Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Considering that Our Bullpen has been over used.

Considering that Our Manager says he can't use Saul Rivera, Luis Ayala & Big Jon Rauch every single game.

Considering that Jason Bergmann was pitching shutout ball through nearly six innings yesterday (almost 20 straight) and was relieved with a runner on second with two outs.

And considering that just about everyone watching in the stands, and at home, feels Our Starting Pitchers should be stretched a little longer in their starts.

Do you think it's not the right time for Manny Acta to considering doing just that?

52 Games into 2008--sure seems like Our Starters are capable.

In fact, the Starting Pitchers for Our Washington Nationals have been a strong point most all season long. Yeah, from time to time--they have laid an egg--it's bound to happen. Mostly though--Tim Redding, Jason Bergmann, John Lannan, Odalis Perez and Shawn Hill have been solid. Even Matt Chico had that one terrific start--before faltering.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Backbone Of Our Team over the past three seasons--since baseball's return to Washington--has stumbled. A once powerful bullpen is no longer. This season, the back portion of Our Relief Corp has been unreliable. A season long injury to "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" has changed many pitcher's roles. Situations--some have been unable to handle effectively. And with Chad Cordero out--Big Jon Rauch has stepped in to become Our Team's most reliable reliever. Three wins, 10 Saves in 12 Opportunities and a 2.45 ERA--proves that point.

But, "The Wookie" along with Luis Ayala and Saul Rivera can't do it all. They are not SUPERMEN. They are only human.

Our Manager Manny Acta should have considered leaving Jason Bergmann in the game yesterday. And after yesterday's disheartening loss--Our Number 14 should considering doing just that--in each and every upcoming ballgame--as long as Our Starting Pitcher is still throwing effectively.

Why not?

If Our Young or Emerging Pitchers are ever going to development under pressure--they must consider themselves capable of retiring every batter--under every situation. Sometimes you can win with your starter. Sometimes you can lose by taking him out too soon.

Consider that!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pushing this issue front and center. "Most appearances" is one stat where I'd like to finally see the Nationals fall out of first place.

Anonymous said...

I concur.....Actually our starting pitching has been excellent. Hats Off to Randy!!

SenatorNat said...

The Nationals have a certain pitching identity dating back to the wonderful Livo and the magical low-brimmed bull-pen in the first half of 2005: get journeymen and youngsters to go 5-6 innings, and stitch together a win with great relief work by 3-4 regular relievers: Rivera, Ayala, Rauch, Cordero, throwing in one situational lefty.(cite Mad Joey Eischen.)

After 50-31, first half of '05, Nats have compiled a 166-210 record since, expressed as .441 winning percentage. Mostly, this has been due to lowest run production in the NL, or close to it, over the same span. Last season, after Pena was acquired, it went up one full run, but this season is back down the same run per game. Meanwhile, over all pitching is about 4.40 ERA - same as it ended last season for the season.

Pitching, overall, is not the problem, in other words, despite the fact that the only person who has a start in all four seasons for the Nats is - no one... Ayala, Rauch, Cordero, and even Rivera, have all been in games since 2005 (albeit Ayala out in 2006 due to injury).

Yes - younger arms and even journeymen like Perez and Redding can be extended to average one full inning more, BUT, you can never prove a negative. What I mean by that is that it is difficult to presume that that extra inning will not sink the ship on winnable games.

Still, better to test the theory and help improve stamina for future starters like Lannan and Bergmann and even Redding (Perez, the "innings eater," not long for the Nationals) than to attempt to eek out a precious win during a building year at the cost of burning out Rivera, Ayala, and Rauch.

Defense: for the first year since the team moved here, the Nats start 25% regular players who cannot field: Pena and Young. Fortunately, LoDuca on DL or it would be 37.5%! Add to this problem that too many Nats pitchers are giving away walking leads to runners at first AND second, resulting in easy steals of second AND third. What was Spring Training about for the Saint and his crew; and why can they still not bunt, as a whole. Cannot Redding put on a clinic for his pathetic peers.

Soriano factor: he meant an extra 250,000 fans at RFK; this would translate into as much as $25 million more gross receipts at Nationals Park: enough to pay him AND put up the iconic baseball pictured in all the literature. (I am for that ball, should Teddy win and it is put on order, to be in handsome chrome with blue stitching to conform to design and theme of the park...)
Soriano would mean that the team would have probably won 12 of the 21 one-run games they have been in versus the 9 they have won, keeping the team near .500.

Escobar v. Langerhans: Scissorhands is producing already at last season's pace (.000). Alex Escobar, healthy (knock-on-wood) is hitting .310 at Columbus. He can hit and field and run at the major league level - the ONLY question is keeping him healthy. But, he has the disadvantage, fatal to his being called up apparently, of never having played for the Reds-Braves...

Love the Guz! LOVE THE GUZ!! Thank you Tiger Woods and TLC! But, he is not part of THE PLAN, apparently, as Bowden and Acta say nothing about his play daily and tout Redding as the team's lone All-Star - must have an incentive clause pay-out in his contract. If he is not re-signed, then plan on an excruciating year of FLOP ("my uniform is always clean at the end of the game") at shortstop in 2009!

Trust in the power of the disappearing iconic baseball. All Good.

Jim H said...


Good points all...but in all the games I've watched, the Guz has yet to dive after a ball at shortstop. He kind of waves at it as they go by. Not being overly critical...but he's no more prone to the extra effort in the field as Lopez.


An Briosca Mor said...

Soriano factor: he meant an extra 250,000 fans at RFK; this would translate into as much as $25 million more gross receipts at Nationals Park: enough to pay him AND put up the iconic baseball pictured in all the literature.

Wrong. Attendance in 2006 - the year of Alfonso - was 2.15M, an average of 26,582 per game. Attendance so far this year is averaging 29,141 per game, on pace for a season total of 2.36M. (And it may go higher than that, since the attendance-boosting warm weather is just now getting here.) So without Soriano, the Nats are now drawing 210,000 per year more than they did with him. A difference of 460,000 in the numbers you cite.

If you're going to use statistics to help support an argument, it helps a lot if you get your statistics right before you put forth your thesis.

SenatorNat said...

Thanks Jim H and my friend An Briosca Mor: you are right Jim H that the cleaners only need to attend to the Guz slightly more often than FLOP; and I didn't explain what I meant statistically clearly enough on the Soriano comparison: I was using his 2.15 million in 2006 v. 1.9 million last season with him gone - difference of 250,000.

My hunch is that he would make similar difference this year, on top of the 2.4-2.55 million I am presuming they will garner for Nationals Park - Inaugural Year. Thus, I am saying that he brings an incremental quarter of a million to the equation on his own - and, I am using the figure they use for a new park of $100 per patron average (ticket; concessions; parking).

Torii Hunter probably worth 150,000 more here since he doesn't have the affiliation already established. Point I was making is that one of these types more than pays for themselves, and wouldn't upset The Plan, either. Lerners may be counting on keeping the payroll unrealistically low for their first decade as owners, and they may pay the price for this decision...


Trust in Dancing with the Stars. All Good.

An Briosca Mor said...

Senatornat, I think you are way overstating the Soriano effect on attendance. Recall that his addition to the team resulted in a drop of over a half million in attendance from the year before, despite his stellar 40-40 season. Why would attendance have increased the next year just because of his continued presence on the team? My contention is that the drop of 250,000 in attendance from 2006 to 2007 was due mainly to continued RFK fatigue, with maybe a little help from the terrible start and the media drumbeating of "worst ever".

Also recall that Soriano signed for what, 8 years/17.5M with the Cubs? No way he would have caused an attendance bump in DC big enough to cover that!

Anonymous said...

I thought Bergmann looked tired in the 5th, with the first walk in the game, and then a wild pitch before striking out the batter. And then when he had no first pitch strikes, a full count on Cameron (before giving up the double), and a sacrifice that left Cameron at 3rd -- I thought there was a strong case for going to the bullpen.

I'd like to see the bullpen get some rest (Rivera looked very worn out). But the issue isn't one dimensional -- position players have a role to play in the field, and at the plate as well.

Anonymous said...

Before going overboard on what Alfonso Soriano meant to this team, check out his average with runners in scoring position and two outs. A "superstar" is paid to deliver in those situations, not hit a measly .197. He was an exciting player in 2006 (40-40-20), but how many times did we groan when he failed to deliver late in the game with the tying or go-ahead run(s) on base and two outs?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

For all his talk about wanting to stay here, it became quite clear that Soriano and his agent were not going to sign anything until they read all the offers and then signed with the highest bidder. So any thought that the Nats and Fonzie could have brokered a $20 per year deal beforehand is just fantasy. Unless the Cubs break their 64 year old curse and reach the World Series---or maybe do even better and actually win---most baseball experts agree the Cubs overpaid for Soriano. If the Cubs paid too much, why should anyone believe that paying MORE would have been a good deal for the Nationals?