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Series preview: Nats at Rockies

Aug 4, 2011, 2:34 PM EST

Thursday, 8:40 p.m. — LHP Ross Detwiler (1-0, 2.35) vs. RHP Esmil Rogers (4-1, 7.31)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Friday, 8:40 p.m. — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-9, 3.12) vs. RHP Juan Nicasio (4-3, 3.95)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185

Saturday, 8:10 p.m. — RHP Livan Hernandez (6-10, 4.08) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-8, 3.38).
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185

Sunday, 3:10 p.m. — LHP John Lannan (8-7, 3.65)
vs. RHP Aaron Cook (2-6, 5.34)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185

ROCKIES UPDATE
Ubaldo Jimenez was scheduled to start tonight at Coors Field. Except he's now a Cleveland Indian, so it'll be Esmil Rogers (owner of a career 6.38 ERA in the big leagues) on the mound for this series opener. Such is the state of things in Colorado, where they officially gave up on 2011 last week upon dealing former ace Jimenez to Cleveland for four (highly rated) prospects).

It wasn't supposed to be this kind of season for a Rockies club that had every reason to believe it would contend in the NL West. But after topping out at 38-37 on June 24, they've tanked, going 13-23Read more ยป

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 4, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    This might be the first time that Jayson Werths name hasn't appeared at least once among the "Nationals Worst vs. Opposing Pitcher" all season.

  2. Natslifer - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Yet another road series against a low end team – these are the ones we have to start winning. Let's see if we can keep some mo going and make it happen.

  3. Natty Bo - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I appreciate the sentiment of these lists, but find the small sample size makes most of them close to meaningless.

  4. Grandstander - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    The way this team goes, I'd rather face Jimenez than Esmil Rogers.

  5. Mark'd - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Natty Bo, at least no Matt Stairs in the stats.

  6. baseballswami - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    These kind of previews always make me nervous – they always look like we really should win all the games — on paper. And then , inevitably – the pitcher with the high era suddenly turns into Cy Young and we can't hit. Sorry if this sounds negative – but I think we have all seen this movie before. I HOPE,HOPE, HOPE we can break the pattern this time and put the smack-down on the ROX, who are kind of reeling at the moment. Come on now — EVERYBODY HITS TONIGHT!!! GYFNG! RossD must be pumped at getting a start, too.

  7. Mark'd - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Grandstander, at least Detwiler gets a good matchups or should I say Detwiler/Balestar.

  8. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Ballystar would be a mistake on this field. Check out his stats in AAA and the majors this year. He'd end up pitching batting practice in Colorado. And then packing off to the minors again.

  9. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Have to wonder WHEN the real BIG trade occurs? The top five picks in the Nat's draft get signed. At least two may be close-to-major-league ready prospects. Let's get it done Rizzo!

  10. Bowdenball - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Mark:I hope I've praised you enough around here to earn the right to a little constructive criticism. So here goes:Is it really worthwhile to do "Best vs." and "Worst vs.," especially when we're not playing fellow NL East teams? The sample size is almost always too small have any real meaning, especially outside the NL East. If the idea of the preview is to provide useful information for us as a series gets underway, I'd much prefer to hear about, say, which of the opponents players have been the hottest or coldest over the last month. Or whether there's any Nats hitters who have an unusually good or bad record in the park (and when we're at home, whether any of the visitors do well at Nats Park). Or whether their bullpen has any recent problems like overuse of certain guys or a faltering closer or something that might affect the series.Just my 2 cents. As always, keep up the great work.

  11. ChicagoNatsGirl - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Mark–are you on this trip?

  12. The Great Unwashed - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    baseballswami,My sentiments exactly, but one good sign is that Werth, Zimmerman, Ankiel, and Desmond are hitting better at the moment. Morse has been solid since mid-May. Hopefully that trend continues.

  13. Scooter - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Good suggestion from Bowdenball. I don't read the Best and Worst sections, so it's no skin off my nose either way.One suggestion for my fellow commenters: there have been dozens — scores, even — of good pitchers in history. Does every reference need to be to Cy Young? Why can't our team ever make someone look like, say, Matty or Koufax or Gibson? Again, not a big deal at all, just a thought.

  14. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Sadly, it doesn't matter what the opposing pitchers ERA is because the Nationals are a lousy road team. Whoever he is, he will probably look like Cy Young tonight.

  15. baseballswami - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I hear you ,great unwashed — It's been nice to have not just 2,3,4 hitting – but sometimes now 1-7 or 8. I have noticed that the box scores have been showing hits throughout the line-up. And as always, our pitchers pull their weight with bunts, fielding, hits, putting the ball in play.A nice bonus. I think RossD is going to do better than some of you seem to think. But , then again, what do I know? I thought Maya would get shellacked.

  16. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    We could switch to Nolan Ryan? ok? Let's hope we don't make Esmil ( love the name) look like Nolan Ryan tonight!

  17. baseballswami - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    But – anon 12:46 et al, the pitchers award IS named the Cy Young Award.

  18. The Great Unwashed - Aug 4, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    I'm not sold on Ankiel leading off, but there's no one else to do it so Davey's just riding the hot hand. I wish Espinosa could be dropped to 6th, but there's no one who does well hitting second either. I expect this game to come down to pulling Detweiler in a timely manner and good bullpen management.

  19. Scooter - Aug 4, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    the pitchers award IS named the Cy Young Award.True, swami, very true. And the MVP award is named after Kenesaw Mountain Landis, if I'm not much mistaken.(I actually think Nolan Ryan could be pretty appropriate, given how often the Nats whiff when they're hitting poorly.)

  20. sjm308 - Aug 4, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Not to try and retaliate for Mark but I actually did scan through the best and worst and actually had something jump out. I was amazed at Todd Helton'numbers against Livan and while Natty Bo and Bowdenball are correct on about 98% of those numbers being too small a sample size 34 for 73 is a pretty decent sample and the guy owns Livan!! By the way, just found out National Bo is NOT brewed in this area anymore but out in Ohio somewhere. Actually had one the other day on draft and maybe it was because it was 98 degrees but it tasted fine.

  21. TimDz - Aug 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Re: Werth…Is it just me, or has his recent (albeit brief) surge at the plate has coincided with the DFA/ release of Stairs?

  22. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Anonymous said… We could switch to Nolan Ryan? ok? Let's hope we don't make Esmil ( love the name) look like Nolan Ryan tonight!But then we also have to remember — Nolan Ryan control problems just as a bad as HRod did at this age. He (Ryan) averaged close to 7BB/9IP at age 24 over an entire season.

  23. Knoxville Nat - Aug 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Well if my math is correct Todd Helton is hitting a combined .475 against our 3 starting pitchers (39 for 82) while Troy T. is hitting a mere .193 (6 for 31). So is the proper strategy to pitch around Helton and hope Tulo stays cold against our pitching?

  24. SCNatsFan - Aug 4, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Hate these 8:40 games… to early not to watch, too late to watch the whole game…Lets go Nats, our 'new' team should fare well this weekend

  25. Bowdenball - Aug 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Knoxville Nat:Your post illustrates perfectly the lack of value- or even the danger- in looking at 99.9% of pitcher-hitter matchups historically. I think maybe that was your intent? Anyway, 2011 Todd Helton obviously isn't the same 30+ HR, .420+ OBP buy who put up those numbers, and the sample size for Tulo is far too small to draw any conclusions.

  26. DFL - Aug 4, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Michael Morse has nailed down the first-base job and plays a mediocre, at best, left-field. I'd trade La Roche in the off-season(perhaps up the BW Parkway) and either 1) sign a free agent left-fielder during the off-season or 2) go with a platoon with Laynce Nix and a right-handed bat in left-field.

  27. Natty Bo - Aug 4, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Yea, Todd Helton sports a hefty career OPS against Livan, but the bulk of that was in 2007 and earlier when Livan was in SF. No plate appearances thus far this year, very small # previous few years. Helton has good numbers this year overall, but fairly cold since the all-star break. When you see match-up information for the whole roster, I'm always amazed at how small the sample sizes are for most match-ups. Most opposing pitchers in the NL east haven't been on their current team all that long, not sure who has the most IP against the Nats since 2005, maybe Tim Hudson?

  28. Knoxville Nat - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Bowdenball….I agree in regards to Tulo's sample size but in our first matchup with the Rockies right before the All Star game, Helton hit our pitching around pretty hard in DC. For the weekend Helton went 5 for 11 with a walk while Tulo, only playing two games having sat out Friday night with an injury, went 1 for 7.The point I'm really trying to make here is the Nats shouldn't give Helton a chance to beat them but let someone else try to do so and hope they don't. Todd Helton is still a dangerous bat.

  29. peric - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    But then we also have to remember — Nolan Ryan control problems just as a bad as HRod did at this age. He (Ryan) averaged close to 7BB/9IP at age 24 over an entire season.And just like H-Rod Ryan started out as the Met's setup/closer and sometime sixth starter out of the bullpen just for that reason.

  30. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Nats' best vs. Rogers — … Ian Desmond (0-for-0, SF, RBI).0-for-0 is up there with the "Nat's best". Gotta love it… Sorta the story of 2011.

  31. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Tonight is a big night for Detwiler. Rizzo just gave him a vote of confidence by not shipping him to Houston in a deal for Bourn (if you believe the rumors) and he needs to show he can command his pitches for more than 3-4 innings. Alexva

  32. baseballswami - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Couple of random comments –batting order — doesn't Desi do well in the 2-hole? and…. can you even imagine if MPHRod learns how to harness his power? Although, I do think that part of his game is that the batter be just a little bit terrified of getting hit. Also do not like an 8:40 start – I start watching but then have to pick a time to walk away. High hopes for this series and some good baseball being played.

  33. SCNatsFan - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    I agree Alexva; for the most part the rest of the season is his audition to be on the big club. With he and Wang in the rotation you will have 2 guys pitching for their careers every 5th day which could be a very good thing.

  34. JaneB - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    TimDz, I was predicting that Werth would come around when his ex-mentor at the Phillies was on his way out the door. Too much "looking back to the good old days" energy between them. Stairs didn't have a future, and it had to be all about the past, for them. So, I'm right there on the same page with you. Swami, if HRod can locate even 50% better, he could be a jaw droppingly scary (in a useful way) pitcher for us. He can still terrify people, just in a new way. Or, maybe, additional way. I hope Ross and Collin are on their game, for however long they get to pitch one.GYFNG!

  35. The Great Unwashed - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    baseballswami,Desmond has not done well hitting second this year. For that matter, no one has. I had this same discussion with someone a few threads ago. Another poster looked up his slash line hitting second and is was bad. He hit well in the two hole last season.

  36. Wally - Aug 4, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Anonymous said… Nats' best vs. Rogers — … Ian Desmond (0-for-0, SF, RBI). 0-for-0 is up there with the "Nat's best". Gotta love it… Sorta the story of 2011.Anon@3:05 – very funny. Here is another one. During yesterday's game, Carp gave a preview of this series by saying "Well, unfortunately the Nats have to go against one of the Rockies very best pitchers in Esmil Rogers, who comes into the game sporting a 7.31 ERA .." Silence from FP. Even Carp was a little unnerved by where his sentence ended up. He really should try to think those through completely before launching.

  37. Wally - Aug 4, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Well, since I was just catching up on comments from the last few posts, let me wade into one of the more hotly debated ones: based on yesterday, I would take CMW over Maya, JD Martin, Martis and some of the other SP prospects we have.Admittedly not a high bar, and if Wang is writhing in pain on the training room floor after yesterday, well then no, I wouldn't take him. But low 90's with a sinker that moved quite a bit? All while still building arm strength? That is more than Maya can offer, to me. I know that he didn't miss many bats but (a) he never missed a lot of them, and (b) he is still building arm strength and feel for pitches. I think that there is a chance that he makes it back to pitching at this level, which I never would have believed even a month ago.

  38. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    peric said… But then we also have to remember — Nolan Ryan control problems just as a bad as HRod did at this age. He (Ryan) averaged close to 7BB/9IP at age 24 over an entire season. And just like H-Rod Ryan started out as the Met's setup/closer and sometime sixth starter out of the bullpen just for that reason.Yup — (if I could be self indulgent here) — one of my favorite all-time kid memories was being at Shea Stadium the day that the Mets won their first pennant in 1969.Gary Gentry started for the Mets, and was behind 2-0 after two innings (Hank Aaron hit a HR in the 1st) and then gave up a single, and a double to Aaron to lead off the third. Hodges pulled Gentry and put in the then 22-year old Ryan, who got out of the inning with a K, intentional walk to load the bases, another K, then a flyout.Ryan ended up going 7 inings (he later allowed a two-run HR to Cepeda in the 5th), but the light-hitting Mets got three HR's, 14 hits, and won the third game of the (three-game) playoffs, 7-4. Ryan with the win.Ryan actually regressed for two years — and in 1971 had an absolutely atrocious 1.58 WHIP. Folks, that's really bad for a full season. He got traded to the Angels after that year, and immediately became a superstar. In 1972 he threw nine shutouts, and struck out over 300.And, get this: in addition Shutouts and K's, he also led the league in fewest hits per 9 IP; as well as most walks and wild pitches (!).

  39. FS - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    we should use Walter Johnson as reference. No one here probably saw him pitch or walk. But he is DC's best so yeah why Cy Young or Nolan Ryan, when we have our own best pitcher.

  40. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    Rick Ankiel CFDanny Espinosa 2BRyan Zimmerman 3BMichael Morse 1BJayson Werth RFLaynce Nix LFIan Desmond SSWilson Ramos CRoss Detwiler P

  41. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    To Bowdenball and the others critiquing me using the batter-vs-pitcher stats in these previews: You raise good points. I've been using this preview format since last season, when I would send these out to paid subscribers, but it might be time for a change.I'll see how difficult it would be to change it to a listing of what players and pitchers from each team are hot/cold. Would probably be more relevant than career stats vs. the starting pitchers.Thanks for the suggestions and constructive criticism. It's always welcome here!

  42. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Had the opportunity to talk at length to Tom Egan. Egan caught for the Angels when Ryan was there and caught part of, or all of 1 of his 7 no hitters. Egan told me that there were times when Ryans ball would look like it was going in the dirt then take off and he wouldn't even get his glove on it. He said when Ryan wanted to throw his change he would show his teeth, kind of a half smile, half grimmace. Egan also said that Ryans curve when on, was pretty much unhittable. Ryan was a freak of nature. 385 k's in one year. Didn't know about the 9 shutouts in one season. Unbelievable

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