Skip to content

Trust in self does Lidge well

Apr 18, 2012, 2:37 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Jesus Flores had some words of encouragement for Brad Lidge last night.

Brad Lidge has been through the wringer enough times over the years — shoot, he's got 225 career saves, not to mention 44 career blown saves — to know how to handle a little ninth-inning rally.

So when one-half of the Nationals' replacement closer while Drew Storen is injured entered for the top of the ninth last night with his team up 1-0, and then promptly put the first two Astros batters he faced on base, he reassured himself with three words that he always turns to in these situations.

"Trust your stuff," he said. "Trust your stuff and believe in what you've got. I've done it my whole career. And in situations like that where you just have to trust, almost all the time it ends up working."

Indeed it did. After giving up a leadoff double to Jed Lowrie and then walking J.D. Martinez, Lidge buckled down. He got Carlos Lee,Read more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    what percentage of leadoff doubles end up scoring? curious. i bet it's pretty high.

  2. UnkyD - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I LOVELOVELOVE this post, Mark! "Trust your stuff". Better life advice was never uttered. I'm actually inspired by this…

  3. jcj5y - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I think the problem for the Nats is that Lidge's stuff isn't what it used to be. The slider's still there, mostly, but his fastball is very hittable. That leads to him throwing more sliders than is ideal.On the other hand, Rodriguez has plus-plus stuff, but lacks Lidge's invaluable experience. Let's just hope the Nats can contniue to scrape by while they wait for Storen to recover. Assuming he's back where he was last season, Lidge will probably move into the 7th-8th inning role for the "B" bullpen.

  4. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    The fact that Werth said never a doubt means that there really was a doubt. Leadoff doubles and wlaks are the kinds of things that make people doubt. I hope they look to HRod first until Storen comes back.dfh21

  5. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Anonymous said… "what percentage of leadoff doubles end up scoring? curious. i bet it's pretty high."61% according to the following statistics. But keep in mind that includes all pitcher-batter matchups. http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/chance_of_scoring_by_base_out_retrosheet_years/

  6. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    dfh21 said… "The fact that Werth said never a doubt means that there really was a doubt."The fact that there were men on 1st and 2nd with no outs means there was a doubt. Werth's statement is merely a statement of confidence in Lidge and/or hyperbole.

  7. Section 222 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    At this point, amazingly enough, I have more faith in MPH-Rod than in Lidge. Just can't get that walkoff HBP of Jonny Gomes out of my head I guess. That's not to say Lidge is Gascanrahan before he became Joel Hanrahan, All Star closer. It's just that without the velocity he seems beatable. Sooner or later he's going to hang one of the myriad sliders he throws. On the other hand, I like DJ's A and B bullpen approach to Storen's injury. Keeping them both fresh is almost certainly a good thing. So when Storen returns, is part of both bullpens? Will he close two games in a row if a save situation presents itself in both? Or will Davey try to alternate him with Lidge or MPH-Rod, or both?

  8. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    So what is it that allows Lidge to do what he does?"I don't know," Werth said. "That's what's made him good for so long. Whatever that is, it's probably tough to pinpoint, and it's probably something you shouldn't even ask him about. But whatever it is, I think he's very capable." _____________________________Typical Werth answer. Then you have to love this "and it's probably something you shouldn't even ask him about."

  9. Anonymous8 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Lidge's blown save % is about 16%. Blown saves happen and with greater frequency when the margin of error is a 1 run lead.The toughest out is the last out.

  10. Grandstander - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I guess I'm crazy, but I'd rather have the guy who doesn't put anyone on, rather than the guy who puts tons of people on but finds a way to get out of it.This kind of pitching may have worked (barely) against the Astros, but against contending baseball teams, Lidge would have been hammered.In a lot of ways, this schedule has played out like an extended spring training against weak AAAA competition. But if you honestly believe we're going to be on the winning side of these games with this offense and this closer when we play the Dodgers, D-Backs and Phillies in a couple weeks, you're in for a smack of reality.

  11. natsfan1a - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    This. Also, if some of that "stuff-trusting" rubs off on H-Rod, so much the better. Early in the season but to me Henry does seem to have more poise out there.Blown saves happen and with greater frequency when the margin of error is a 1 run lead.

  12. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    This kind of pitching may have worked (barely) against the Astros, but against contending baseball teams, Lidge would have been hammered.You can't know that, and the guy's whole career, and the career of all elite closers, shows otherwise.

  13. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I think that pitch command is just, if not more important than velocity. Many pitchers have lasting power if they can pinpoint where the pitch is going to end up. Lidge has hung around despite a loss in pitch speed because his control is very good. H-Rod seemingly is trending nicely to better control which will makes him a devestating short relief specialist. In time, he may take over the closer spot by default, especially if DS doesn't have the same stuff or control when he comes back. Hopefully, Storens return proves to be a successful one but its nice to have insurance otherwise. JTinSC

  14. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    There was a chance Houston could score. That's different from doubt, in Werth's mind, or in Lidge's self-confidence and trust in his stuff.Of course, it helps to have stuff.

  15. natsfan1a - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Speaking of stuff (warning: it's been a while since I watched the routine and there may be some colorful language in there).

  16. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Cardiac closers are more the norm than the exception. You just gotta have faith that they will work themselves out of their self-inflicted jams. Lidge may not have the fastball of old, but when he gets on top of the slider it is nasty.

  17. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I am writing here in the new post to thank those who helped me with Harper & Purke. I read NI daily and am not trying to blow smoke but the posts on Mark's last article were excellent reading. Made me really think which is always dangerous but I guess good in the long run.I think Davey will stay with the alternating closer even if Lidge or HRod do blow a save or two and we have to acknowledge that it will happen. I realize the guy from the Tigers went 49 games but that is not the norm. My new question is, if Storen is back at 100%, will Lidge move down to the 7th and what will you do with HRod? I will answer my question by saying yes to moving Lidge down because that is what we brought him in for, and I would actually alternate HRod and Storen just like he is doing now with Lidge.

  18. Theophilus - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Lidge's control is NOT very good. With the exception of a couple of seasons, his record shows scarily high BB/9 every year. On the other hand, he does have the ability to work with whatever he's got at any given moment. Back when he had a 95 mph fastball (w/ the Astros) he got lit up like a lamp in the NCLS. Now that he has a 90 mph fastball, he works a very predictable pattern: one fastball, on a corner (inside or out), to establish credibility of the pitch; one slider, usually in the zone but in on the hands; another slider, in the dirt. Sometimes he needs to work w/ the slider to get it to behave; that's when he walks people. But so far this year he's had enough command that he doesn't have to give in on 2-1, 2-0, 3-0 and toss up a grapefruit that gets hammered. That's being a veteran — and I'll bet a part of his success is not having to be on the firing line night after night.

  19. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Cardiac closers are more the norm than the exception.I think it's odd, but sometimes people really do seem to forget that MLB closers pitch against MLB hitters, not fans picked out of the stands at random. There is no league above this one–the other guys are good, too. "It's supposed to be hard. Hard is what makes it great. If it weren't hard, everybody could do it."Being totally risk-averse means missing out on "the human drama of athletic competition." What fun would that be?

  20. Theophilus - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    NLCS

  21. Grandstander - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    You can't know that, and the guy's whole career, and the career of all elite closers, shows otherwise.The guy's whole career, he was a much better pitcher. Starting with his rookie season through his last good year when he won the series in 08, Lidge had a WHIP of 1.178. From 2009 til now, his WHIP is 1.550 and so far this season it's 1.667.Compare those numbers to the league's top closers last season:Kimbrel – 1.039Axford – 1.140Putz – 0.941Storen – 1.022Bell – 1.149This guy no longer has the ability to close in tight ballgames.As far as not knowing what would have happened against a better team, while there's obviously no way to know what would happen, I would say there's a higher probability Lidge would have been hammered.You shouldn't need a statistical analysis as to why a 3-4-5 of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera is better than Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Travis Buck, but I can give you one if you want.

  22. Nats1924 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Lidge and HRod is a great temporary solution until Storen gets back.And I too love switching both closers, keeping them fresh is prob very important. Let's go Nats

  23. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Sofa, just wondering how many "sofas" do you own? I know of Sec. 3 sofa, PFB Sofa and Soul Possession. I am guessing you have a basement full just waiting to be unleashed on NI.

  24. Tom in AR - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Grandstander: I realize beating the Astros and Cubs is not a great accomplishment, but we took 2 out of 3 from the Mets (who are 7-4, 4-1 against the Braves, 2-1 against the Philthies), and we took 3 out of 4 from the Reds, who are considered to be contenders. I am not going to complain that our wins haven't come against the Dodgers and D-Backs (who have been feasting on the Padres and Pirates among others).

  25. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Okay. Here is how TRENDY this team is becoming.. I work near Tyson's. On my way to get lunch, I have to walk through Bloomingdales. And guess what! They are selling Curly W Shirts in the men's section. Look out people the Bandwagon is coming!

  26. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    You shouldn't need a statistical analysis as to why a 3-4-5 of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera is better than Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Travis Buck, but I can give you one if you want. That's obvious, but you're not taking my point. Yes, his best days may well be behind him. Your faith is in probability, and that's fine, but probability doesn't step into the box, real hitters do. Fatalism (relying on probability) bores me, I think it's pointless. But that's just me.

  27. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    SJM, like Jimmy Durante, I got a million of 'em.

  28. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Sjm308 — When Storen comes back, I think Davey goes back to his original notion of an A&B setup rotation. Clipper will be "A" for the 8th inning. Lidge could be "A" for the 7th. Henry, Stammen & Matheus will likely be the "B" combo, with Henry or Lidge giving Drew a break if he goes two days in a row. Given Davey's style and Drew's injury, I don't think he's going to push Drew for 3 days in a row — until the playoffs, that is!

  29. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Hey, my comment just did a houdini…

  30. Feel Wood - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Grandstander said… I guess I'm crazy, but I'd rather have the guy who doesn't put anyone on, rather than the guy who puts tons of people on but finds a way to get out of it.You can always spot the bandwagon fans. They don't remember The Chief.

  31. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    You shouldn't need a statistical analysis as to why a 3-4-5 of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera is better than Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and Travis Buck, but I can give you one if you want. Of course not, that's obvious, but you're missing my point. Your faith is in probability, reality manifested in math. Fine. But probability doesn't get into the box, real hitters do. And none of those guys is batting 1.000. I don't see the point in fatalism–how is that more fun?

  32. whatsanattau - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    It's interesting. At the game last night my first thought after the 9th inning leadoff double was "huh, I wonder how he's gonna get out of this one"; not "oh no". I'm pretty sure pre-2011 me would have been thinking "oh no".

  33. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Are we fans correct to assume that barring any other injuries, there are only two move with regard to pitching we should see, that is Wang moving in as the 5th starter and Storen coming back in relief.With regard to bats, we will see only two moves here, Morse coming back and Harper moving up. Historically, the teams that go far make very little moves, if indeed that is all we do, we would fit this historical pattern. I would love some feedback

  34. Feel Wood - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Grandstander said… This guy no longer has the ability to close in tight ballgames.That's funny, because he just closed in a tight ballgame LAST NIGHT.As far as not knowing what would have happened against a better team, while there's obviously no way to know what would happen, I would say there's a higher probability Lidge would have been hammered.That doesn't matter, because you only have to beat the team you're playing that night, not some hypothetical Murderer's Row that's playing somewhere else.

  35. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Cardiac closers are more the norm than the exception.I wonder if that's true, or if we just think it is. I took at look at Storen for Sept last year. He pitched 13 times, 12 times he pitched exactly one inning. Seven of those times he pitched a 1-2-3 inning.Is that a lot? A little? The norm? I dunno . . .

  36. jcj5y - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Lidge is a stopgap. The WHIP numbers posted above speak volumes. But I can't think of many teams that would have a star-level closer ready if they're primary guy went down for two months (maybe the Braves). It's a testament to Rizzo and Davey that the team has Lidge and Rodriguez ready to step in. I'll still be nervous when either of them is out there in a tight game.

  37. Grandstander - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    You can always spot the bandwagon fans. They don't remember The Chief.Yeah, I'm Mr. Bandwagon over here. Even Cordero while in Washington had a WHIP 1.172. In his All-Star year in 2005, he only gave up 55 hits and 17 walks in 74.1 IP.Lidge is on pace to give up 74 hits and 50 walks in the same amount of innings. Not saying he will, but to compare Lidge to The Chief is pretty disingenuous.But probability doesn't get into the box, real hitters do. And none of those guys is batting 1.000.No, which is why we can't know for sure what would have happened against quality major leaguers. But you have to concede the point that had we been facing a better lineup, the probability of Lidge getting out of that jam would have been greatly reduced. I just don't see the logic in trotting a guy out there for a 1-run save who consistently gives up walks and hits at a rate 50% higher than most successful closers.

  38. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    can Coery Brown and Bryce Harper be our 1975 version of Rice and Lynn??

  39. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Stammen is striking everyone out – maybe he should be the closer for awhile!

  40. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I still think Nats will need one more bat, even if Morse is healthy and Harper playing. Maybe that bat is Brown. maybe Harper and Brown can be Rice and Lynn

  41. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    sm13 – that makes perfect sense!I am also thinking Lidge will be even stronger when he is moved back but how great is it that when Drew returns we have 3 or even 4 guys who can close.I did not like hearing that Davey is thinking that Stammen will be going down when Wang returns but someone has to go.

  42. Theophilus - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I'm comfortable w/ Lidge so long as he's not working every night. And comfortable w/ Rodriguez so long as he's not playing handball w/ the limestone backstop.

  43. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Grandstander… in 2005 all we had was Cordero in the pen, now we have everyhting in terms of pitching, starters, middle relief and closers

  44. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Mick wrote:With regard to bats, we will see only two moves here, Morse coming back and Harper moving up. Historically, the teams that go far make very little moves, if indeed that is all we do, we would fit this historical pattern. I would love some feedback I can see two different types of moves with bats, if we are in the hunt in June and are still lacking in hitting:1. Trade some of our young talent for a proven solid OF hitter; or2. Move up some of the AAA guys who are still raking then (note: I'm convinced Harper will be there eventually, I'm not convinced it'll be by June — it might be Sept for him). I see on the AAA leader board the following (after only 12 games — small sample size beware):1. Mark Teahan, 3B, .3242. Tyler Moore, 1b, .289 (5 HR's) 3. Corey Brown, OF, .267 (3 HR's)

  45. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    DC wonk… thank you, great feedback although I am hesitant to trade any of those AAA players

  46. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    A lot of the control problems, lack of velocity, etc. for Lidge have to do with the shoulder surgery which is the most serious kind a pitcher can have. I'm not sure he can last the whole season … any more than one could make the assumption that CM Wang could. They need Storen back and for Mattheus to continue to develop and improve and perhaps Hassan Pena and his HRod type heater to develop in Syracuse this season. Meanwhile, I have to wonder if Gorzelanny might be a better choice to come in for Lidge than Burnett at this point. He is far more effective and is still a power pitcher.

  47. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Davey likes to ride the hot hand and Stammen is red hot. I hope that means he'll stay. I look around and see a lot of teams that could use a middle reliever or 5th starter like Gorzo – deal him for a prospect and keep Stammen who has more upside

  48. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    DCWonk- in 05 we had Ayala and the Chief. Both were unhittable that year.

  49. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    And comfortable w/ Rodriguez so long as he's not playing handball w/ the limestone backstopIt may well be, that at 25, that is now a thing of the past. He's pitched in 5 games, and in only one of them did he allow a hit or a run. His overall WHIP is 0.938

  50. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    1. Mark Teahan, 3B, .3242. Tyler Moore, 1b, .289 (5 HR's) 3. Corey Brown, OF, .267 (3 HR's)DC Wonk Corey Brown has 0 homers at this point. BUT he does have 2 triples and a double already … and Harper has raised his average .245 but the important stat is Harper has FIVE XBH right now. That is a very good sign. Corey Brown's dearth of homers is due to his getting the lead-off spot every night. He is adjusting to that new role. I imagine once he gets past that the power will also come as he has plenty and his friend Tyler Moore will certainly work with him on that. In that vein, Brown ALREADY HAS 11 WALKS against just three strike outs with 3 stolen bases.We might have been wondering who gets lead off if Desmond can't handle it? It looks like Davey has answered that question and seems intent on proving to Rizzo and the FO that Corey Brown can do it as well as any outside possibilities. So, far he is making Davey look like a genius. AND MARK? Sure Davey was the guy who said John Lannan was his man … until he brought him for a tune up relief appearance in ST, giving him plenty of warning and warm-up. AND HE GOT summarily bombed? Right? Davey is also the one that told Corey Brown to do what he was capable of and the Nats wouldn't need a CF? Yet, then turned around and let Harper get most of the reps in CF in Syracuse? Isn't competition wonderful Mark? Davey is a cagey guy he knew both Harper and Brown needed to be pushed … and Tyler Moore is in that mix as well. Ha! But Syracuse's record should be better … the pitching hasn't been there and a big part of that hasn't been Yunesky Maya who has been doing well its been your guy (not Davey's) John Lannan who is getting paid FIVE million to pitch for the Chief's fans.

  51. Whatsanattau - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Davey answered a question yesterday about Stammen by saying that when Wang comes back there probably is not room for Stammen.

  52. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Peric: I agree with you on your choice of Gorzo & sm13, I disagree about trading him. He is much more valuable then I think we here realize. He can start, go long relief and also get the one out you need with a strikeout if necessary. I also like all of our pitchers mental toughness this year and this is probably way wrong but I think their body language is far superior to the last few seasons. They just seem to be more into things. I know that sounds silly but they seem to be standing taller on the mound and not letting bad calls or errors get to them.

  53. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    whatsanattau – that was what I was refering to when I mentioned how difficult it would be to see Stammen sent down

  54. jd - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Grandstander, Of course you are right but you want get the last word here now especially when we are winning. Logic does not rule these sites. I would absolutely limit our exposure by letting Lidge pitch in one run games.For now I would swap Stammen and Lidge's roles at least until Stammen shows that what he is done so far is legit.

  55. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    DC wonk… thank you, great feedback although I am hesitant to trade any of those AAA players Me, neither.BUTOne thing you gotta learn in baseball is that the chances of winning the ring don't come around too often, and you have to grab those chances when you can.I think everybody here, and every pundit, analyst, etc., thinks the 2013 Nats will be better than the 2012 Nats. But that's not a lock, and that doesn't mean if we're in the hunt in July we should just sit back and think "we look good for next year." No. If we're in the hunt in July, and just need a piece, Rizzo will do his best to go out and get it, because you never know if you'll get another chance. Yes, he's been prudent and patient towards building long term stability and quality — but you don't let a reasonably good chance at the playoffs go by without fighting for it.Maybe Morse and Storen will come back strong, and RZ will pick up and pitching will maintain, and we'll be kicking butt all year.But, more likely, we'll be in the thick of things in July, with the knowledge that if we add "one more piece" we could make it this year, and then Rizzo will try to trade some of the future for a playoff stop this year. Who knows? A package of Lannan, or Detwiler, or Lombo, or a AAA guy, or Stammen, or Gorzo, or some combination of the above might bring a solid good hitting outfielder, just the kind we need to get us really cranking. (And, if the price is too high, Rizzo, thankfully, won't pay it — see, e.g., Fielder, a smart non-move, imho).Either way, we have the makings here of a very exciting year!

  56. jd - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    If Storen comes back healthy I would convert some of the bullpen depth into say Denard Span.

  57. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Odds are that either Lidge or HRod does fine. Who said closing was hard? It's not. Keep your ERA below 9 for 1 inning and you succeed. There's nothing special about the last three outs. Mariano Rivera is great at getting 3 guys out, but he would have no chance if he had to face a batter 3-4 times in one game. He's going to the HOF for being very, very effective for 1/9th of 45 games per year. Bob Feller will spin in his grave. The starters have the toughest job and then the middle inning guy. Clip is more important by a mile than Storen. Clip pithces in jams, in games where the club is behind or even. Storen trots in for 3 outs with no one on and a lead against hitters who have seen him maybe 15 times in a season. It's some over rated stuff.

  58. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    sjm308 wrote: I know that sounds silly but they seem to be standing taller on the mound and not letting bad calls or errors get to them. I agree. When some around here were trashing our staff, I kept hammering the point home about how young so many of them were. (In particular, I kept defending MPHRod, pointing out, ad nauseum, that even guys like Koufax and Nolan Ryan couldn't control their fastball at age 24).I'm guessing McCatty has helped. But so has time — these young guys are maturing.

  59. jd - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    DC Wonk, None of the guys you mention are 'A' type prospects and none of them will get you a regular impact major league bat.

  60. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    (I meant: trashing our staff _last_ year)

  61. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    jd — Rizzo had his chance at Span last season, but he would not part with Storen, or so that is the rumor.

  62. "Tex" Majewski - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Don't like to brag but I was in there, too.sm13 said… DCWonk- in 05 we had Ayala and the Chief. Both were unhittable that year. April 18, 2012 12:52 PM A DC Wonk said…

  63. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Feel Wood said… it better than I did, at 12:30.

  64. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    And the Chief, G-d love him, was lots of things, but unhittable was not one of them.

  65. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    DC Wonk,None of the guys you mention are 'A' type prospects and none of them will get you a regular impact major league bat. Agreed. Which is why I said in combination with others. Some teams will be in the playoff race with only three good starters, with, perhaps, no good lefties, and might pay a good price for, say, a Gorzo, etc. Or, more likely, a losing team might trade out a good OF for a couple of young Nats for which _they_ can begin to build for the future.

  66. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Who said closing was hard? It's not. Keep your ERA below 9 for 1 inning and you succeed.You know how to fit 6 elephants into a Beetle? 3 in the front and 3 in the back.

  67. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Maybe Morse and Storen will come back strong, and RZ will pick up and pitching will maintain, and we'll be kicking butt all year.First, let me say I am a Morse fan … perhaps the original Morse fan, well other than Mariner's fans … ;)But following up on Wonk's post the guy most likely to be traded looks to be Morse. Unless Davey says he needs him. Morse's history of injuries and the potential Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro show make it a distinct possibility if they can improve his value. Think Willingham. The big problem with this, again, it the dearth of left-handed impact hitting. Yes, they do have Harper in the wings. A Skole between your finger and your thumb is a ways off still and not a definite sure thing. Clearly, Ankiel isn't a solution. Corey Brown? Perhaps, but right now he is being groomed to be a lead-off hitter. There's also Brian Goodwin who has shown some power. Nor is Chad Tracy a solution for that matter. Why do I bring this up again? Because this is where the Nats will look for if they consider a trade. They could attempt to sign Lance Berkman next season if the Cardinals don't. Or re-up LaRoche if he continues to improve. He has 5 XBH and 13 RBI which isn't bad in 12 games. The 13 strike outs against 7 walks is also an improvement. Still, his ISO is only .188. That needs to come up. These would likely be "stop-gap" plans. The Nats would more likely be seeing a young, up and coming potential left-handed impact hitter to go with Harper as a first priority. Whether from within or from the outside via trade.

  68. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    And the Chief, G-d love him, was lots of things, but unhittable was not one of them. I dunno . . . in 2005 his WHIP was 0.969, and he gave up an 6.7 H/9 Inn. That's fairly unhittable. (Only two starters in the entire NL had a better one — I don't know how to compare him against other relievers, though — I see Mariano Rivera, lifetime, is about 7.0)

  69. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    I look around and see a lot of teams that could use a middle reliever or 5th starter like Gorzo – deal him for a prospect and keep Stammen who has more upside.Gorzo is a power pitcher and left-handed. He is far more valuable than Stammen sm13. I keep telling you they aren't going to trade Gorzo unless the other side makes an offer Rizzo and Davey can't refuse. And even then?Right now there are only TWO left handers in the bullpen.1. Burnett2. GorzelannyGorzelanny looks better and provides far more upside in the form of his flexibility. He is still under 30 like Stammen yet has started far more than Stammen has in the major leagues.Stop with the Gorzelanny trade would you? If anything they should trade Burnett and his bad back first!

  70. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    But you have to concede the point that had we been facing a better lineup, the probability of Lidge getting out of that jam would have been greatly reduced. I just don't see the logic in trotting a guy out there for a 1-run save who consistently gives up walks and hits at a rate 50% higher than most successful closers. Again, and as Feel Wood more succinctly pointed out, that's beside the point, and you're still missing mine. It's not about logic. But for the logic of using Lidge, it's because cherrypicking stats, even when they are really big, juicy, ripe cherries, is incomplete. The guy knows how to get the job done, and the only job he has is to not let the run in. It does not matter how he does it, or how improbable it was that he did so, and I think that was Werth's point–it doesn't pay to over-analyze it.

  71. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Lets not forget Mike Stanton and Sun Woo Kim. Okay, Chad's definition of unhittable was a 400 foot fly ball that stayed with in RFK's spacious confines.

  72. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Parabola-man, I stand corrected. I was remembering all those fly balls in RFK, perhaps.

  73. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Dang, and now I owe SM13 a drink.

  74. UnkyD - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    See!!! I told you….DRAGONS!!! and Wang throws just as hard as Det… The K-Street Dragons!!!http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/washington-nationals-pitchers-are-bringing-the-heat/2012/04/17/gIQAe4iOOT_story.html

  75. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I'm sure I'll owe you one back soon [insert name here] Sofa!

  76. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    OOh, there's a marketing opportunity![Your Name Here!], My Sofa

  77. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    But I think maybe I'm arguing at cross-purposes as well, Grandstander. You're talking about how to plan for the upcoming "harder part" of the schedule, and Rizzo and Davey et al. do have to do that, "playing GM," as it were. I'm talking about playing fan, enjoying watching the players I root for succeed or fail.

  78. Wally - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I was wondering about how Desi and Espy's plate discipline was working so far, since it looked better to me, and I figure that we are roughly 10% into the season. Still small but enough to see if there is a trend. I kind of drew odd conclusions: ID is better, despite no change in BB%, and Espy not as good, despite big increase in BB%.ID – shows improvement, despite his BB% remaining constant. In a nutshell, he is swinging at less pitches out of the zone (O-Swing down almost 15%), he is swinging at more pitches in the zone (Z-swing up 10%)and, consequently, is making contact more often. His increased LD% (line drive) reflects the better pitch selection. Btw, for those of you frustrated that he is swinging at the first pitch too often, it should also be noted that he is seeing far more 1st pitch strikes than he has in the past (up almost 20% from career averages). So while we can't rely on his stats like BA with this small sample size (and a BABIP that will fall back), it does look like he is following through in his approach from the end of last year, which gives me hope that he can sustain a better offensive performance than he has shown in past years.Espy, on the other hand, doesn't appear to be doing things much differently than last year, according to these stats, despite a BB% that essential is doubled from last year. Oddly and perhaps concerning, he is hitting far more GBs than FBs. Even though his BB% is way up, he is only swinging at slightly less pitches out of the zone than last year, and making slightly more contact. The improvements are slight, not significant, and since other stats are in line with last year, it doesn't really explain the improved walk rate. What I am trying to say is that no one swings at obvious balls, the trick is to lay off the borderline ones, and it isn't apparent Espy is doing that, although I felt like he was just watching him. His contact % is up quite a bit, as is his LD%, which are both good things suggesting that he is swinging at better quality pitches, but he is hitting many more balls on the ground (53.6% in 2012 compared to 44.2% in 2011) than in the air (25%, 2012 v 39.6%, 2011). I don't think this is a good trend for Espy, whose power is part of his appeal.Anyway, not sure what to make of that, but thought that I would share it.

  79. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said… Parabola-man, I stand corrected. I was remembering all those fly balls in RFK, perhaps.Might be. He was nowhere near as good in the following years.

  80. Grandstander - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    The guy knows how to get the job done, and the only job he has is to not let the run in.His ERA the last 4 seasons is 4.65 so I'd dispute that he's getting the job done.Look, I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade. For me, I like "playing GM", just as much as I enjoy watching the game and being a fan. I wasn't watching the game last night hoping for Lidge to fail so I could write mean things about him on the Internet.All I'm saying is he sucks and shouldn't be closing games. ;)

  81. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Tim Kurkjian(on Mr. Tony this morning) really drank the KooK-Aid. His only worry is whether the Nats can get enough hits. Says there is no team in the NL with a scary offense.Bo Jackson was in the Braves TV booth (about the 2nd inning) promoting his charity, Biking for Bama (to help tornado victims). Very impressive guy. Good story about how he deliberately provoked an ump so he could get thrown out of a game.Miserable conditions in Atlanta and neither team wants to win the game. 10-5 Braves-Mets as I write and the Mets just made two errors.

  82. sm13 - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    As Yogi would say, being a closer is 90% mental and the other half "stuff". That's why so many guys with "good stuff" can' cut it in the 9th inning. I think Lidge has the 90% and just enough of the other half to get us through until Druuuu returns.

  83. jd - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Wally, I think your observations are very astute even if as you say the sample isn't large. With Desi it's a continuation from the end of last year so there is reason for hope and unfortunately for Espi it's also a continuation from last year so there is cause for concern. BTW I think Werth and LaRoche are riding crazy high BABIP rates which are unsustainable and we still play 2 guys every day which should be coming off the bench. It's nice to win but we will need Zim and Morse to contribute greatly if this is to continue.

  84. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Interesting folks are bringing up 2005. That, of course, was a tale of two seasons. Consider the first half when the Nats went 50-31, they had a deep bullpen. The A team was Ayala and Rauch and the B team was Carrasco and Majewski. The Chief closed and Joey Eischen was the LOOGY. They seemingly never lost a close game.The second half of the season, they ran out of pitchers. The Chief wore down (they only had a A-team closer), Carrasco was made a starter and the entire team ran out of gas. It showed why organizational depth and a bench really matter.That team showed what you can do with 3 good starters and a strong bullpen. It also showed what happens if you only have 3 good starters. . .

  85. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    It showed why organizational depth and a bench really matter.And digging up a long-dead ancestor of the horse family for beating, MLB didn't even let them bring up what little farm system they had, that Sept.

  86. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Look, I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade. For me, I like "playing GM", just as much as I enjoy watching the game and being a fan. I wasn't watching the game last night hoping for Lidge to fail so I could write mean things about him on the Internet.And I do have faith in you, in that. Still disagree about Lidge, but not about that.

  87. Saif Eye - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    "Trust your stuff," he said. "Trust your stuff and believe in what you've got. I've done it my whole career. And in situations like that where you just have to trust, almost all the time it ends up working."Definitely impressive post. Just read it again and again. Welcoming you to the unique video on life and trust goo.gl/HtYmY

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 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.

Follow us on Twitter