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The consistently inconsistent Nats

Apr 21, 2010, 3:36 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen was yanked after failing to retire a batter in the third.

Say this about the Washington Nationals: They're consistently inconsistent.

One night, they'll get a dominant performance from their starting pitcher. The next night, they'll fall into a 10-0 hole thanks to wretched pitching.

One night, they'll come through with a string of clutch hits. The next, they'll fail to jump on an opposing starter who looks ripe for a beating.

The end result of all that inconsistency is a perfectly average 7-7 record. Which is fine in the grand scheme of things. But over the long haul, consistent performances day in and day out are required from winning teams. And right now, the Nats don't fall into that category.

Here's your head-scratching stat of the day: Through 14 games, every Nationals starter has either lasted seven or more innings or failed to get through six. Think about that for a moment. What's typically the average number of innings thrown in a start? Six. Yet this team hasn'tRead more ยป

  1. Traveler8 - Apr 21, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Well, Mrs. Lincoln, the other good take-aways tonight is that we did have a lot of hitting – Guzman was great, Zim dingered at the right time, and Pudge hit 2 of five – how many players see their batting average drop when that happens? We still got to see our team act like a professional team after they were down 10 – 0, and muster up to keep playing and stay in the game.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2010 at 4:46 AM

    at least they dont suck all the time…this is progress people

  3. Scooter - Apr 21, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    And most importantly, our starting pitcher uses the royal "we." No, no, they can't take that away from us.

  4. Gary - Apr 21, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Perhaps 'we' is a clue to the problem our pitching personnel has. One/half of the fellow is good and the other is not. It's time to take a bit more responsibility and adjust the mindset before taking the mound and leave the latter half in the locker room.

  5. Doc - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Mark you forgot to mention some of the inconsistencies on the batting side of the ledger. Dunn, one of my favorite players, is missing pitches that he used to smack somewhere–particularly the low outside ones. Fielding has become very consistent, and has had a lot to do with the Nats successes. Gooooo Nats!

  6. Richard - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I don't agree with much Peric says, but I do agree on one thing,They left one of their most "consistant" pitchers last year in AAA. Bring JD back! This club-as bad as it was last year- still won 70% of the games he started. NO BLOWOUTS with him on the mound.I can't understand what their problem is with him.

  7. bdrube - Apr 21, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    All this argues for bringing up Strasburg sooner rather than later. It would be one thing if they had buried themselves again at the start, but they haven't. They NEED young Mr. S. to compete effectively. Screw the arbitration issue, get him up here as soon as his free agency eligibility has been pushed back 'til 2016.

  8. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    This is off-topic, but it's been bugging me. Last week, when Livan faced Craig Counsell, I kept waiting for Charlie Slowes to mention that the first pitch ever thrown by a Nat at RFK was Livan to Counsell. But he never mentioned it. I wonder if Bob Carpenter did? Baseball is so much about tradition and history, I was disappointed that this milestone wasn't mentioned by our home radio announcer.

  9. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    MarkWhy not start Clippard? His stuff looks outstanding. 92+ nice change and curve. Throws strikes. Give him the ball……there's nothing to lose

  10. natsfan1a - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    We are not amused, Scooter. Well, actually, we are, kinda. (And thanks for embedding that song in my head. No, really. I like the song.)—And most importantly, our starting pitcher uses the royal "we." No, no, they can't take that away from us.

  11. Wally - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Anyone else think that Morgan's defense is a little off from last year? It is not that he is playing badly, but he was so exceptional last year that he has established a very high standard (which contains a lot of his value). I am surprised that he didn't catch that triple last night

  12. Pete - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    Here's a thought: maybe the Nats starting pitchers are just bad. It seemed like Olsen would get ahead in the count, oftentimes 0-2, then lob a pitch that looked like a watermelon floating down the Mississippi and it would get crushed. He needs a better "out" pitch.

  13. peric - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I'm not sure why "we" get blamed for everything but …Right now improvement is noticeable at the minor league level. Except for perennial Nats / AZ problem child Matt Chico the entire pitching staff for Harrisburg looks as if you could just do a whole staff substitution with current major league staff and do better. In Syracuse both JD Martin and Luis Atilano appear to be pitching just as well. So, they could conceivably bring up both Strasburg and Thompson. Storen and Arenson or Atilano and so replace Olsen, Marquis, Walker and Miguel Batista and not miss a beat. This I think is different from last year. The fly in the ointment is would be what to do about Marquis and his contract? Have to figure something will be done to remedy this by the end of May / early June.

  14. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Anon: They're not converting Clippard back into a starter. They're very happy the way he's developed into a reliable reliever, one capable of going multiple innings who is effective against left-handed hitters as well as right-handed hitters. No need to mess with something that's working quite well right now.

  15. Neato Torpedo - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    What's with the royal "we"?

  16. cadeck13 - Apr 21, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Well, the only thing I can say about last night, if winning the game for the Rockies in any way gave them some consolation for their terrible loss of Keli McGregor then I'll concede that to them, but let's get it back tonight and tomorrow. I agree with Wally on Nyjer, I've been a little surprised at his defense too. Anybody else worried about Dunn's offense? We need his bat badly.

  17. Arlington BigFish - Apr 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Bob & Rob last night were constantly complaining (& justifiably — according to Pitch Track)) about the home plate ump's microscopic strike zone. This probably didn't make Olsen any worse than he already was — and while de la Rosa was visibly disturbed, he seemed to be able to adjust & get the job done. But I started to wonder. In this age of statistics on EVERYTHING, has anyone done any studies on home plate umps' stats? BA, ERA, # of pitches per inning, etc.?

  18. Suicide Squeeze - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Sorry to be late to the game here (can't post at work)….I think the solution is obvious. Every Nats pitcher skips a start. Stammen skips his next turn and goes straight to his great game. Go ahead and pitch Olsen as usual, but feel free to skip his next sure-to-be-bad start after that. Livo has a 0.0 ERA after two starts, which means it's prime time to skip him and his almost assuredly horrible start tomorrow. Lannan will let everyone know tonight whether or not he should take his next turn in the rotation.Brilliant!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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