Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, May 07, 2012

Monday Quickie

For me, there are two takeaways from the weekend :
  1. The Nats did what a good team needed to do at home when playing two ok teams. They won both series and ended the brief homestand 4-2.   So far this year they've done everything they needed to time after time. Next up is the Pirates and Reds. We'll look at it more closely tomorrow but 3-3 seems about right, though you could convince me of 4-2.
  2. Werth went down with a broken hand and is basically out until the All-Star break. It's a tough blow for the Nats but with Zimmerman and LaRoche coming back (we assume) this week, it puts the Nats back exactly where they have been all year. Trying to survive by pitching until the whole team is together.  So far this hasn't been an issue and coming up they have 7 of 10 games against the two worst scoring teams in the league (PIT, SD). 
I'm not concerned with Hamels hitting Bryce on purpose. Whatever. I'm not going to get all crazy about Bryce's steal of home which was made possible by a criminal level of neglect by Hamels and a terrible throw home by Nix. Whatever. Getting excited is one thing, winning games is another and this is more side show than anything else.
Some notes
  • The schedule has been very kind to the Nats.  The Braves, Cardinals, and Dodgers are the other best teams in the NL  The Nats have played 3 games total versus these teams and don't play another until May is almost over.  The Braves, Cardinals, and Rockies are the best offensive teams in the NL by far. The Nats have played 0 games total versus these teams and don't play another until May is almost over.  After the next 10 games, things will get tougher for the Nats. That's the next goal, I see.  Be first going into the Orioles series.
  • Sometimes it's better to be lucky - The Nats offense survived the last week by getting hot stretches from Desmond, Lombardozzi, Ankiel, and Tracy. That wasn't going to keep happening, but with LaRoche and Zimmerman coming back wer're assuming it won't have to.
  • The homers finally started to come for the opposition.  4 in the last week off the starters when it was something like 4 total going into the series. Pitching is still good enough so that these fallng now aren't going to make the difference between wins and losses, only incredible ERAs and very good ones.
  • The Nats may in fact have the same weakness as most other teams.  A soft underbelly of mediocre middle relief pitching. Of course with the starters pitching strong it's not much of an issue. They really only have to get to the 7th for the strong back of the pen to take over.


Positively Half St. said...

I think we learned this weekend that the team needs to think really carefully about handing the ball to Ryan "Soft Under-" Perry. He absorbed most of the beat-down all by himself last night.


DezoPenguin said...

Indeed, Stammen pitching out of the bases-loaded, nobody-out scenario was actually rather nice for the soft underbelly, and Mattheus and Gorzo and Burnett have all been fine this year (with the exception of Gorzelanny's one meltdown game in relief of Jackson's own meltdown game).

Werth's injury...ouch. The Nats' top four hitters all having injuries, including Morse not playing a regular season game at all (and Zimmerman slumping while he was in there) hurts a lot. Especially since Werth was the one guy not named LaRoche having a good year who could genuinely be expected to keep it up. Looks like we'll see a lot more of Harper in the bigs with two OF injured now...I wonder if Moore will start in Werth's place for a while, rather than Davey drowning us in a giant tidal wave of Nady?

Hopefully, Zmn and LaRoche can both come back strong against the Pirates. And that Espi gets his mojo back so that we don't have a 2B controversy with Lombo.

Hoo said...

I think middle relief is above average and well above with return of Storen. I'm more concerned with Clippard and to a lesser extent Lidge who will be asked to do too much. I'm a bit curious with Burnette not being asked to do much but that could be b/c of his back. In any case, weird situation that Nat relievers aren't being asked to pitch too much even with some extra inning games.

Harper said...

Let's say long relief then. And yes, when Storen comes back it'll be that much better.

brendan said...

Werth back at the all star break?? Now that's optimism if I've ever seen it. He's back in August at the earliest and maybe not (it's the same wrist almost ended his career.)

Wouldn't be surprised if he didn't rush back and missed the entire season, to prevent 2005 and 2006 again.

Donald said...

Zimmerman+LaRoche > Werth, so if those two come back healthy, the team won't be worse off. Still, it would sure be nice to be closer to 100% full strength. If Johnson doesn't go with Nady, then that probably means Harper in RF and Moore in LF. That could create its own defensive issues.

Froggy said...

Werth back after the All-Star break? I hope so, but wouldn't hold my breath. All depends if it is a break in the radius or ulna, one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist, or one of the metacarpal bones of the hand. There are a lot of little ligaments that crisscross the and and wrist and if ruptured, often have to be surgically reattached or repaired. See Colles fractures, Smith fractures, Barton fractures and Falling on the outstretched hand (FOOH), etc. Typically a reduction of the fracture and immobilization for 6-8 weeks is required then agressive physical therapy (normally). I hope we have some kick ass orthopods and PT's on the payroll.

Time for Rizzo to start wheeling and dealing is now. You are the Sabermetrics and talent expert Harper, who if anyone is out there we could go after?

Anonymous said...

Not a doctor, don't even play one on TV but from the Theismanesque replays, it looked to me like the break was pretty high up the wrist and Johnson said it was the opposite bone from what he broke last time. So All-Star break/late July seems possible. I'm guessing we see Corey Brown before any wheeling and dealing. Doesn't help that Lannan's now up to 6.10 ERA.


DCNatty said...

man...know we gotta tread water til the All-star break. Its funny how al lthe Phillie fans were making the excuse the first 2 games that they ewre missing Howard/Utley. Meanwhile the Nats were missing ZMM/Morse/LaRoche. Pumped we were able to take 2 out of 3. The Werth injury really puts a damper on what otherwise has been an awesome week.

DCNatty said...

just heard on the radio...Werth is out for at least 12 weeks. that sucks, to say the least.

Morse cant get back soon eoungh

Froggy said...

So Hamels admits hitting Bryce Harper on purpose to 'welcome him to the big leagues'...

...and he gets a 5 game suspension. What is that? Like he misses ONE pitching rotation?

Yeah, you are so old school there Hamels. Mr tough guy.

Donald said...

I have to agree with Rizzo on this one. If Harper had tried to show anyone up this weekend, I could see how a purpose pitch might be expected. But this was totally out of the blue. Why then? Why Hamels? It really seems low class to me and nothing about it was old school. Old school might be a brush back pitch or two if he crowded the plate. But drilling someone in the back needs to be because of some specific transgression.

blovy8 said...

I think we learned that "old school" in Philadelphia doesn't mean keeping your mouth shut. Ever. Last place? Let's go headhunting.

It's badass to give a lousy offense baserunners? Thank you for improving the scoring options rather than using what had seemed to be pretty good skill at getting outs, doofus.

One thing I'll say though, he got the same suspension as if he'd said nothing and everyone just "thought" he did it, like Jimenez in spring training. So he must have acquired "status" in the game.

Harper said...

brendadn - 10 weeks would be the week after the AS break. So it's not crazy optimism, though maybe with this team...

Donald - Moore won't start. He's that bad in the OF and without being sure he can hit or having an awesome CF Davey is going to have him as LH pop off the bench only.

Froggy - still to early for a deal Rizzo would make, I'm guessing. He'll ride it out until at least Morse is back.

Chaos - Corey Brown? Nah - it'll be Nady and Bernie etc etc Davey will play a Bryce but Corey (and Moore) ain't no Bryce.

DCNatty - I heard 10-12 but we'll see. Maybe for once they are giving out the worst case and letting fans be pleasantly surprised.