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Hard hits, but not enough runs

Jul 17, 2012, 4:45 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Jesus Flores and the Nats were frustrated to only score three runs.

MIAMI — If not for the giant scoreboard above the center field fence at Marlins Park, the Nationals might never have known they only scored three runs Monday night. As many balls as they hit hard as a team, as many strong individual offensive performances as they got, surely they must have put up a nice, crooked number on that scoreboard.

Nope. At the end of the night, the Nationals were on the wrong end of a 5-3 decision that left more than a few people inside their clubhouse baffled given the way they felt they swung the bat.

“Yeah, but I guess that’s better,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “We’re putting ourselves in a position to score runs each game. A month ago, you couldn’t really say that. As long as we keep giving ourselves opportunities like we hit the ball today, I think it’s going to even out.”

This was a game designed to support sabermetricians who stress the inability of pitchers or hitters from accounting for where the ball goes once it strikes bat. Nationals players couldn’t have been much more pleased with the contact they made; and they couldn’t have been less pleased with the end results.
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  1. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    This game shows how badly they miss Desi in that lineup. One clutch hit on several occasions would have made it a different game.Nothing wrong with the lineup that Desi's return won't fix. They haven't put him on the DL, so it may be sooner than later. If Danny's LH bat has finally come to life, they will be so much the better for their stretch run. Tough to see them lose one like this, but they killed the ball all series long, except for Buehrle's gem. Ejax does not seem to be the same pitcher, lately, but if he is the problem, I don't think Lannen is the answer. Maybe they want to showcase him before the trade deadline. He has been consistently mediocre at Syracuse. The truth is, though, that they have very little in the minor league pitching corps to draw on, with Solis down and out for the season, and Purke struggling to get whole. CMW may be able to recover his form by September, but not yet.Ryan Perry has been pitching well as a starter, but he probably needs more experience and more stretching out before they trust him with the ball in the bigs.ALR crushed the ball in Miami, and would have hit 2 out of the park if the games were played in DC, or almost anywhere else. That DP he hit into may have been the hardest hit ball all last night – it was ALR's hard luck series. If he keeps hitting the ball like he did in Miami, he is going to have a big 2nd half.

  2. ehay2k - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    Agreed Laddie – this was a bad luck series. You have to crush the ball in Miami to hit it out. Several hard hit balls were outs that should have been homers. How can you hit a ball over 410 feet and have it be a can of corn? I guess play in a corny ballpark, where the grass grows on the sandy beach? Come home Nats, get some extra rest, and play good ball. And please rest Desi for a couple of extra days.

  3. tayo - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    So, did any of you negative posters(on previous thread) actually watch this game. Our Hitting was not bad at all. we hit the ball really hard this game. This was just a bad luck game where we had nothing to show for it. it happens, teams move on. And about Flores, I don't think we should be expecting as much offense from the catcher position as some are expecting. As long as he calls a good game and is good on defense any contribution on offense is just gravy. the other 7 guys need to bear the brunt for offensive production.

  4. bobfromalexandria - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    One of my fears is that they are reading their clips too much. They miss Desi, sure, but Modest execution on some other plays could have helped. Some bunts, perhaps, to get on base? Patience to get a walk? Watching the game on TV last night I had feeling they had lost their mojo. Maybe it's Davey. It's a tough division and this was a winnable game. Go Nats!

  5. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    We got BABIP'd to death last night, it appears. Need Desi and some home cooking.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    bobfromalexandria said… Maybe it's Davey.————————————-You're kidding, right?

  7. MicheleS - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Swami.. Some day I will understand BABIP. It took a while for WAR, but still don't understand how that is calculated.They needs some home cookin/lovin from the fans. A split with a team that has had our number forever is good. We had our opportunities, but couldn't take advantage. Yup, we miss Desi.And thank heaven's we are getting off the Ozzie Crazy train for a few weeks.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    After reading through the threads from last night and recovering from a serious case of shaking my head and slapping my forehead, I have these couple of observations. One of our illustrious posters has become a serious Drama Queen to go along with his "Scully and Mulder" act.All the posters that are now (and after every loss) claiming the end is near have no math skills. Should the Nats be able to play their next 75 games at 9 over .500 (42-33) they will finish the season 93-69. That means they have 33 more games in which to claim "The End Is Near". Yes, Edwin Jackson looked out of sorts last night but you do realize the 2 run single by El Caballo was on an excellent pitch and the only real mistake Edwin made was the one pitch to Hanley.And finally, there is no need to "blow up" this team as one poster indicated by the trade scenarios and dumping of various players. Johantan Solano IS becoming Wil Nieves right befor our eyes, Lombo IS strictly a utility player with a decent bat and questionable defensive capabilities as he was tagged by the BA people, and the Nats illustrious AAA are just that….. illustrious AAA players that can only offer short term filler help. Nothing creates a "AAAA" label better than being a AAA All Star.

  9. rabbit34 - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Well, even if Desi was in the lineup doesn't guarantee he would have found the holes. It also wouldn't have changed the fact our hard hit balls would have found holes. At least we were hitting the ball and not striking out. I would rather see a ball hit into an out than a swing-and-miss or caught-looking. But, I still think next year is our year. This year we are finding our way.

  10. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Yeah, no one bothers with the positives, like:(1) RZ played excellent defense AND offense!(2) Henry pitched a great inning, smooth and maybe even with some confidence.(3) Bernadina didn't make any mistakes.We went .500 on the road trip, Desi rested for two games, and we are out of the craziness intact.

  11. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    NatsJackAgree with most of your post, especially regarding the silly negativity after every loss. The SP was excellent, the BP clutch, and the offense was clubbing the ball most of the series. But EJax has been in a funk for about a month. Yeah, that 2-run single was on a pitch low and out of the strike zone, but he missed his spot. It was supposed to be low-outside, but was right over the middle, instead. He hit 95 on the gun last night, so his arm must be fine. If he can regain his command, he will be another stopper in a rotation full of them. Earlier in the year, he had improved his command and lowered his BBs and WHIP in the process, compared to last year. Maybe he is just reverting to old habits with his mechanics. McCatty and co. can straighten that out.

  13. Dryw Loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Yeah, the boys need some home cooking, but based on that article about Tyler and Drew the other day, they're going to need us to come through for them on that! Anyone with me? ;-)

  14. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    MicheleS.BABIP (for hitters) is an attempt to flatten out the short-term "luck" that arises in batting average. If there is a big difference between BA and BABIP, then presumably the hitter is having a run of good (or bad) luck. So, a .300 hitter with a .500 BABIP is very lucky (when he doesn't strike out he gets a hit) whereas a .300 hitter with a .200 BABIP is unlucky because his line drives are getting caught.If a batter hits four non-foul balls that are not homeruns (i.e., "balls in play"), he should get at least one hit. (League average BABIP is .290-.310). If he goes 0-5 but he hit all the balls into play, that is considered bad luck.The exceptions are extremely fast or slow runners. A fast runner may have a season (or career) BABIP higher than his batting average because he can beat out infield grounders and bunts for hits. Hitter BABIP is much more of a skill [than pitcher BABIP], based on how well they are able to hit and place the ball, along with their speed…Hitters can have a substantial amount of control over BABIP. Ichiro Suzuki, for example, has a .356 career BABIP. Hitters do not regress toward league average, rather, they each regress toward their own, unique number.Like batting average, BABIP does not adjust for power. In fact, homeruns (and walks) are excluded because they are not balls "in-play." Some hitters, like Adam Dunn for example, rarely put the ball in play and therefore are not as reliant on their BABIP's as hitters who make their living punching the ball in play, such as Juan Pierre. offensive BABIPhttp://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/babip/

  15. MicheleS - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Thanks NL.. it will take about 6 months to a year to have that sink in :-)

  16. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Didn't see all of the game, so don't want to weigh in on specifics. Saw the early innings at a sports pub, but couldn't hear the broadcasters (wait, is that a bad thing or a good thing?). Heard a bit more on the radio while driving home from the Metro station. Saw the (not happy) ending on tv from the basement baseball viewing lair. Was hoping for a win but imo a split with the Marlins on the road is progress, given the way they've owned us in the past. Let's see (sharpens pencil and looks over schedule), it looks like we're, uh, 4-5 against them to date, which is better than in the past, no? Just keep chipping away at it (no, Ozzie, I said "chipping" not "chirping" – go back to sleep) and we'll get there eventually.For now, hope that some home cooking and fan love will get our boys back to their winning ways. I'll be out there on Thursday and Sunday to do my part.

  17. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Me, too. I'm gonna need some serious caffeine intake as well (puts curly w pitcher back in fridge and reaches for coffee jar).MicheleS said… Thanks NL.. it will take about 6 months to a year to have that sink in :-)

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Somebody posted that splitting with the Fish was equal to a lost series for the Nats, however the Fish anouncers BEFORE the game stated that by losing 2 out of 3 already, the Fish had already lost since a split left them exactly where they started and 4 less games to play.

  19. Doc - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    It was one of those baseball games where fielders win, and hitters lose–it happens! There's no accounting for where a baseball goes after it's hit. There's 9 of them, and only one hitter.I'm with Davey and Zim on this one. As long they continue to make contact like last night, the runs will eventually cross the plate. In the category of half-full vs. half empty, Espi almost hit for the cycle from the left side—how good is that!!!!

  20. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Oh, my. Lannen went 5 innings last night, gave up 6 ERs and 2 HRs. Not a good warm-up for his return this Saturday. They could have paid me $4 mn this year, and I could have pitched just as ineffectively as that, and saved the Nats a cool $1 mn in the process. I'm still available.

  21. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    A few of the less advanced stats:Batting Avg. on Balls You Don't Ordinarily Like Looking at — BABYDOLL — curves in places you'll never touch, but go for every time.Batting Avg. on Balls Almost Laid Off Of — BABALOO — those Excuse Me hits for guys who always swing.Baseballs Exchanged for Bats Out of Play — BEBOP — when the bat flies into the stands, and you want it back. Often hits the Salt Peanuts vendor.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Doc, I was thinking that during the game. Just keep hitting 'em. Ozzie must have kicked butt because his fielders were alert and they played some good "small" ball. Edwin had a bad inning just when I turned on the game…So I got to watch it go from 2-0 to 4-2. Sorry about that, folks–oh, magical thinking? Can't believe people are worried about the hitting after last night's game, except for JFlo–he looks tired, even after an off-day.

  23. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    NJ–agree. Splitting with the Fish made me quite happy. We lost the Buehrle gem and got unlucky with our No. 4 starter and BABIP. The other two games were solid wins in their house.

  24. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Thanks, sec3. Those stats are teh awesomez!1

  25. Feel Wood - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Saw the early innings at a sports pub, but couldn't hear the broadcasters (wait, is that a bad thing or a good thing?)Depends on if Johnny Holliday is doing PBP. He may well be a nice guy, he may well be a local legend, but if he ever was a good PBP guy that day is long gone. He sounds almost as confused in the booth as Sam Huff, but at least Sam Huff has the excuse of being whacked around on a football field. I watched all four games with the sound on, and I lost track of the number of times what Holliday was saying did not match what was happening on the field. Eventually I just tuned him out. Apparently, so did his broadcast partner. At one point Holliday directed a question to F.P. by name, and there was nothing but awkward silence for at least ten seconds. Eventually F.P. said something totally unrelated to the question he had been asked. I really hope that the next time Carpenter takes a day off that MASN gets someone else to fill in for him. Jageler did a great job on that last year. I wonder why they didn't use him again this time?

  26. SonnyG10 - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Tracee Hamilton's article re Ozzie and Bryce in today's WP was LOL funny. Check it out.

  27. ehay2k - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Glad I didn't read the game thread. Just posted about LoMo's shaved head – for a good cause clearly – and that was it. Someone actually suggested trading players away a, breaking up the team? Sigh. First place people. And right when everyone else is getting injured – Joey's Votto and Bautista, MikeCarlo Stanton, Gee, etc. – we are slowly getting our players back. We will not regain Ramos (a big loss, IMO) but will see Werth and of course Storen. Zimm and Morse are now rounding into form. And we played what may have been the toughest half of the season without any of those guys. So, lighten up. Look at where we have been and how well we have done, and realize that this is a good, deep, mentally stable (really can't overstate that last one) baseball team. We are going to be fine in the second half.Even shutting down Strasburg for what will certainly be less than 10 games won't make a difference in the regular season. Too many worriers out there. Enough with comparisons to the 2005 team that had a bunch over over-achieving vets in the first half, and their ace, Livo, on a balky knee in the second half. I think their run differential was like +1 for the entire first half. This is not 2005, and we will not finish like that team.Smile once in a while, it helps!

  28. SonnyG10 - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Feel Wood, I totally agree with you on Johnny Holliday. I'm really glad Carp is back tonight.

  29. JD - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    And here comes another key series. 2 out of 3 puts the Mets 7 games back which they won't make up and which makes this division a 2 horse race. I don't love the pitching match up tonight but hopefully we get 6 good innings from Det. I also hope we don't mess around with Desi; if he needs to be DL'd then so be it. I don't like the fact that he had 5 days off; played 2 games and had to sit again. After watching Zim struggle while playing hurt I'd much rather take the short term pain for the long term gain.

  30. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I'm sure Johnny is a very nice guy but agreed re. his stints as PBP man. He seems lost much of the time.

  31. SonnyG10 - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    ehay2k, concur. I usually avoid reading game thread after losses…too depressing. I have found myself getting too wrapped up in Nats winning and have been yelling at the TV, so I've decided to calm myself down and not scoreboard watch so much. The Braves are red-hot right now, but they will cool off. We will have a chance to help that along.

  32. PFB Balls of Fire - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Salt Peanuts is going to be in my head all day now.

  33. JD - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Lannan was terrible last night; ERA close to 5 again. I guess he will get the start on Saturday because he has a good history against the Braves but it's hard to get excited. Here's an out of the box idea; Nate Karns is pitching lights out in Potomac. Crazier things have been tried.

  34. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Well, PFB BOF, at least the lyrics are easy to remember. I especially like the version with Jimmy Carter on vocals.LINK to the aforementioned Tracee H. column

  35. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Johnny had a tough series in Miami, but they need to get him going for the stretch run. FP may have to move up in the order to pick up some of the scorekeeping slack.

  36. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Too many worriers out there.Wounded Warriors: goodWound-up Worriers: not so much

  37. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    OK, OK, I'll go back to work now.

  38. Feel Wood - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Here's an out of the box idea; Nate Karns is pitching lights out in Potomac. Crazier things have been tried.The whole point of the 26-man roster for doubleheaders is to allow teams to fill a temporary gap in their rotation without having to make a roster move. Karns is not on the 40 man roster, so if they wanted to use him on Saturday they'd have to release someone to make room for him, which defeats the whole purpose of the 26-man roster. I doubt there is anything they could do that would be crazier than that.The choices for a one-day callup to start on Saturday are limited to Lannan, Maya and Perry. Of those three, Lannan is clearly the best option. Deal with it.

  39. JD - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Feel Wood, Maya is pitching tonight so that's out and I don't have anything against Lannan personally I just think his long term results speak for themselves.

  40. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Fortunately, it's not a long-term callup. He only needs five or six decent innings.

  41. sjm308 - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Glad to read here that my ability to ignore in-game threads both during and after the game is a good choice.I questioned that post about splitting the series being a "lost" series and got the usual self righteous response. In my mind .500 ball on the road will just about guarantee seeing our lads play in Oct.This is apples to oranges and Feel Wood clarifies that we don't have many options for that double header BUT look how well Harper did when he was brought up and he was not killing it at AAA. I just have to think that LannEn will rise to this occasion for multiple reasons. 1. This is not his major league debut, he has been there before. 2. He needs to showcase his stuff, not just for us but for other teams looking for pitching. 3. It's a key game for the team he has been with for years and he hopefully still cares about his teammates.Go Nats!!

  42. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    They are pretty much healthy now, so I am hoping they can put it together for the stretch run. Time to go get some hitting help Mr. Rizzo!!!Sorry, F&I as I keep reminding you this isn't the Orioles … and where have such moves gotten them? The guy they acquired last year, Jonny Gomes, suddenly he is hitting and has 10 homers last year nada for the Nats?Let's still with Tyler Moore, Corey Brown, Mark Teahen, Jim Negrych, Carlos Rivero and Zach Walters (who is looking more and more like another Desmond / Espinosa shooting up through the top minor)The Oriole way IS NOT the right way!And finally I don't know about Koolaid … I am pretty happy with the progress of the young prospects on this club. It could be better but its a long sight better than many expected. On that note my "negative note" is about F&I types beating the living crap out of young prospect players like Strasburg when he is shutdown. Making him feel really guilty for it when it isn't his fault. Leave my prospects alone dude! Go back to the O's and follow the old codgers they like to pick up!

  43. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    One of our illustrious posters has become a serious Drama Queen to go along with his "Scully and Mulder" act.Dominos Vobiscum et cum spiritu tu I am the Pope pronouncing my papal bull from on high as I know more about baseball than youuuuuBalderdash! Same old tired litany. illustrious AAA players that can only offer short term filler help. Nothing creates a "AAAA" label better than being a AAA All Star.And you never know until you know. And you can't know until you try them. But of course you always, ALWAYS dubs players AAAA opening your mouth to let the flys in … and then suddenly they blossom as Michael Morse did. C'mon! You shouldn't watch minor league players because you'll just end up sending most of them into the AAAA bin as you have for all of these years. Nice encouraging talk their Mr. Negativo.

  44. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    The key that makes Moneyball work is player development. If player development is on the top of their game the young players will exceed most veteran players past the age of 30. Not all. Most. If you have a good farm system and rock solid player development you don't have to expend good young prospects dumpster diving for Johnny Gomes type players. You can find them within.And really given how much time he purportedly spends in Viera Natsjack should know better …

  45. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    If you want to complain about something with the Nats let's focus on actual problems like this:@NFA_Brian: Law on Nats draft strategy: [drafting Giolito] was superb, but cost under new system was eschewing upside for the rest of the draft [cont]@NFA_Brian: That is more the reason the Nats need to invest more internationally #tiltingatwindmill

  47. peric - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    And yes that is probably JayB's biggest complaint, if not the biggest about the Nats system right now.

  48. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Mission accomplished:)

  49. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Yes,apparently the downside of the Giolito strategy was a dearth of high school signings–a tide of youth NOT coming into the system. I don't see how this can be rectified with international signings under the new allocations. Really have to hope Giolito works out because Rizzo staked a lot on it.

  50. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    I know what you mean, but still, how old can the college guys be?

  51. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    That was a rhetorical, btw. I mean, I KNOW how old they are…

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NL EAST STANDINGS

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ATLANTA 68 61 6.0
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NEW YORK 60 69 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 57 71 17.5
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