Saturday, July 29, 2006
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
Unfortunately, The Nationals DO NOT HAVE ANY PITCHING!! The strong point of the inauguaral 2005 Season in Washington was the Nationals ability to hang tuff in close games with respectible starting pitching and a terrific bullpen. In 2006, Washington can actually score runs on most days, but the pitchers sent to the mound have been mostly awful.
Starting pitching on the first two games on the current Nats West Coast swing against the Dodgers has been TERRIBLE. On Friday night, Tony Armas, Jr, with a good start would have solidified his potential trade to a contender by this monday. Unfortunately, he STUNK!! Got hammered in the 13-1 loss to the Dodgers. Armas labored throughout his 3 innnings, throwing 72 pitches, giving up 2 Home Runs and had no location of any of his pitches.
It was obvious that Frank Robinson was fed up with him after the game, commenting: "You don't look for excuses in this one," manager Frank Robinson said. ""He has great stuff, but you wonder what it is that he can't consistently go out there and put good stuff to use. When he needs to make a pitch, he seems to throw rather than make a pitch. That's the only way I could describe it."
Armas has a ton of talent, but he will never become a decent Major League Pitcher. He fiddles around on the mound, never trusts his stuff, and seems to get nervous on the mound when things get tight. I just can't image anyone trading for him now, and there is no way the Nats bring him back next season.
In today's 7-5 loss to Los Angeles, Mike O'Connor showed what I have said for quite a while. He is simply not a MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHER. He is a nice local story. But, O'Connor has NO OUT PITCH. Can not mix up his pitches enough to get good hitters out. Everything looks similar. O'Connor has not won a game since June 8th and he's been walloped for 5 or more runs in 4 straight starts. The league has caught up with him and, Mike cannot adjust. I really believe he has no future with the Nationals, despite alot of folks, and bloggers, cheering for his best.
Livan Hernandez has been decent of late, but he gives us way too many runs. Has a difficult time holding leads. The same is true for Ramon Ortiz. The Nats are giving up over 5 runs per game on average. That's alot to make up on any given night.
The one guy EVERYONE thought would have a breakout season, John Patterson, will, most likely, not pitch again this year, had elbow surgery, and is, once again, a big question mark.
And, the bullpen has many holes now. Luis Ayala has been out for the year, Bray, Majewski and Stanton are gone-traded. Rauch and the late edition, Micah Bowie have been effective. Cordero is as shaky a closer as any in baseball. The Chief just gives me a heart attack with every appearance. And, the rest of the bullpen is just not good. Too many minor league retreads, guys that simply are not good enough to consistently get out hitters in the BIGS!!.
But, I had to feel sorry for Roy Corcoran last night when Frank hung him out to dry. Typical Frank, Corcoran struggled in his first game for Washington back in Pittsburgh on July 15 and took the loss that night in his first MLB appearance in over 2 years. Robinson immediately losses confidence in him. Corcoran was effective in this next game against Florida on July 18th, then Frank DID NOT PITCH HIM FOR 10 Days until last night. Not Once. Corcoran gave up 6 runs, 5 earned and a MONSTER GRAND SLAM to J.D. Drew. There is no way someone will be sharp when he doesn't get the chance to throw. Even in a mop up role.
And, you can bet Roy's confidence is completely shot and Frank will never use him again, unless a game is completely out of hand. And, that sucks. Its just not a way to treat a young player.
No team will ever be decent without good pitching. You just can not compete. And, with no consistent starting pitching, this franchise has little hope in the near future.
Better hope for alot of 8-6, 10-9 wins with good hitting.