Nationals Baseball: Gravy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was going to have a post yesterday with a mocking wager on how many hits the Nationals were going to have in the series. Then I saw Blanton was pitching and decided that would be stupid. It's odd to say this, but before last night I thought Blanton might be the most overrated starter in baseball because of all the "and this guy is pretty good too!" mentions he's been getting. He's at best a decent #4 arm, and it's hard to argue that he'd be ahead of Lannan or Marquis in the rotation.

Anyway the point was that the Nats could actually win last night's game depending if Livan was LIVAN! or not. He was and the Nats took it. Now anything else the Nats get in this series is gravy. I know I shouldn't say that but it's the great Halladay and that jerk Cliff Lee*. The Nats shouldn't win either of these games. Play with abandon!

*While you might guess that my hatred of Cliff Lee is Yankee related, it actually started post 2009 as a complete and total reactionary response to the sabermetric love Cliff Lee was getting. At that point the guy had been great for a mere year and a half, but because he was great in the way stats guys want pitchers to be great they were fawning all over him rather than saying what they should be - "Hey! Small sample size!" It only got worse last season as he did put together a great year and a great beginning to the post season, which by the way was even more ridiculous because the post-season performance spawned even more sabermetric love even though that is so squarely in the realm of small sample size it has to travel 8 weeks by magical steed to reach the border. In response to all that love, I root for nothing but failure from Cliff Lee, if only to prove the point that even people that profess a love of objectivity can be subjective fools at heart.

Some notes:
  • Before you get all excited about last nights win, the offense basically came from two guys that were doing well (Espinosa and Ramos) and the one guy who wasn't that you expect to bounce back (Werth). Outside of Nix the rest of the team went 3-19 with all 4 Ks on the night and one measly walk. It is still a terrible offense with Zimm out.
  • The "Leadoff Kid" Ian Desmond has gone 3-20 after those back-to-back games that proved us all so wrong. He's only taken 1 walk during that time and last night he saw only 14 pitches in 5 at bats, including 2 1-pitch affairs.
  • The bullpen is looking set with Burnett as the closer. It seems apparent because after coming in to get Ibanez out in a big spot in the 8th he was allowed to face righty, righty, switch, switch (better right), switch (better right), righty. The splits screamed at Riggleman to let Storen close this one out. He didn't listen. However, if you want to take away something good, it does look like Riggleman won't stick with a one-inning limit for his guys.
  • Morse was out with the flu but how long do you think he'll stay in left while the "average bat you know" Laynce Nix sits? Nix is a much better fielder so the switch will be tempting to Rizzo, too. Of course the "most" correct answer is let Morse stay in left for a while to see if he can turn the corner and put Nix in center for the could be done Ankiel, but we all know that ain't gonna happen.


Ryan said...

No mention of a certain super awesome fat guy squeeze bunt?

Hoo said...

"He's only taken 1 walk during that time and last night he saw only 14 pitches in 5 at bats, including 2 1-pitch affairs. "

Be nice to see Espi lead off. If the Nats need to squeeze every drop of batting with the lineup, having Espi at the top makes sense from OBP, pitch count etc. Desi doesn't take the walk while Espi does. Quick glance is that Espi is something like a 50% improvmeent on Dez(not as good as the almost 100% of Ramos >Pudge) but still...

Ideal lineup is probably Espi/Ankiel/Werth/Laroche/Ramos/Morse/Dez/random 3rd/

They could try Dez but Ankiel makes more sense in the traditional role.

Wally said...

"of course, the most correct answer is to let Morse stay in left ..... And put Nix in center for the could be done Ankiel"

Can I have a hallelujah!

Harper said...

Ryan - I thought a catching a vision of this one night was the reason you started blogging again?

Hoo - it would be, but I wouldn't count on it. (of course the minute I say that - they'll do it. Of course by saying this will happen they won't. Oh I've started an infinite loop) I'd probably flip Ramos and Ankiel, but whatever.

Wally - hallelujah