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Nationals: Who’s hot, who’s not-4/17

Apr 17, 2013, 4:23 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

By Michael Huberman
CSNwashington.com
After completing a sweep of the Chicago White Sox, the Nationals came back down to earth a bit this weekend as they were swept by the visiting Atlanta Braves. As the Nationals look to take two out of three against the Marlins, here’s a look at five players who were hot, and five players who were not over the past week.
HOT:

Jordan Zimmermann, SP – 2-0/2.81 ERA/16 IP/10 K/1 BB
Jordan Zimmermann picked up the first complete game of his career and second win against the Marlins this year in the Nationals’ 10-3 romp on Monday night. With the win, Zimmermann is now 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.091 WHIP over 22 innings on the season. On a staff full of aces, Zimmermann has been the Nationals' best pitcher so far. 
Ross Detwiler, SP – 0-0/1.29 ERA/7 IP/5 K
What a luxury to have Ross Detwiler as your 'No. 5 starter.' Building off his impressive start in Cincinnati, Detwiler pitched like a top-of-the-rotation arm against the Braves, going seven innings and only giving up one run on four hits. However, for the second time in a row, the Nationals’ bullpen failed to hold the lead provided by Detwiler, depriving the lefty of his first win in 2013. 

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  1. IPLawguy - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Gio's comment on failure to attack the strike zone would seem to apply to Clippard and Storen as well. And maybe even Strasburg in the first few innings of his last start.Sec314

  2. #4 - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Mick,Thanks for the hello. Buddy is doing OK. We've moved him to a new place, and he loves visitors. If there's a way for me to contact you off-line, I can share the info with you if you'd like to visit him.The other issue with Zim that can't be discounted is that when one of the pillars of your franchise has an issue like this, it's multiples its impact. I feel like you can see a team-wide deflation when he throws one away because of his stature and the nature of his issues. It's no coincidence that meltdowns have followed each of his errors.

  3. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Mick the stick?

  4. Muddy - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Humm, I'd say Storen is pretty dern cold as well; that last blown safe vs. the Braves Friday night was the start of something really bad for the Nats, even evoking shades of NLDS game 5. And I'd add Lombardosi to the hot list, even tho' limited sample size. The young man's is sluggin'.

  5. mick - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    I appreciate that #4, but I have a good contact at St Alban's that keeps me updated

  6. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Somebody already pointed this out, but it bears repeating, IMO: they've played 14 games. If this were the NFL, they'd be at the two-minute warning of the 1st half of game two down by 10, with the ball on their own 20, after having won game one. Hyperventilate if it makes you happy, but excuse me if I don't join you for about four months.

  7. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Sofa — good one! I'll take your word for it on the details, but the main gist of what you're saying is entirely correct.And, in any event: a team is never as good as it seems during winning streaks, nor as bad as it seems during losing streaks.What's cool, and what I never forget, and what I hope I will never forget — is that we even have a home team to root for, and, even better: we have a darn good team to root for.

  8. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    If they aren't "going to the world series" with this lineup then they need to start thinking about player development … again … and they do really need to get both Lombo AND the Magnolia Muscle T-Mo into the lineup regularly.Of course its way to early for that but hey the team with one loss is using a guy named Gattis whose main claim to fame before this season came from winter ball in Venezuela where he was known as Oso Blanco. The Nats have real talent both on the bench and down on the farm. I don't think its a good thing to hold them back with semi-ancient ball players like LaRoche, Werth, and Haren. Werth, even after another fractured wrist, appears to still be very viable but he certainly **IS NOT** a #5 hitter in a playoff roster's lineup. His skills are best suited to lead-off second or batting 7th or 8th. Making him way overpaid for his baseball skills … there are the "invisible" intangibles he brings like making Bryce Harper his Padiwan … and those can still be of value from out of the #4 outfielder's slot. They've got three contracts for players who do not seem to be worth the contract terms; Zimmerman, LaRoche, and Werth. Zimmerman can be a viable offensive threat when back to complete health which again is why a move to first base seems almost a necessity. Werth continues to eat right and work out to keep himself in shape but he's not a #5 hitter and he never will fit into that slot again. This is ostensibly a PLAYOFF roster, ostensibly a world series possibility. Players who wait until July to start hitting JUST AREN'T GOING TO FIT. Shades of Muddy Ruel … if they want to be like the 1924 Senators they are going to have to start playing like it because the Braves organization has apparently decided that they should be the Kings of the NL East as one of the best run organizations for more than a decade. And with the retirement of Chipper they found themselves with a lot more flexibility on the major league roster. And now they seem to have found a spot-on just -in-time replacement for McCann. All they need is more starting pitching which they might just be able to purloin from teams dropping out of contention that decide they want to rebuild using high draft picks like the Nats. (See FLA Marlins). Might we see Ricky Nolasco in a Brave's uni soon?The Braves have thrown down the gauntlet and they are backing it up with actions not just words. The Nats would be wise to follow suit.

  9. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Rendon walked once (which means he got on base and his OBP continues ot hold its stock value) and did not strike out. Rendon is only going to get better whether Skole or Bloxom follows him. Bloxom is a very hard worker believe me having Bloxom the platoon bat behind him is not a bad thing. Bloxom's problem is he is not the great athlete he must work very hard for every single tiny advance he makes. He's not a Souza or or Hood.

  10. #4 - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    That's great, Mick. I'm sure in our real lives we must know each other then.

  11. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Wonk, thanks. I was just riffing intuitively on the analogy, as I am sure you know. The Braves are certainly for real; I imagine they still think of it as their division, the way Lou Brock thought of second as his base. They probably think that if they had just been healthy, the Phillies would have finished in second place all five times. But 148 games is a lot of rope to give Fredi, too.

  12. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    The Braves just need one more starter … and for Julio Tehran to start pitching like a top prospect and they will be very hard to beat and extremely hard to catch up to.

  13. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    ESPN has picked up #Nats #Braves game on April 29 for a full national telecast.Crap I hate it when my mobile mlbatbat app gets blacked out.

  14. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Werth, even after another fractured wrist, appears to still be very viable but he certainly **IS NOT** a #5 hitter in a playoff roster's lineup. I think he's a good #2 hitter.Look, he and Ian _do_ have more hits than anyone else on the team . . . . this isn't where I'd be looking right now for improvement. What's the team ERA of the bullpen? I'm sure it's absolutely awful.

  15. peric - Apr 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    What's the team ERA of the bullpen? I'm sure it's absolutely awful.They have plenty of young talent in the bullpen. There are players who can be optioned to AAA to work on their issues if problems continue. They can always give up and release Henry if he fails to progress. They've got some decent arms in AAA from the looks of things so far. Soriano has done okay so far. Only Clippard really concerns me and did last season as well. He's thrown to many innings for a reliever. He actually was one of he team leaders in wins one season because of this.The bullpen doesn't project to be as much of a problem. They will improve. By June Zim should be back to normal. Hopefully LaRoche will start hitting before then … if not then moves should be made. Werth projects to be a 4th outfielder in 2 years. They must get the young players into the lineup.

  16. Tcostant - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    THat was Zimmermann's second complete game. While he only pitched 8 innings in a loss (1-0 I think), it is still an official complete game as no other pitcher pitch. Nine innings is not the critria for complete games, it is being the only pitcher to pitch the game for a team (a guy can go 9 innings and his team wins in 10 an would not get credit for the complete game).

  17. Tcostant - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    peric said… ESPN has picked up #Nats #Braves game on April 29 for a full national telecast.Crap I hate it when my mobile mlbatbat app gets blacked out. ——————-I assume that is Sunday April 28th?

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Still no panic button to be sounded. Span, Werth, Desmond are all red hot. Davey has to play his hot hands. He thinks LaRoche will get going with more reps. Lombo is doing well. Bryce is in a 3 game slump and could hit 3 taters today!The star pitchers must do their jobs too. 4 runs should be enough to win most of these games if the bullpen can do their jobs. Haren gave up only 3 earned runs yesterday and that should've been enough to win on most days.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Tcostant said… THat was Zimmermann's second complete game. While he only pitched 8 innings in a loss (1-0 I think),You think right. You know who JZim lost to? Dan Haren.You know how the Angels scored their 1 run? On a fielding error.It was a classic battle of aces.

  20. JaneB - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    I'm sad and surprised that Gio and Zimmie aren't on the hot list. But it's early.

  21. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    I think ESPN does Monday night baseball, too.Tcostant said… ESPN has picked up #Nats #Braves game on April 29 for a full national telecast. Crap I hate it when my mobile mlbatbat app gets blacked out. ——————- I assume that is Sunday April 28th? April 17, 2013 2:12 PM Ghost Of Steve M. said…

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Doc said… Correctomundo, GhostMeister!Velo is #4 on the pitchometer, and Location is #1.Location, location, location with a good moving truck and a good road mad and darn fast.Real estate is a lot like pitching:1) Location2) Movement on the pitches 3) Strategy & scouting & deception4) Velocityand of course luck!

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    JD, I'm all for giving Dan Haren a few more starts and said as much but I do think John Lannan even on his poor fielding team in a hitter's home ballpark will out-pitch Haren.I just hope Haren can get under a 3.99 ERA at some point.

  24. JD - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Ghost,'Haren gave up only 3 earned runs yesterday and that should've been enough to win on most days.' And this is why ERA is such an unreliable stat. because Zim making the error does not excuse Haren from giving up a bomb to Hetcheveria; earned or unearned.

  25. JD - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    'but I do think John Lannan even on his poor fielding team in a hitter's home ballpark will out-pitch Haren.' If that happens the Haren is shot because otherwise Lannan can't hold a candle to him.

  26. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Well, the Giants signed Barry Zito to a seriously regrettable contract, much worse than Haren's here, and all they have is two rings. Mistakes. Everybody makes them.

  27. Eric - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Braves 1 strike from a loss…c'mon Greg Holland!!!

  28. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Which is not to say Haren can't recover this. We'll see.

  29. Eric - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    YES! BRAVES LOSE!

  30. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    BigCat said… Braves are 12-1 with BJ Upton hitting .152, Uggla at .178 and Heyward at.116. Whats gonna happen when they start hitting?Well, it didn't happen today! Upton/Uggla/Heyward went 1-for-12.

  31. EmDash - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Our long national nightmare is over. *g*

  32. Eric - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    "Well, it didn't happen today! Upton/Uggla/Heyward went 1-for-12."Add JUp and Gattis and it's 2 for 18.

  33. Eric - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Huh, Gattis was 0-4 again. Where were those who talked about not having sufficient Advanced Scouting?

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    That's 0-8 for Gattis since the Nats series.

  36. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Well played, sir.Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said… Well, the Giants signed Barry Zito to a seriously regrettable contract, much worse than Haren's here, and all they have is two rings. Mistakes. Everybody makes them. April 17, 2013 2:38 PM

  37. EmDash - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I think we happened to be part of the fine-tuning process for Gattis scouting, unfortunately. Detwiler got him out by throwing fastballs around his eyes that he couldn't lay off of – I have to imagine that game plan was due to scouting – and then the next day he adjusted and managed to hit a home run off of Strasburg in a very similar location.

  38. EmDash - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    As a reminder of how strange the early season records can be: the second-best record in the National League belongs to the Colorado Rockies.

  39. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Someone mentioned the losses being blowout and not close games as a reason for waning confidence, right? That seems to make more and more sense to me.on the other hand, overall run differential for Braves is 3.2 (5.2 RS and 2.0 RA). Highest in past five seasons for the best team was 1.3 with mainly 1.0 or below as average. Even 1927 Yankees were 2.4 and let's face it Braves are no 1927 Yankees.Like I have said before, if Nationals take care of their business like they are capable, they will win the division over Braves and everyone else.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*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.

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