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Mechanical tweak saves Gonzalez’s day

Mar 27, 2012, 8:57 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Gio Gonzalez allowed three runs over five innings today against the Marlins.

JUPITER, Fla. — Considering what transpired in this same ballpark only five days ago, the Nationals would have been justified in worrying a bit about Gio Gonzalez at the end of a ragged first inning this afternoon.

Three runs, four batters reaching base and a whopping pitch count of 28? After getting pounded for eight runs on 10 hits and four walks in only 3 2/3 innings Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium? Was there any reason to be concerned about Gonzalez's arm?

Turns out the answer was a resounding no. After making a mechanical tweak at the advice of pitching coach Steve McCatty and third baseman Mark DeRosa, Gonzalez turned his entire afternoon around and wound up encouraged by the results.

What was the tweak? McCatty and DeRosa told Gonzalez he was "flying open" with the right side of his body instead of keeping his shouldersRead more ยป

  1. NatinBeantown - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    This is good to hear, and it's amazing how a tweak like this can make such a huge difference even within one ballgame.BTW, I wasted most of my afternoon on B-R due to the conversation in prior threads, with some interesting results. I'll post below (didn't want them newposted)

  2. NatinBeantown - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Sec 3 asked if there was a correllation between the leadoff batter's OBP and the team's ability to score runs. I'm not a Q.R. guy so I didn't run regressions or anything, but the eyeballs say no.Here's the rank of each NL team's #1 hitter by OBP in 2011:Rk OBP 1 CHC .3672 NYM .3613 PIT .3594 MIL .3565 COL .3526 CIN .3437 FLA .3438 HOU .336 LgAvg .3319 PHI .32610 LAD .32511 ARI .31412 ATL .31313 SDP .31214 STL .31015 SFG .29216 WSN .285Here's that same list of teams and their rank by total runs scored: 8, 6, 14, 5, 3, 2, 11, 13, 7, 9, 4, 10, 15, 1, 16, 12That seems pretty random and uncorrellated to me (especially with red flags like offensive juggernaut St Louis near the bottom of the leadoff OBP list). Yes, the worse leadoff OBP teams like the Nats, SD and SF are near the bottom of the total runs scored, but I would guess that those teams were poor OBP performers at EVERY batting order spot, not just leadoff.

  3. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    NatinBeantown — nice job!Seems to show — yet again — that improving *anybody's* OBP will help runs, and that we should stop obsessing with the #1-hole.

  4. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    (Aw, heck, while I'm here, I might as well…)FORE !!!

  5. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    NatinBeanTown–excellent, and simple! Thanks!

  6. Theophilus - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Bobby Richardson thanks NatsBeantown for the vindication.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Is it just me, or is DeRosa making a lot of suggestions like this?

  8. Cwj - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Awesome NatinBeantown! Good job.I have no doubt Gio will have a very nice season for the Nats.He's a very talented pitcher who is young (only 26!) and still learning.Also seems like a very good guy.I'm definitely a new Gio fan :)

  9. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Seems to, again, only corroborate what the unbiased neutral stats I look at seem to say: If you've got good hitters on your team it might help to pick one to lead off preferabley with speed. But its best to just have good hitters with high wOBA's (or OBA's as Wonk stated.The Nats need good hitter[s]. And according to Johnson's interview with the MLB.com traveling show he stated where he saw Harper fitting (and perhaps Corey Brown). Johnson said he needs tat left-handed impact presence in the lineup. Anywhere in the lineup if he is a good hitter. It really shouldn't matter so much where. Take note Mr. Skole.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Seems to, again, only corroborate what the unbiased neutral stats I look at seem to say: If you've got good hitters on your team it might help to pick one to lead off preferabley with speed. But its best to just have good hitters with high wOBA's (or OBA's as Wonk stated.The Nats need good hitter[s]. And according to Johnson's interview with the MLB.com traveling show he stated where he saw Harper fitting (and perhaps Corey Brown). Johnson said he needs tat left-handed impact presence in the lineup. Anywhere in the lineup if he is a good hitter. It really shouldn't matter so much where. Take note Mr. Skole.

  11. fast eddie - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    NatinBeanTown:Your eyeballs say no correlation between OBP and runs scored, but it holds true for the Nats. They were dead-last in OBP and next to last in runs scored.Interesting that the Braves were 27 percentage points higher than us in OBP but scored fewer runs than we did.

  12. FS - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    btw when desmond lead off an inning last season, any inning, his slash is .222/.265/.341. I am sure you guys have already been over this, but these numbers don't really inspire anyone.

  13. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    What's MLB average when leading off an inning?

  14. FS - Mar 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    these are the splits: .256/.313/.406Nats were ranked 26th.NL's splits: .253/.310/.402Nats were ranked 14th out of 16th.

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