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NLDS Game 2: Diamondbacks at Brewers

Oct 2, 2011, 8:30 PM EDT

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The shadows will again be a factor today at Miller Park.

In previewing this series, I pointed out how much of a home-field advantage the Brewers have enjoyed this season, resulting in baseball's best home record. We saw that hold true yesterday during Milwaukee's 4-1 victory over the Diamondbacks, though another element I wasn't anticipating may have also played a factor: the shadows inside Miller Park.

Despite abundant sunshine outside, the Brewers left their roof closed, leading to some awkward patches of sunlight and shadows caused by the windows that wrap around the park. It's going to be the same story today, with a 4 p.m. local start and the roof again closed despite sunshine and temperatures in the 60s. (How does MLB allow that?)

I suppose the conditions are the same for everyone, so it's up to both starters (Milwaukee's Zack Greinke and Arizona's Daniel Hudson) to make the most of the situation…

NL DIVISION SERIES – GAME 2
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Where: Miller Park
Gametime: 5:07 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: XM 89
Weather: Roof closed

STARTING LINEUPS
DIAMONDBACKS
SS Willie Bloomquist
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton
C Miguel Montero

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  1. baseballswami - Oct 2, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I agree with Mark on the shadows thing – maybe both teams do have the same conditions, but only one team knows how to work around it. I have heard multiple conversations about the playing conditions in the late afternoon, but yet many of the critical games are at that time – there is rarely a regular season game at that time – kind of silly.

  2. Slidell - Oct 2, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    The Brewer's ridiculous won-loss record at Miller Park may be in part due to this particular quirk plus others we're not aware of. Their record is very ordinary elsewhere. Causes one to wonder.

  3. Wally - Oct 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    I think the Brewers take this series and are a threat to beat the Phils in the NL championship series. Hard to beat the Phillies rotation, but the Brewers have a nice team.I think our real question for this offseason is do we go for it in 2012, or wait for 2013? the players will try to win every game, of course, so it really is a question for the front office. The go for it move means getting that SP and OF that Rizzo mentioned (hopefully he has 'good' in front), and sacrificing some part of the future in terms of prospects or draft picks for proven talent. My brain says the smart move is to wait until 2013 when Strasburg is unlimited, and Harper further along.But I have a hunch they go for it. If so, what do people think of Beltran for the OF, if we could get him on a 2 or 3 year deal? He and Werth could alternate in CF, but Ankiel or Bernie would need to be a 4th OF. And Oswalt, if he becomes available, would fit well as a SP.

  4. Oldguy - Oct 2, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Wally,I think it's easier to say no to certain players than yes. Beltran has been on 4 different teams and is 34. That's a 'no' for me.

  5. Whynat - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    JHair and Nyjer doing it for the BrewCrew!

  6. Wally - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Old guy- not everyone has to be a long term core piece, do they? Beltran had a few injury years in 2009 and 2010, but bounced back to his usual productive self. OPS over .900 this year.The key (for me) are the years. I wouldn't sign him beyond 3 years, ideally 2, and that probably will make it unattractive to him, since someone may put 4 years out there. But I think he could be a nice bridge to Harper and some of the lower level OF prospects like Hood or Taylor.

  7. Gonat - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    The Brewers have that 'thing' going and you can feel it. All the Championship teams have it. Last year it was Posey and Cody Ross to go with the pitching and the closer.Greinke didn't get the job done and it didn't matter as Braun and the offense picked him up.Just like I was saying about Greinke. His 3.88 ERA doesn't justify his W/L, its that offense that scores him 5.3 runs while he is in the game that can make you a better pitcher than how you really appear. If Lannan got that type of run support, there would be no complaining about him.

  8. Gonat - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    Whynat said… JHair and Nyjer doing it for the BrewCrew! October 2, 2011 7:20 ________________________I think Hairston is doing it. Nyjer got a bad break on a hit to CF by Young and Nyjer had the ball clank off of his glove. Morgan is batting .143 with a bunch of Strikeouts. Of course 1 more hit raises that average quickly. Big advantage facing the RH reliever with Braun batting behind him.

  9. Wally - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Greinke didn't look good today. He had an odd year – ERA was actually much worse than his peripherals (FIP and xFIP both below 3.00 – due mainly to a very good K to BB rate of close to 5:1). But his FB and slider velocity was down, so I am not sure it is sustainable. Could have been a change of league boost.I was pretty high on him when the Nats were after him (although I was vehemently against including JZimm), but I don't feel as positive on him any more.

  10. Gonat - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Wally, Steve put together a post a few weeks back of the 4 or 5 outfielders in Free Agency that would fit. Beltran was on the list and has a great OBP. Problem is his age and his injury history. You pay a lot for a 130-140 game a year guy who missed most of 2009/2010. What I like about Beltran is he fits well into that 2 hole, 5 hole or 6 hole and pitchers have to deal with him. I still think Coco Crisp makes the most sense as he easily for the price becomes a bench piece when BHarper is ready. He's a Type B Free Agent so you don't give up your 1st round pick.

  11. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Wally said… Greinke didn't look good today. He had an odd year – ERA was actually much worse than his peripherals (FIP and xFIP both below 3.00 – due mainly to a very good K to BB rate of close to 5:1). But his FB and slider velocity was down, so I am not sure it is sustainable. Could have been a change of league boost.I was pretty high on him when the Nats were after him (although I was vehemently against including JZimm), but I don't feel as positive on him any more. October 2, 2011 7:51 PM ____________________________Rizzo dodged a bullet. Greinke just can't pitch effectively on Road games and they believe it has to do with his anxiety disorder. His home ERA is 3.13 vs. 4.70 on the road. Again, given his huge Run Support, he still won 5 of 11 road games and was a perfect 11-0 at home.

  12. Wally - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Crisp would fit, for the reasons you mention. I probably would go Beltran before him (again, only assuming he would sign for 2-3 years) because his offensive upside (and expected production) is higher, and Crisp also has an injury history. But he'll cost a lot more too. But if we are going to go for it, I say get the better player.

  13. NatsLady - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Nyjer as demonstrative as ever. He got a single and was dancing like on the stars. Really not sure that act would go over so well here.Heard a comment re: Pence and the Fillies. Fillies a cool, veteran team, Pence lit their fire with his hard-driving, hyperactive style. Have a feeling he also would not have benefited our clubhouse (though he certainly would have benefited our offense). I think Werth is a better influence on the young guys, and also RZimm. Need to make sure they are professional in their work, every day, every game–and Werth and RZimm are that to the nth degree. Of course Werth had his terrible slump, and RZimm can have dreadful games, but 99.44% of the time they are reliable and stable. Would rather have that than TPlush's flamboyance. Your mileage may vary.That's why I'm not sure Marquis is a great loss. Very emotional type guy, not sure that's what Lannan and JZimm need as a model, although he (Marquis) certainly is TOUGH, you can't argue that!Very difficult to evaluate the intangible aspects of the clubhouse, but I don't doubt they exist.

  14. NatsLady - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    I would like Crisp over Beltran if you are considering $$. Of course you get the bigger bang offensively with Beltran. But having watched both players, I like Crisp's hustle and defense. I think he is improving, whereas Beltran is probably on the downhill side of his career.

  15. Anonymous8 - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Wally, if Beltran would sign a 1 year deal, then he would be more attractive. I just think he will have many suitors willing to overpay. The Free Agent market this year is so thin. Next year is a good year with Matt Kemp and Michael Bourn topping the list. The Nats can't get stuck with Beltran for 2 years.You have to believe 2013 is the go all in year and get either Kemp or Bourn to add to Werth and Bryce Harper as your corner outfielders.

  16. Wally - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    NatsLady – fair points. Alternatively, an expensive two year contract doesn't kill the Nats payroll profile the next few years, and comes off when some of their core does get expensive. and with our offensive being so spotty, I think we can use more bang there.I don't feel all that strongly about it, though. As I said initially, my head tells me that we should wait a year before adding expensive parts.

  17. baseballswami - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Whoever we get it should be short term because Bryce Harper needs a spot pretty soon. I would also like to see LaRoche's term expire so that Morse could go back to first base.If that happens, though , then there would be an automatic vacancy in the outfield. I just think some of these situations are temporary, not long term. I also don't want to see Rizzo give up the store to get someone who may or may not work out. Free agency might be better than a trade? Getting Ryan Zimmerman locked up is still crucial to me. Regarding the NLDS – I really don't miss Nyger and his antics.Hairston was a pro when he was here.

  18. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Keith Law thinks Coco Crisp is a 2 year at $5.5 million a year. If he plays 140 games a year with numbers like this year he is well worth it. Unfortunately for 2013 he would be an expensive bench player when Bryce Harper is promoted. In National League style baseball, Crisp would drive the opposing pitchers crazy. Crisp is a switch hitter, steals bases, and is decent on defense. Crisp makes the most sense as he is relatively affordable, a Type B Free Agent. Because he is a Free Agent, it saves Rizzo from trading for an outfielder in case Rizzo goes the trade route for a #3 pitcher.

  19. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    A re-post since we were discussing Greinke:Gonat said… Baseballswami – JZim under-appreciated? Most of the Nats fans have no clue how good he truly is. They look at end-results which is Wins & Losses.Tim Lincecum finished the season with a 13-14 record and a 2.73 ERA and 2.7 in run support while he was in the game. Tim Lincecum is a legend already. Jordan Zimmermann had a 3.18 ERA with a WHIP better than Lincecum. JZim's run support while in the game (adjusted to 9 innings) was 2.60 runs per game.If Jordan Zimmermann received Zach Greinke's run support he would have been 19-2 with 5 no decisions instead of the 8-11 he actually had with 7 no decisions.Tim Lincecum would have been 28-1 with 4 no decisions if he had Greinke's run support.Ian Kennedy ended up 21-4 and received 4.3 run support for his innings pitched. He had a 2.88 ERAJohn Lannan had a 3.70 ERA with 3.60 of run support for the innings he pitched.Can you see the pattern here? Oh, and Zach Greinke would have been 11-12 with 5 no decisions with Jordan Zimmermann's run support. October 1, 2011 9:17 AM

  20. Wally - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Anon8- I agree that getting Beltran to agree to a short term deal is the big question mark. One year seems virtually out, but maybe two years/$30m to an up and coming team like us? Less than 50/50 but some chance, I hope. I think Kemp resigns with LA. He seems pretty committed to the LA area, and the Dodgers are talking big about resigning him.

  21. Wally - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Gonat – no worries if you think I was undervaluing JZimm. I am one of his biggest proponents. I thought he should have been in the ASG, and I would give him the Opening Day nod (although I would do it only as a reward for a great season and because Strasburg will deservedly have the next 5).

  22. baseballswami - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Gonat – thanks for re-posting that as I think it shows how we should really evaluate pitching. It also shows that it doesn't matter how good our pitchers are if they don't get run support. In watching the various division series games I think the Brewers would be absolutely insane to break up the Braun/Fielder combo. I am hoping beyond all hope that we get that kind of effect with Ryan Zimmerman and either Werth or Morse – maybe all 3?

  23. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Wally, that wasn't directed to you at all. I was just reiterating the points on Greinke which spells out how a Lannan-esque ERA can make you look great when you get BIG run support.Then when you take that Run Support to see how JZim would do with the same support, the numbers are crazy.

  24. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Baseballswami, great point on the big bashers in the middle of the order. It all comes down to run differential (offense/pitching), ask the SF Giants that. Balance.I became a Lannan guy in June and while he lost some luster in September and frustrated me and others in NatsTown with people calling for him to be traded for a case of sunflower seeds, I have looked over his numbers as a whole and his annualized numbers really are a #4 pitcher on a playoff type of team and a #3 on bottom tier teams.If Lannan had 5.30 in run support, nobody would be complaining as he would be leave most games with a lead.Still the biggest negative on Lannan is getting through the 6th inning and into the 7th inning consistently.

  25. NatsLady - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    No, I wouldn't trade Lannan for sunflower seeds, but I would trade him. I think you could get good value for him, and I think he would be better with a fresh start in a different division or the AL.

  26. baseballswami - Oct 3, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Brewers letting Prince walk, Cardinals letting Pujols walk. I sincerely hope that is not us in two years with Ryan Zimmerman.

  27. Gonat - Oct 3, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    NatsLady, my point is forget what you saw in September and look at the pitcher who was a 3.50 ERA throwing 93 to 94.He is under team control for 2 more seasons. If you trade him, it better be a big upgrade and sure thing.

  28. Mark'd - Oct 3, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Baseballswami, remember, it takes 2 to tango. Zimmerman has the same agent as Braun so that deal is doable if Ryan wants to be here.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 67 13.0
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 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.

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