fact is the league as a whole is weak. The Nats are one of the better teams and the Dodgers just swept them. The Nats may be (probably will?) finish better but you can't just dismiss the Dodgers

Dezo - That's the takeaway - pitching is still good enough to win your 80-90 games on it's own. Let's see what the offense can do.

NattyD - That's what I want to here from a Nats fan - rejoice over all the great baseball that's been played and that will be played

Donald - 12-4? Let;s take a look.

Froggy said...

Dwelling on the road trip doesn't change the outcome, but the Dodger series came down to three things IMO:
1. No run support (duh)
2. Henry Rodriguez meltdown. He gets one out and it's a Nat victory.
3. Matt Kemp.

I agree that the Dodgers are a good team but it easily could have been 1-3 or 2-3 series. That is the glass half full way of looking at it I guess. (Ever the optimist)

BUT a lot of talk of when Morse comes back and Zimmerman come back, etc things will be better. I dunno if our SP and LaRoche can carry us for very long. I say option / release Derosa and Nady and maybe consider trading for a bat in the interim? You are the expert Harper, are their any prospects on the market, or do we just role the dice with Bryce and Moore?