Nationals Baseball: Quick Additional Thoughts

Friday, September 09, 2016

Quick Additional Thoughts

On Strasburg's initial diagnosis and other stuff. 

Yesterday, some eagle eyed genius noted that Strasburg was initially diagnosed with a flexor strain... in 2010 before Tommy John.  Yep.  So don't count your chicken before their wing joints are given a second look over. However, it's also worth noting that the Nats pretty much called for the second MRI in 2010 within 48 hours of the first one. They didn't have much confidence in the initial diagnosis. They don't seem to be heading down that path with this injury. The review today is really just a second set of eyes.

I bounced around and no one thinks Strasburg will pitch again this year.  An extreme optimist could in fact put him back on the mound during the NLDS but I don't see how the Nats can justify that, not with their "overabundance of caution" approach.

If you are curious Max Scherzer has NEVER started a game on less than 4 days rest and all his regular season less than 4 days of rest relief appearences took place in his rookie year. He does have 2 relief appearances with 3 days of rest in the playoffs. In 2011 he came in in relief of Doug Fister, faced 6 batters over 1 and a third and gave up two singles. In 2013 he came in relief of Fister again. In his first inning he gave up 2 singles and a run. In his second he gave up a leadoff walk and then a double but was able to strand them there.

1,1,1,4,2,3,4,3,4  These are the number of runs scored by the Nats in their last 9 non-Atlanta games. The Mets (good) are in there but so are the Phillies (not good) and the Rockies (also not good). It's hard to read given those ATL games are there but basically Zimmerman  (now hitting .217 / .274 / .379!) is a real problem. Robinson (.125 / .176 / .125 in past 2 weeks) isn't helping. Neither Ramos (.194 / .240 / .280 since August 9th)  or Espinosa (.198 / .294 / .302 about same time frame) has hit for a month. It's going to be hard to go far if someone doesn't turn around here and who do you like? This shouldn't surprise you for Zimm or Espy, so I guess Ramos? I mean, he was due for a drop but he's better than this.  Thing is he's getting up to his max PA for a season since 2011 and last year when he got to the end of the year he died as well .189 / .206 / .305 in Sept/Oct. So there is reason to believe that this is just how this season (still great, mind you) is going to end for him.


Unknown said...

Move Murphy to 1st and let Drew get some regular AB's at 2nd? Cannot be any worse than the withering husk of Zim.

Hoo said...

Zim has declined last few years but always had that streak of his where he could carry the team for a month. Not even close this year.

You got any comparison where a player just falls of a cliff like this? Rebound possibility?

With $50 Million in Stras, Zim, Werth in 2017, there's not a lot of wriggle room if Lerner sticks to their usual payroll trajectory.

Robot said...

Werth to leadoff, more days off for the Buffalo.

Let Turner bat twice in the order - once for himself and once for Zim - and get Danny to focus on raising his HBP numbers.

Glad to see that Rendon is hitting again and Bryce, though not yet BRYCE, is no longer bryce.

Robot said...

Also, Rizzo should just *dangle* MAT in front of Dan Duquette just to see if he bites. I mean, we don't need another shortstop, but I'm sure Dusty could work in Manny Machado somehow.

Fries said...

Can we just have Turner and Murphy alternate in the lineup (Give Bryce a slot for the odd number)...that would be great

Anonymous said...

I love it when Bob Carpenter says "the Nationals policy is not to give out injury information during games." The Nationals usually don't give out truthful injury information before games, during games, after games, or on off days!

If Mike Rizzo didn't tell lies, the man would have almost nothing to say at all.

Jay said...

The injury back in 2010 was a flexor tendon strain (key word tendon). Also, they pretty much said that they weren't sure and wanted to get another MRI back then. The story goes that once they knew they didn't want to spoil the Harper news conference (he signed after being drafted), so they released the information a couple days later than usual.

The only thing that is worrisome is that the same trainer that diagnosed this diagnosed it in two other guys while in Cinci. I worry that it is some kind of go to diagnosis when he's not sure. However, he seems to be quite sure about this. Strasburg is going to see ElAttrache in LA (I believe) to get a second opinion. That is standard operating procedure for the Nats. I think it is just too early to say if he can come back or not. Andrew Miller missed a month, so theoretically Strasburg could be back by the end of the NLDS or beginning of the NLCS. I do agree that the Nats are conservative, so he very well may not pitch again this year.

I trust Matt Latos over any of the young guys, but we still have 4 weeks to figure it out. I agree with what Dusty said. The roster is what the roster is. We got lucky that Papelbon imploded just prior to the trade deadline instead of after. We were a little unlucky that this happened after 8/31. It's still not the end of the world. The Giants won 2 years ago with the stalwart rotation of Bumgarner, Peavy, Vogelsong, and Hudson. Hudson and Peavy both lasted like 3 innings each in the World Series. They won anyway. The Nats need to rally around this and win anyway.

Finally, I agree the offense is concerning. Zim and Espinosa still can't hit, likely may not ever hit at this point. Ramos looks like he is crashing back to Earth and has looked bad at the plate for a while IMO. A lot of ground balls to the left side. Maybe Bryce will step it up in the playoffs like he did in San Fransisco. We'll see. Playoffs should be fun, and sure beats the alternative of the odd year Nats sitting at home.

Mythra said...


Strasburg's ERA since July 4: 5.44
Gio's ERA: 4.40
Combined ERA of Lopez, Giolito, and Cole this season: 4.59

Thanks to Eddie Matz@ESPN for the stats.

While I think the upside of Strasburg coming back is much more appealing than having any of the 3 rookies pitching, he's been off his Cy Young pace since his first trip to the DL for his back issues.

So, we are losing our #2 starter and getting an average #5 starter (Rookies by committee) and average #4 starter (Gio) bumped up to #3. Tanner is more than enough to be a #2 or #1 anywhere else in MLB that doesn't have Arietta or Kershaw. If Ross can somehow come back to near his form before his shoulder issues, he's more than an average #3 starter and Gio becomes the 4th starter, where he naturally belongs now.

As for the hitting, Ramos needs vacation days. PH days while Severino and Lobaton play behind the dish. Get him some rest and a few reps a week, and I think he'll bounce back to near .300 BA form. Drew should get a chance to get his swing back, and one can hope that Zimm catches fire like a Metro station between now and October, but I'm seeing an injured man growing old quickly. Clint is exposing what happens when bench guys get scouting books against them.

Also, I know he's been awesome all year, but Murphy needs some time off while Difo and Drew are up. Get him off his legs and just enough games to keep his eye sharp. I'm worried he'll get fatigued in October.

JE34 said...

If I'm facing the Nats in the playoffs... I'd rest my normal rotation and call up three unknowns from AAA. I feel like Jerry Seinfeld saying, "Who are these people?"

John C. said...

I thought that was Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid ...

WiredHK said...

There is a hidden urgency (to me) to truly ending the division race (I know it's all but over, but bare with me) sooner rather than later. Getting that magic number into the 7-8 range by the end of the Mets series and popping champagne in Miami would be ideal. All of these guys need rest soon, and then enough leeway to get sprinkled back into the lineup in the last few games (or series) of the season to get warmed back up.

I'd like to see Ramos, Espy, Murphy and Werth all get extended time off. Harper and Rendon I'm not as worried about, but resting every third game for them would be good, too. Get Turner all the ABs he can handle but use Revere and see if we can get him hot somehow. For the love of God, this guy is fast and should be a high average hitter. If he caught fire, you might be able to use Espy purely as a bench guy in the post-season...(I know, I'm dreaming).

G Cracka X said...

Is Latos eligible for the post-season roster since he was a September call-up and not on the 25-man roster on 8/31?

Ric said...

I will be delivering the lineup card before tonight's game, in case someone wants to put a face to all the bad comments I've left in the last year.

(A year ago last month I announced "Play Ball!" and the Nationals won their last of their 10-game win streak. Hopefully this time I will herald the beginning of another win streak.)

NotBobby said...

G Cracka X - you just have to be in the system to be eligible. So someone from low A could theoretically be put on - it has nothing to do with he 25-man roster. That is the way I understand it

Fries said...

@G Cracka

I think the Nats could stick him on there as long as he is replacing someone on the DL who was on the 25-man roster, but don't me quote on it

Fries said...

that is, it can't be replacing someone on the 25-man because they are stinking up the joint, they'd at least have to be on the DL for "fatigue" or something

Sammy Kent said...

Does anybody still want to seriously argue that the Nationals' offense isn't anemic....or some other similarly descriptive term like awful?

Anybody looking at average runs per game is fooling themselves. Watch the games and see how many runs are actually scored night after night. The Nationals have more than most of their share of four game or longer spells where they'll score 2, 1, or 0 runs, then unload for 12 or 14. You can average four runs a game and lose three out of four to a team averaging three runs by scoring 2, 2, 2, and 10 runs while they score 3, 3, 3, and 3.

I'm honestly beginning to think these guys are just out of gas. The long season has caught up, and they're worn out. Only Murphy is still kicking with the same vigor of April. Bryce hasn't been BRYCE since June, Zimmerman is never going to hit or be taken out of the lineup for more than one game, Ramos is returning to earth, Danny already has long ago, and Trea Turner can't bat in all nine spots. We better win two out of three against the Mets or there's going to be some serious puckering in the clubhouse.

BxJaycobb said...

Sammy Kent:
Whatever anecdotal feeling you have about Nats offense isn't supported by the data. They actually have the 3rd lowest deviation in runs scored in the NL (meaning they are one of the most consistent in terms of number of runs scored per game...they're not an all or nothing team). When you're a fan, like we all are, it's easy to feel like your team suddenly can't hit the ball when they have a down week when they're topping out at 4-5 runs a game. But this is a good offensive team.
Ramos I think needs real rest (as in...multiple days off in a row....he's exhausted like most catchers this time of year. I think dusty has actually played him too often). Harper has a shoulder injury and is playing through it. (See Verducci SI story from a few months ago.) anybody who has watched Bryce play last few years can tell when he's swinging without 100% bat speed and power. The guy can't pull his lower hand through the zone to create lift and loft on the ball. He's mostly going to be a line drive single and doubles is what it is. I don't think it's a coincidence that after a week of rest he was rejuvenated and now is back to grinding it out and slowing down. He just looks injured. Rendon has been our best hitter since the break (yes including Turner). Werth's fine. Espy is a hole in lineup surprise. Murphys fine although power has sorta gone. And then Zim just needs to be benched already. I mean good grief. How bad do you have to be to prove you can't play anymore? I would play Murphy at 1B and give Difo a shot at 2B. He may be a more productive option than playing Clint.

Sammy Kent said...


The data is exactly what Harper posted: "1,1,1,4,2,3,4,3,4 These are the number of runs scored by the Nats in their last 9 non-Atlanta games." If that ain't anemic I don't know what is. As I type this post, it's the seventh inning of the fourth game against the Phillies and our production so far in that series is 4 (the last number in Harper's list), 1, 3, and 2 (Anthony just knocked Bryce in.) Now Harper nor you may not like my conclusions from that very straightforward empirical data, but I don't know how any objective viewer of the Nationals games can be satisfied or optimistic from what he or she is seeing when we're at bat. (Yay, just got a third one....on a passed ball, not a hit. But it's a run!)

I can assure you nobody will be calling me a gloom and doomer if this team actually starts SCORING four runs a game, because we'll win a heck of a lot more than we lose if we do. For all of baseball's complicated, extrapolated, convoluted statistics, most analysis is pretty simple: How many runs did you score today? How many runs did you FAIL to score today by stranding men in scoring position?

NotBobby said...

Latos better not throw a first pitch fastball to Reyes.

Ric said...

@SammyKent said: "The data is exactly what Harper posted: "1,1,1,4,2,3,4,3,4 These are the number of runs scored by the Nats in their last 9 non-Atlanta games."

The data is exactly what the data is. 3,3,5. These are the number of runs scored by the Nats in their last 3 non-Atlanta games.

The Nats have scored three or more runs in 8 of their last 12 games.

Do I want more? Yes. Is the Nat's batting "anemic"? No.