Nationals Baseball: See! It's ok!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

See! It's ok!

The offense didn't come through last night but the pitching was so good it didn't matter.

The team has an ERA under 3.00 now. That hasn't been done since 1989, or if you prefer, before Bryce Harper. (Oakland also has an ERA under 3.00 right now)

The Nats team ERA in the past two weeks is 1.34.  Let me repeat that.

The Nats TEAM Era in the past two weeks is 1.34.

Two days ago it was crazy that "Roaznnburster" (Name modified to bring out more Zimmermann) had an ERA of 1.42 in their last 2 weeks of starts.  Add in the past two games they've LOWERED it. It would now be 1.30 including those.

Yesterday we talked about the offense just being hot all at the same time. It's only fair that we look at the pitching staff to see if we can see anything that might suggest they are just hot as well and due for a cooldown. I hope it's obvious that the relief core isn't 1.00 ERA good or whatever it is those crazy kids are posting now. But they are really good and pitch so few innings who can say what they'll end up with. Let's focus on the starters. Casually, I can see two places where a very mild concern exists. Fister's HRs and Roarks BABIP.

Fister has given up 6 homers in only 43 IP.  That's a lot. Now three were in that same disastrous first outing so you can forgive that a little, but Oakland is also a place historically hard to hit HRs. After that he's been giving up a HR every other game or so. It's not bad, that rate will probably end up under league average, but as a GB pitcher I'd like to see him further away from league average. That's usually where he's been in the past. It's never going to kill Fister because he doesn't put men on, but it might rear it's head in close games in HR heavy parks, and given that his walk rate should go up (he's never been THIS good with his control) it's likely to bring his ERA back over 3.00 at some point. (1.83 since first game)

Roark's BABIP sits at .255 right now. It's a number that pitchers hit every year but the numbers that hit it are very very few. He's basically skirting the area where you can accept his talent put him there. Now, in his defense, last year he also put up similar numbers in both the majors and minors so maybe he has developed into this elite pitcher. But if he hasn't then he doesn't have the peripherals to keep him among the elite pitchers in baseball. He's good at a bunch of things, but not really great. He needs those hit balls to be fielded to keep that ERA as low as it is.

There you go - there's your concerns. You might have to watch Fister in low-scoring games and Roark is possibly (I'd say probably) not elite. It's a salsa only containing boiled tomoates it's so mild.



WiredHK said...

After your May 28th post, I commented on my disbelief that the starting pitching was coming around...unsure that they were, or that they were simply facing poor offensive teams. Boy was I wrong (happily). The staff wasn't just coming around, they were transforming into some sort of beast-like X-Man animal (which you have now named, btw).

My goodness, this is fun to watch. My work is suffering, staying up late for these games -- but it's must watch TV right now. If Soriano hadn't blown it in SD, would we be getting more love nationally? Anyway, who cares, just keep winning!

Jimmy said...

Roark not elite? (lights torch and begins to sharpen the pitchfork)

Chas R said...

Yep, Fister's pitches were consistently up last night and the Giants were uncharacteristically for Fister hitting a lot of fly balls. He battled through it though

The other BIG question mark is Gio. How will he come back?

Strasburg has the beginnings of an incredible season:

Rendowned said...

So are we just going to not talk about Ramos...

I know they said it was minor but this training staff typically does a below-average job projecting how long a player will be out.

Harper said...

WiredHK - definitely more love with a winning streak. Nats getting there again though - two more wins would do it.

Jimmy - Statenstein says Fire bad! (It has a WAR of 0.1)

Chaz R - Early last year I noted that Strasburg's combination of Strikeout stuff and control was historic... then he proceeded to walk more batters than ever and lose a little off his stuff. Still very very good but not special. This year both are back to being excellent and man we're seeing it.

Eric said...

Chaz, that Fangraphs article is fantastic, thanks for sharing.

cass said...

What's there to talk about with Ramos? If he's injured, he's injured. That wouldn't be too surprising cause this is Ramos. It's why we have Lobaton.

Kenny B. said...

The Ramos thing is worrisome, especially since it's his hamstring again. But at least there's a half-decent backup. It's the one injury (besides arguably a starting pitcher) that the Nats are particularly prepared for.

Post suggestion: Are the Marlins for real, and is their success sustainable? (I actually have a similar, though less interesting question about the Brewers). At this point in the season, I'm inclined to think they'll hang around barring a change in the status quo. The race is definitely on, and it doesn't seem too outrageous to think there could be three NL East teams in the playoffs this year.

Chas R said...

Love to see the Phoolies imploding:

DezoPenguin said...

The Marlins are an interesting case. Without Fernandez, I expected them to fall back into a solid third place, but somehow their offense is playing well, Koehler hasn't turned back into a pumpkin (maybe he and Roark have the same fairy godmother?), and they show every sign of being in it for the long haul.

Ramos...ugh. I hope this doesn't mean another month...or more...of the L&L Show, although having Lobaton around at least means "adequate ML bat" instead of "sucking chest wound" going into the #8 hole.

And good grief, Fister! I mean, I've always loved the guy as a pitcher and was ecstatic that we got him, particularly for as apparently little as Rizzo had to pay, but so far he's been 2011-with-the-Tigers-edition Fister.

...It's probably unsustainable that the entire starting staff has suddenly turned into Cliff Lee, but geez, it's fun to watch. (The way they've been going, Gio could come back, pitch *well*, like the good version of himself we've known for most of his time here, and still walk as many guys in his start as the other four do combines. That's just ridiculous in a "wow, it's great watching us be awesome" way.)

Hope Roark can keep it up tonight! *knock on wood*

cass said...

FanGraphs now has a new piece on the Nats walk-less streak by Jeff Sullivan.

So either you'll love it or you'll hate it depending on your feelings about the writer.

"It has to be noted for the record that one batter was hit, and a hit batter is like a walk, but it happened in a 1-and-2 count and it happened against Chase Utley, who gets hit by pitches when he’s making a sandwich."

So true.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

I'm confused with the Mexican/salsa references and analogies....

KW said...

Kickin' butt and takin' names! And #1 with a bullet in the NL East. More importantly, the Nats are now third in baseball in run differential, only three behind the incredibly shrinking Giants in the NL.

How long do we have to wait until we decide that Roark is legit?

Nattydread said...

Finally getting some love in the press. Schoenfield on ESPN.

Harper you are right. A sweep of the Giants will garner some attention. Even 3 of 4 with a good showing in StL will do the trick.

This team is playing like the one we had on paper in April --- minus BHarper.

DezoPenguin said...


Harper's basically saying that the pessimism and worries he has about the quality of the starting pitching are weaksauce ones, as opposed to being serious, 2011-2 Pirates ones.