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Nats vs. Marlins – 3/27/12

Mar 27, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats make yet another trip to Jupiter today to face the Marlins.

JUPITER, Fla. — Gio Gonzalez is quite familiar with Roger Dean Stadium at this point, and not because he happens to live a little farther down I-95 in Miami. This is actually his third start of the spring at this complex, though the previous two came against the Cardinals.

Today, Gonzalez will go up against the Marlins, who have plenty of regulars in their lineup, including Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez. They also have a familiar face in their lineup: Austin Kearns. The former Nationals outfielder is putting together an impressive spring — he's hitting .345 with three homers — as he tries to make the club as a non-roster invitee.

No TV or radio coverage of this game, so you'll just have to check back here often for all your updates…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Mark DeRosa

Read more »

124 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Assuming Rick is not on the DL, that would make the outfield Shark, Arm, HomeRun King.OK, I understand they can backdate the DL to 3/26. When do they have to announce who is on the DL and what the actual 25-man roster is? When they hand the line-up card to the ump or sooner?By the way, there was some talk of instituting a rule for September call-ups that teams have to inform the ump who will be available for a particular game, so you don't have thousands of pinch hitters/pinch runners in the game just so their parents can get a photo. Has anything come of that proposal?

  2. hmmm... - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    i think they are going to make the parents supply their own photos

  3. Jenn Jenson - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Arm. Love it!(I realize I may be way behind on this particular nickname, but I'm endorsing it now nonetheless.)

  4. Theophilus - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Noting the previous (brief) thread, I don't make the connection between "touting" Lombardozzi as an everyday second baseman and the quote from DJ. If Johnson sees Lombardozzi as an "everyday" player, he is (A) imagining him as a LF, (B) musing about unforeseen circumstances; (C) visualizing Lombardozzi in some other team's uniform in exchange for a top pitching prospect. With Rendon on a short-term trajectory (2014, probably, at the latest), no way can Johnson foresee Lombardozzi as the 2B of the future.

  5. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Theo, it did strike me as a little odd, too, given that they have a second baseman of the present, and he's what, 25?

  6. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    He'll BE 25 in a month.

  7. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Speaking of parents, is there a big Gonzalez family contingent at the game?

  8. NatinBeantown - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Theo, Sec 3: I read that as a message to and about Lombardozzi. Essentially, "this kid's going to be a Major League 2nd baseman, but his bat is valuable enough [to this team] to keep him in the major leagues in 2012. As our roster is currently constructed, the only way to keep him up but give him enough ABs is to use him as a utility player FOR NOW."

  9. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Section 3, My Sofa said… OK, Math Persons, here's one for you. Is there an established correlation between OBP of the leadoff hitter, and team runs scored, over a season?That's a great question! I think the jury is still out on that, but I have read a number of articles that say batting order is way over-rated. The guy in the lead-off spot is only guaranteed to lead-off once per game. What's more important is that the lead-off guy, over time, has more *plate appearances* than anyone else. (That's why, in those slow-pitch softball leagues where there are a lot (a lot!) of homers, the theory is that you put your best HR hitter as leadoff).Yeah, you want guys who are on base for your heavy hitters, but unless your heavy hitter is batting second . . . (Similarly, the sabermaticians were saying that batting the pitcher 8th or 9th was, for the most part, irrelevant).So, according to these guys, it's not that you need, specifically, a lead off guy to have a high OBA, it's that you want the guys with the the most at bats — the guys at or near the top of the order — to have a high OBA.At least that's what some of the Sabermaticians say. Again, I suspect the jury is still out.Please don't argue with me, I'm just reporting what some of the studies are saying, and I'm probably not up to date on them, either.

  10. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Not a good start for Gio

  11. Feel Wood - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Please don't argue with me, I'm just reporting what some of the studies are saying, and I'm probably not up to date on them, either.So why did you spend so much time arguing with me yesterday when I was just reporting (and trying to translate) what Boswell was saying? Are you so fragile that you just can't handle anyone countering whatever hogwonk you're throwing around?

  12. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    2 RBIs by Austin Kearns on a double. No way. 3-0

  13. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Gio going to get shelled again? Hopefully McCatty can help if he can get out of the inning.

  14. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Wonk & Feel Wood, I think you both need a "timeout". Geez, are you both 7?

  15. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    What's more important is that the lead-off guy, over time, has more *plate appearances* than anyone else.I've heard this point made, but it seems to me the relative order would matter, as opposed to picking batting order out of a hat. Having Muldoon and Flynn (notorious muffins) hitting in front of Casey (where did Casey hit in the order, anyway?) would not seem to allow so many RBI chances for a guy with XBH power.

  16. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    And yes, I know the SABR guys have done this to death. And I could just go read that.

  17. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Success against the Marlins is getting Reyes out to start the game. Once he is on, you have Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez and Gabby Sanchez following. Single to Reyes, Walk to Hanley and Single to Gabby. 1 run in. Have to get Kearns out….

  18. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    So is this game being broadcast, or are you reporting live, SteveM?

  19. Feel Wood - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Fukudome, PAY TO PLAY. I'm twelve. (And quit screaming at me.)

  20. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    If Brett Carroll makes the team it'll have to be ArmL and ArmR. If Harper comes up then it'll be Armor All.

  21. jd - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Steve M. You are right and had this game counted for anything I would get upset at Gio. As it stands I figure he is just getting his work in.

  22. Will - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Sec 3, the theory is that the top 5 spots should basically be:#1: high OBP guy#2: high OBP (perhaps less so than #1), but in general your best hitter (but not necessarily for power)#3: best hitter after 1, 2, 4, 5#4: best power hitter#5: best hitter after spots #1, 2 and 46-9: doesn't matter muchhttp://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-byAccording to this, the Nats have it all wrong. It should be something more like:1: Werth2: Zimmerman4: Morse5: LaRocheThen #3 should be whoever you think is better between Ramos and Espinosa.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    So, according to these guys, it's not that you need, specifically, a lead off guy to have a high OBA, it's that you want the guys with the the most at bats — the guys at or near the top of the order — to have a high OBA.Agreed, except wOBA or weighted OBA appears to be the more unbiased, disjoint statistic.

  24. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I dunno, jd; a little late for the "just getting his work in" to include the outfielders and Marlins hitters getting their wind sprints in.

  25. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    When speaking of leadoff, yes, its the person who bats 1st for their team to start the game but also bats in the same place in the order the rest of the game in front of the #2 to #5 hitters where most teams place their best hitters/RBI men. You want men on base to drive in.I'm sure there has been a study done to see the correlation with a high OBP in leadoff but I can't find anything in a Google search. Simple thought pattern is the difference between a .300 OBP guy and a .330 OBP guy in 600 Plate Appearances is 18 more times during the season on base.

  26. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Or as Brady Anderson so aptly put it: Barry Bonds would have made the ultimate lead-off hitter. He was just too valuable elsewhere in the lineup. Ted Williams probably the all-time best possible lead-off hitter.

  28. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Will, they tried the Werth thing at leadoff and while I see where you are going, the player has to feel comfortable hitting in that spot in the lineup.

  29. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Will and SteveM, thanks.

  30. jd - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    'Will, they tried the Werth thing at leadoff and while I see where you are going, the player has to feel comfortable hitting in that spot in the lineup.' I don't get that at all. To me the objective is always to get on base. Why do you feel more or less comfortable depending on your place in the order?

  31. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    SteveM,professional hitters, true professional hitters should be comfortable where ever you put them in the lineup. Last year did not say much for Werth and his offensive skill. I wouldn't consider him as good a hitter as Morse and Morse is paid significantly less.

  32. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    1:33 p.m. — Boy, the Nats really made Nolasco work harder in the top of the second. He needed to throw eight whole pitches before retiring the side this time. Sheesh, it's almost as if the entire Nationals roster just wants to get on the bus back to Viera. Luckily Reyes came up with 2 outs in his 2nd at-bat when he doubled and got stranded there.Bernadina with a nice bunt single to breakup the no-hitter! LOL

  33. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Sheesh, it's almost as if the entire Nationals roster just wants to get on the bus back to Viera. Ouch. Don't hold back, Mark, tell us what you really think of their effort today.

  34. TimDz - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    So Amanda Comak tweets the Nats believe Gio is going through "Spring training dead arm." I have never heard that one before this season (granted, I am not the most astute seamhead out there). It seems that term was bantered about with EJax last week.Are other teams reporting this with their pitchers?

  35. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    I don't get that at all. To me the objective is always to get on base. Why do you feel more or less comfortable depending on your place in the order? Baseball players, more than most, are creatures of habit. Not all habits are good ones.

  36. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    If you think you're winning because you're getting [attention], or because you're wearing women's underwear, or because you're hitting second, then you are.

  37. jd - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    TimDz, It's very common. I've heard pitchers say it for years.

  38. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I think Abraham Lincoln said that.

  39. Tcostant - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Does anyone know if either of regular season games in Japan are on TV tomorrow or Thursday? I also enjoyed watching these before work, but have no idea where I can find on Directv in DC area. Help!

  40. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    jd said… 'Will, they tried the Werth thing at leadoff and while I see where you are going, the player has to feel comfortable hitting in that spot in the lineup.'I don't get that at all. To me the objective is always to get on base. Why do you feel more or less comfortable depending on your place in the order? March 27, 2012 1:44 PMjd, for Ryan Zimmerman it probably doesn't matter, but it matters with most players. Do you remember how Nyjer phoned it in when he was moved from leadoff down in the order? These players have spent a good part of their career comfortable in one or two spots in the order and some don't like to be moved.Isn't that Yogi Berra's thing about the "mental" part of the game?

  41. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    The rose goes in the front, btw.Section 3, My Sofa said… If you think you're winning because you're getting [attention], or because you're wearing women's underwear, or because you're hitting second, then you are. March 27, 2012 1:48 PM

  42. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Sec3, nicely said in 15 words

  43. #4 - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    A dead arm period in spring training is very common. It usually happens about three weeks into the games.

  44. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Many long losing streaks with a few wins thrown in here and there…Sound familar Nats fans?

  45. MicheleS - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Tcostant. The A's website has them on MLB Network on a delay at 9AM eastern

  46. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Remember when Gio Gonzalez said upon his trade that he was not good with a bat. He spoke truthfully. Couldn't get the bunt down with men on 1st and 2nd with no outs.

  47. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    For all the Bernadina people, the kid is now batting .295 Like I said, it still doesn't mean much but I am hoping this is his year to show the world what he can do.He is notorious for getting into bad habits and prolonged slumps but maybe with the attention he has gotten from Rick Eckstein, maybe this year will be a breakout season for him.

  48. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Credit to Desmond for actually taking the first pitch, is scarcasm from Mark I take it. But, it's pretty telling as to just how poorly suited Ian is for this leadoff stuff. The guy has real trouble laying off of anything near the plate and he does not make enough solid contact to make that approach a winner. The Nats need Plan B for leadoff and they need it now. Wagering that Demsond beats the odds and becomes someone new is just not a smart bet. The Nats need to be placing their fortunes on something much more reliable.

  49. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Austin Kearns is batting .387 Wondering when the real Kearns will show up. 2 for 2 today.

  50. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Austin Kearns is batting .387 Wondering when the real Kearns will show up. 2 for 2 todayKearns is good just not great. Not worth the money JimBo payed him. Better off paying Aaron Crow some of it. He actually would make a good right-handed bat off the bench that can actually field all 3 outfield positions for the Nats IMO. Doubtless he would never return to this franchise.

  51. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Another chance to drive in some runs is snuffed. Bernadina K's with 2 men on and 2 outs. I just hope Mark doesn't tell us Bernie was swinging for the fences. When I talk about Bernadina getting into bad habits its things like when he thinks he is a power hitter and starts getting a longer swing going for the fences. If he can stay in his game which is a decent line drive hitter who can lay down a bunt or surprise you with an occassional HR, he can be a valuable player.

  52. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Anonymous said… Doubtless he would never return to this franchise. March 27, 2012 2:10 PM Please translate in Kearnsian economic terms. Thanks, signed Clueless in DC.

  53. gonatsgo - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I seem to recall that Kearns was good before he was a nat. By the way, speaking of ex-nats — did you see the news about marquis' daughter? He is not with the team.

  54. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Gio Gonzalez just stuck out Jose Reyes! ERA drops below 8.00!!!!!!!

  55. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Much better, Gio!

  56. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    gonatsgo, how is Jason M's daughter doing? Heard she had a serious biking accident.

  57. Feel Wood - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Besides the spring training dead arm, Gio may also be suffering from spring training dead body. He's had to make every one of his starts this spring shortly after getting off a one or two hour bus ride. Even minor leaguers don't have to do that. Once the season starts, he'll be able to fall into a better routine on the days he pitches, both home and away.

  58. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    2:15 p.m. — Gonzalez has definitely been getting better as this outing progresses. He just retired the side in the fourth, striking out Nolasco and Reyes. For those wondering about the whole "dead arm" issue, I don't see that being a problem today. The stadium radar gun has had his fastball clocked around 91-93 mph. That's pretty much normal for him. Marlins still lead 3-0 after four.Glad you tackled that one and put it away!

  59. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Mark, is something up with Ankiel? Why is he being pulled?

  60. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    NatsLady said… Assuming Rick is not on the DL, that would make the outfield Shark, Arm, HomeRun King.March 27, 2012 12:52 PM NatsLady, I'm going to say a big UH OH?

  61. gonatsgo - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Steve M — Twins site very vague about the type of injuries, but he is not with the team so it can't be great. Sounds like the are being very nice and only care about the child's health at this point. Very nice to hear.I hope things go well for them. Hey — gameday says that Gio had a fly out — does that mean he made actual contact with a baseball??? Woo-hoo — before you know it he will have an honest-to-goodness batting average!

  62. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Yep, Amanda Comak reporting Ankiel heads into the clubhouse with the trainer. Hate to say it, saw it earlier in Spring Training and too many times last year from a guy who has a OBP under .299Hate to say it, may be a blessing in disguise. If he is on this team, Davey will feel the need to start him and he is just another guy who short changes the team on offense. Yes, he has an amazing arm which and good glove. Sounds like a late inning defensive replacement to me.

  63. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Why is Davey switching Lombo now to 2nd base. This Opening Day outfield may end up as Lombo LF, Shark CF, Bull Moose RFInfield Zim 3rd, Desi SS, Espi 2nd, DeRosa 1st, Ramoose C, Strasburg P

  64. David - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    2 on, 1 out. Top of the 6th, for Bernadina…

  65. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    So to hear Mark tell it, Davey shouldn't be too happy with the way they're addressing the ball today. Approaching the At-Bat. Whatever.A little less "Hello, ball!" and a little more "Goodbye, ball!" would be nice.

  66. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    SteveM, I think you could pretty much say the same thing about Werth as Ankiel? With just Morse and Zimmerman as the only two legitimate hitters (and doffing hat to DeRosa) you can't expect this offense to be any good … at least until the "Utes" develop and learn to hit. Some will and some won't. Desmond definitely looks as if he won't. I wouldn't be surprised to see him AAA Syracuse replaced by someone like Rendon before too long.Its pitching and defense this year … its a Riggleman model team … the difference is we're waiting for them "Utes" to learn to hit in the minors and the majors.

  67. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Bernadina!!!!! RBI single. Now batting .304

  68. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    "Chris Rahl"??

  69. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Gio pulled for a pinch-hitter. Ended on a decent outing. 5 innings 3 Earned

  70. David - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    might as well have let Gio hit…

  71. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Why is Davey switching Lombo now to 2nd base.He may be getting ready for the day the High School baseball coach hitting experiment gets sent to AAA.

  72. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Chris RahlAA Eastern League All Star last year along with Tyler Moore, Archie Gilbert and Peacock.Why not?

  73. Joe Seamhead - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Steve, I've got dollars for donuts that Lombo will not start in the OF one time this season. He's not an outfielder, and Johnson knows it.

  74. m20832 - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Bernadina!!!!! RBI single. Now batting .304 So it's 3-1 now?

  75. Wally - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Steve M. said…This Opening Day outfield may end up as Lombo LF, Shark CF, Bull Moose RFThat is an odiferous OF, to be sure. Rizzo needs to do something, or I am going to break out in rhyme again. Maybe we can get Marlon Byrd for Atty Severino. Any news on Ankiel?Wonder why Davey pulled Gio there. Aren't we trying to stretch him out?

  76. baseballswami - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Stammen pitching now – I have always like that guy – he always seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Another season in Syracuse for him, I think. Unless the mysterious spate of tweaking continues…….

  77. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Maybe we can get Marlon Byrd for Atty Severino. Any news on Ankiel?Byrd's not a solution. He exacerbates the problem. They needed hitters not 34 year old fly swatters. You're just going to have to be patient and wait to see what the minors yields over the next year or two. The decision to pass on Fielder pretty much doomed the Nats to a pathetic offense for now.

  78. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Bunch of other changes, as well, with several guys called up from minor-league camp for the day taking over.Looks like it's all over but the shouting. I'll leave you all to see to that part. I'll go do my arithmetic homework.

  79. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Seth Bynum at shortstop? One of the last of the original Expos like Bernadina!

  80. FS - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    I put some effort into this for it to go unnoticed: For sec 3 (from previous post),"correct me if I am wrong fast eddie, but that correlation you have is runs against OBP of a team. that's to be expected.I ran two correlations: runs against game's leadoff hitter's OBP and runs against inning's leadoff hitter's OBP. First correlation was 0.207256 and second was .68006what I did was pulled team runs scored from baseball-reference and then from individual team's BF site, I pulled leadoff hitter's splits. Only concern would be that for each team, game's leadoff hitter's OBP comes from just 162 plate appearances, no matter which team you are looking at. But inning's leadoff hitter's OBP comes from about 1400 or more plate appearances.Is that what you had in mind sec 3?"

  81. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    JD Martin vs. Seth Bynum? Chiefs former ace versus the Chiefs power hitting and knitting MI? Classic.

  82. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Wally, at some point Morse is back and Harper is in the wings. This just looks bad now since Morse is out. I don't think it is panic time. For all those that don't like Ankiel or Bernadina, there are plenty of reasons why you would be justified, however, Bernadina gives you the ability to use his speed and more offensive upside I believe than Ankiel. Just my 2 cents.

  83. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    And Blanco is now 2 for 31

  84. SCNatsFan - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I fear this will be similar to the Nats of last year that look great one week and look like they might get shut out every night the next. On a bright note I think alot of those games with our staff we'll be thinking if we can just push a run or two across it might be enough.

  85. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Sure. Not signing Fielder AT ANY COST equals doom.Sure.Brilliant observation.

  86. Wally - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Anonymous said… Byrd's not a solution. He exacerbates the problem. They needed hitters not 34 year old fly swatters. You're just going to have to be patient and wait to see what the minors yields over the next year or two. The decision to pass on Fielder pretty much doomed the Nats to a pathetic offense for now.Don't agree on the first point. Byrd is certainly no long term solution, but he has averaged about 3 WAR/yr over the last 5 years, and been + on D each year but 1. His lowest OBP over that stretch was .324, and it averaged about .350. Certainly a better option for 2012 than Carroll, Michael, Ankiel or even 'Man on Fire' Bernadina (had to read the Hunger Games before deciding whether to allow my 10 yr old to read it). I could see the argument that he isn't worth the $6m salary, but I really do not see how he exacerbates the problem of an OF that is going to play the Fearsome Foursome quite a bit.Agree on Fielder, although that contract will not end well for DET.

  87. Wally - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Steve M. said…Wally, at some point Morse is back and Harper is in the wings…Agreed, this probably works itself out by mid summer, but I see no reason not to try to be better in the interim, and Byrd could easily slide to 4th OF then. Plus, with the rash of injuries Philly and Mia have suffered, this could be a year we sneak off with something. I don't love Byrd, and only see him for 2012, but he is still better than any other guy in the running for 4th OF, and Harper, Werth and Morse (and Laroche) will all need days off, so the 4th OF could get quite a bit of time still.

  88. Steve M. - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    The Fielder situation would have been short-term gain for a long-term albatross that will possibly strangle Detroit to epic proportions. That's all forward thinking but keep in mind the AL has a DH which is why it made a little more sense for Detroit.

  89. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    I could see the argument that he isn't worth the $6m salary, but I really do not see how he exacerbates the problem of an OF that is going to play the Fearsome Foursome quite a bit.You watched the Riggleman commercial about 'smart ball' one time too many. They don't need fly swatters … and even Brady Anderson made mention of this .. THEY NEED RUN PRODUCERS like Fielder. Impact bats. The adjusted unbiased stats clearly show that … and have over the past 4 years or so; even with Dunn and Willingham. Byrd is a return to the past of picking up past their prime guys like Beimel and Vilone. Willie Harris and Alex Cora. Byrd is an average player not a bad one but I wouldn't want him because he is at the age where steep declines occur. Prefer to take my risks with the Bernadinas thank you very much.Even with Byrd they would still have a pathetic offense. They NEED dangerous HITTERS not fly swatters. They need guys that put fear into pitchers … that make them labor, want to pitch around them … nibble.

  90. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Chris Rahl originally drafted by Arizona , Cal League All-Star batting champ led the minors in hits with 186 in 2006, Southern League All-Star in 2009, hit .290 in PCL in 2010, last year led the Eastern league in triples and 9th in sb. College All-American Div 1.

  91. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    That's all forward thinking but keep in mind the AL has a DH which is why it made a little more sense for Detroit. Agreed. And unfortunately true. However, it does not vanquish the true need. Harper is just one hope, they need a couple more beyond Zim and Morse and I don't see Werth living up to his billing. Do you? Espinosa is a possibility but he still looks lost as to how he should approach his at bats. Desmond looks completely lost. Ramos now looks lost after a surge last year. I can see them with Lance Berkman next year at first base … but I suspect it could be right handed Tyler Moore … yet another prospect that will have to be developed into a hitter.

  92. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Sure. Not signing Fielder AT ANY COST equals doom. Sure. Brilliant observation. Typical Natsjack putting words in people's mouth. NOT doom Einstein. Pathetic offense. In case you haven't been following (and you often don't) note that DeRosa has been making comparisons between this team and his SF team that one the WS. Pathetic sputtering offense does not necessarily mean DOOM? Capito? Sheesh!

  93. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Can't blame NatsJack or anyone else fot not following Periculum. Following the garbage truck on a 100 degree day would be better than that.

  94. jeeves - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Ah, c'mon, Wally, you just wanted an excuse to read The Hunger Games. And what was the verdict on your ten year old. Personally, I found it a fun read, but then again I'm seventy.Opening day lineup, Steve, sans Ankiel, will likely be Carroll in center, Bernadina and Werth.

  95. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Say what you will, it's ST, etc., but the curse continues.Any ideas on how to exorcise the Marlins demon during the regular season most welcome.

  96. hmmm... - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    sec 3: A little less "Hello, ball!"you're a riot alice. but i agree

  97. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Can't blame NatsJack or anyone else fot not following Periculum. Following the garbage truck on a 100 degree day would be better than that.Sure old man Magoo? Find those glasses and cane yet? ~laughing~

  98. Wally - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    jeeves said… Ah, c'mon, Wally, you just wanted an excuse to read The Hunger Games. And what was the verdict on your ten year old. Personally, I found it a fun read, but then again I'm seventy. Opening day lineup, Steve, sans Ankiel, will likely be Carroll in center, Bernadina and Werth.I liked it, although I like fantasy books generally. I gave the go ahead to my daughter, although with all the violence and cruelty, it wasn't a no brainer. She is pretty young minded for a 10 yr old, compared to her classmates. But I figured that I can't hide her from the world forever. She is just starting it now.She has a birthday coming up – I was thinking a bow and arrow set if she really gets into it.

  99. DWS - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Still hitting. A few positives to take from today's game.

  100. Get Some Players - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Sad day—–Adam Kilgore's Nationals Journal has literally been taken over by Poopy McPoop today. I hope Mark doesn't let this happen here.

  101. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Was there something wrong with Gameday? I was trying to look at it, but all it said for the Nats was 1 – swinging strike 2 – swinging strike 3 – swinging strike.Here is a 99 cent book that examines batting order with statistics. Good read.Baseball Detective: Unraveling the Mystery of the Batting Order [Kindle Edition] http://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Detective-Unraveling-Mystery-ebook/dp/B004SP1G5Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332878406&sr=8-1

  102. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    NatsLady said…Was there something wrong with Gameday?That's what they do for spring training — every strikeout is three pitches (strikes), every walk is four pitches (balls), and everything else a first pitch hit or out.

  103. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    SteveM– in the book I showed above, the author did do a study of high OBP on lead-off. But the difference is so small that the "comfort level" of the hitters is more important.

  104. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Wonk, I know what you mean, but this was during the play-by-play, not the summary. And when the At-bat was over, I would read, so-and-so (Nat) strikeout swinging.So, did the Nats swing at a lot of pitches, and not take very many?

  105. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Get Some Players, I agree, but it's their own fault at WaPo. A perfect storm of trolls, disastrously bad new interface, and a new writer in Kilgore, who had no particular following. It's like stopping into a bar where you used to be a regular, and they've redecorated, changed servers, and put in a jukebox with all rhinestone cowboy and disco music. It looks kinda familiar, but there's no attachment left.

  106. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Was trying to make a joke about Gameday and the Nats' strikeouts. Guess it didn't succeed.

  107. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    And a week from today, if the weather is decent, I will be at an ACTUAL BASEBALL GAME. I'm collecting telephone numbers from my students so I can call in sick.

  108. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    FS said… I put [too much] effort into this for it to go unnoticed: For sec 3 (from previous post)Thank you, FS. Here's what I was getting at: The discussion has centered around the Nats needing the leadoff, and maybe the #2 hitter depending on who's talking, to have an OBP above some point, let's say .335 just for fun.I assume people mean those slots in the order, over the whole game, not just the first inning, and over a significant majority of the season, at least. Otherwise, the argument goes (if I got this right), the Nats are very unlikely to score enough runs to win enough games to contend.What I want to know is, does the leadoff hitter's OBP (counted as if the team had the same guy in that job every game) for the season correlate to how many runs the team scores, on the season? If it does, is it strong enough to say "X points of leadoff OBP is worth Y runs per season"? Because, while I don't disagree the offense would be better if Desmond could get on base more, I suspect they might be able to survive Desmond, as-is, if they get seriously upgraded production from non-starters–the bench. Because the leadoff hitter is important, but he's only one guy. A couple of dozen more hits&walks, more or less, out of him will be good, but they can get that mileage out of four guys, batting where Davey chooses to use them in-game, perhaps better. IMO.

  109. NatinBeantown - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    When did Chris Rahl's mom start reading NI? Welcome!

  110. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Another lineup gambit that never made it past the sports pages and simulation stage was the idea of batting Barry Bonds in the leadoff spot, especially during his monster 2003 and 2004 seasons in which he drew 198 and 232 walks, respectively. In the leadoff position, Bonds would have certainly gotten a few more at bats over the course of the season, and pitchers might have been less likely to walk him because several good hitters followed him. Of course, the drawback is that he would have batted much less often with runners on base.His manager, Felipe Alou, talked about trying this but never did. Click [a baseball analyst] ran a simulation that put the hitters with better on-base percentages higher in the order regardless of their slugging percentage, and found that it had zero impact on overall runs scored compared to a regular lineup.Martinez, David (2011-03-17). Baseball Detective: Unraveling the Mystery of the Batting Order (Kindle Locations 218-222). Homerunweb Books. Kindle Edition.

  111. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Section 3, My Sofa said… FS said… I put [too much] effort into this for it to go unnoticed: For sec 3 (from previous post) Thank you, FS. Ditto — i.e., thank you, FS. That was a lot of work.Unfortunately, I don't think it answers the specific questions we have. For example, other than the first at bat of the game, how often does the #1-hole lead off in an inning? Or, does a higher than average #2 make up for lower-than-average #1? Does it even matter which order the #1 and #2 are in?I'd love to hear if anyone reads "Baseball Detective: Unraveling the Mystery of the Batting Order" that NatsLady pointed to! (Hey, it's only 95-cents! — if you have a NOOK)

  112. A DC Wonk - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Ahh, I posted a second too late.Looking forward to hearing more, NatsLady! Thanks.This seems to support my guess/recollection (up above) that what _really_ matters is the OBP (and SLG) of each of the players, not so much the #1-hole

  113. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded. Or something.Section 3, My Sofa said… Get Some Players, I agree, but it's their own fault at WaPo. A perfect storm of trolls, disastrously bad new interface, and a new writer in Kilgore, who had no particular following. It's like stopping into a bar where you used to be a regular, and they've redecorated, changed servers, and put in a jukebox with all rhinestone cowboy and disco music. It looks kinda familiar, but there's no attachment left. March 27, 2012 4:23 PM

  114. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    OBP/runs — conclusionThis lineup, untraditional as it is (slow Rance Mulliniks batting leadoff?), would score about 776 runs (4.795 per game), or about nine runs more than the actual lineup. OBP/wins:The numbers were so close that Moore ran the simulation over 20,000 seasons, or 3.63 million games, only to achieve approximately the same results. Bottom line: in practice, the theoretically optimal lineup might win you two extra games over the course of five seasons. Martinez, David (2011-03-17). Baseball Detective: Unraveling the Mystery of the Batting Order (Kindle Locations 201-203). Homerunweb Books. Kindle Edition.

  115. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    P.S., you don't need a Nook or a Kindle. There's an app for that… (on iPad or Windows 7).

  116. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    I'll try again.People keep saying Desmond doesn't get on base enough to hit leadoff. So how much difference would it make, if at the end of the year, Ian Desmond plays most of the games, and his OBP is, say, .340, or whatever?

  117. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    *Ian Desmond hits in the leadoff hole, plays most of the games…

  118. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Sec 3, that's a different question. But the bottom line is, if any player improved his OBP by xx, it would improve the chances of the Nats getting runs, whether or not "any player" is batting leadoff or not.

  119. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Sec 3, that's a different question. AAAAAARRHHH!!! It's the only one I've asked, six different ways from Tuesday!

  120. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    That was funny. You may not be laughing, but I am.Thanks, Lady.

  121. FS - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    no problem guys. I like doing this stuff.Actually I was looking at correlations by league. What I reported before was for all 30 teams. The two leagues are different so I tried them separate and correlations are vastly different in two leagues. Highly correlated in American League (as you would expect since number 9 hitter is not a pitcher – 0.85) and very weak correlation in NL (.13). I also fit two lines (one for AL and one for NL) to see how does R-square looks like (normalized the variables before fitting the linear equation). Again AL relationship seems more significant than the NL. I wish I could share the graphs with you guys.Will comment on your posts in a minute.

  122. FS - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Sec 3, from your 4:38 post, I understand that you want to fit runs scored by a team against OBP of a leadoff hitter (such as Reyes or Bourn or Desmond). I tried to calculate the correlation between these two variables: very high for AL and very low for NL, like I said in my previous post. If I fit a line, R-square suggests the same thing (.7184 for AL and .0186 for NL). since R-square is so low, I dont feel confident about using .340 in the equation to calculate runs scored.Agree with DC Wonk's argument that leadoff hitter mainly gets to truly leadoff min 162 times and maximum – not as much as we like to think.I don't read baseball detective, but I had subscribed to Chance – a statistical magazine that has mainly sports statistical analyses. They had very good articles on Joe DiMaggio and probability of someone breaking his streak.

  123. FS - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    BTW sample for each is 14 and 16 data points, corresponding to number of AL and NL teams. We can probably use AL and NL statistics from past seasons in the same table because I don't really expect much difference between last season and seasons before that.Also sec 3, if you meant to ask how much a leadoff hitter with .340 OBP will make a difference to Nationals? That is hard to do since every season players surrounding him change a lot.

  124. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Again, thanks, FS, for what must have been a lot of work, even though it's mostly a black box to me. "Whoosh" is the technical term, I think. But your answer does seem to support my suspicion, that we–some of us, anyway–place way too much emphasis on Desmond's success, or lack thereof, in the leadoff spot.

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