Skip to content

State of the Nats-6/17

Jun 17, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Team Record: 34-34 (12-12)

N.L. East Standings


Offensive Game of the Week: Anthony Rendon 6/15 vs. Indians – 3-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2B (home run was go-ahead score)
Pitching Line of the Week: Gio Gonzalez 6/14 vs. Indians – 7 IP, ER, 3 H, 8 SO, 4 BB, HR, 127 pitches (73 strikes)

Read more »

  1. bowdenball - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Chase said …"Yes, he had turned a corner of late, but Corey Kluber shut down the Nationals on Sunday. Corey Kluber. If the Nats can't solve a guy as average as Kluber who held them scoreless through eight innings, what do they expect to produce against elite arms?"Ugh, you too, Chase? Check his 2013 stats. A 2.94 xFIP and 5.5/1 K/BB ratio are not average, unless the averages you're talking about are for the leading candidates to make the All-Star teams.

  2. phil dunton - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Rendon will be just fine as long as he stays away from Eckstein.

  3. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Ghost, I have to leave for work right now. If I get a break during the day and you still have not got the info from Baseball Prospectus I will try to get it for you from their tables.

  4. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Bowdenball-Kluber is the definition of an "average" MLB pitcher. I really don't understand the confusion on your part. Are you really that delusional? The Nats offense sucks.

  5. SCNatsFan - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    To all of you who say Eck doesn't teach hitting, they were taught long ago – then what does he do? If he doesn't teach hitting is he just the designated clipboard holder?

  6. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    SCNatsFan:"If he doesn't teach hitting is he just the designated clipboard holder?"Tthis is like asking, "what does a copy editor do at a newspaper? Journalists learned how to write ages ago."

  7. bowdenball - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said…"Bowdenball-Kluber is the definition of an "average" MLB pitcher. I really don't understand the confusion on your part. Are you really that delusional? The Nats offense sucks."You think a 2.94 xFIP and a 8.95 K/9 paired with 1.65 BB/9 are average and I'm the one who is delusional?It's funny watching fans who are new to the sport or only follow the home team react every time a name they don't recognize plays well. If Ross Detwiler or Jordan Zimmermann improves dramatically from year to year it's because they're finally staying down in the zone, or added a new pitch to the repertoire, or have a matured approach, or have fixed a mechanical issue and have improved their command and control. But if someone else does looks good it's because the Nats suck.News flash, folks: the Nats are not the only organization in baseball that is allowed to make adjustments and get better and find undiscovered gems. Just because you don't read about it in the Post on on this blog or hear about it from Bob and FP doesn't mean it's not happening.

  8. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    This is like asking, "what does a copy editor do at a newspaper? Journalists learned how to write ages ago." I heard a story about when Rupert Murdoch bought the publisher Random House, and went through the editors' offices, he was livid. "Everyone is sitting around reading books! Tell them to get to work!!"

  9. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    ha!

  10. alexva - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    State of the Nats – desperate hopefully not (too) disheartened

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, I have to leave for work right now. If I get a break during the day and you still have not got the info from Baseball Prospectus I will try to get it for you from their tables.Thanks NL!

  12. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Off-topic Monday missives:- Johnny Cueto started: six innings, three strikeouts. Alfredo Simon relieved: three innings, six strikeouts. (But, hey, Cueto in his first at bat since coming off the DL successfully executed a suicide squeeze)- Bases loaded, down one run, bottom of the ninth. Pujols struck out on three pitches.– More on that game: Mariano Rivera came into the game at 6-1 in the ninth with bases loaded. He allowed all inherited runners to score, plus one of his own, and still got the save.- Chien-Ming Wang got his first win, pitching 7 shut-out innings- The Mariners have a losing record against right-handed pitchers, left handed pitchers, the American League Central, the AL West, the National League, in one-run games, and in extra inning games. But they’re over .500 against the AL East.- Cole Hamels is now 2-10 (!!)- Mets: (a) commit three throwing errors on one play; but (b) win on walk-off three-run HR- By winning last night’s game against St. Louis (NL's best W-L record), the Marlins (MLB's worst record, by far) won their first series of the year against a team not named the Mets.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Good laugh for the day since we all need it, Bryce & his bro:http://www.natsenquirer.com/2013/06/bryce-and-bryan-harper-on-helium.html

  14. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Bowdenball-I had a 1.54 xdcuf/gcp as a varsity pitcher in high school. I also had a 4.348573 vtu/pfip as a starter in the ACC. I was hardly an average pitcher!!!

  15. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Bowdenball-Kluber is the definition of an "average" MLB pitcher. I really don't understand the confusion on your part. I dunno. Kluber in his last seven starts: ERA 2.51; BA against: .234; 43IP, 45K, 6BB

  16. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Wonk:"I dunno. Kluber in his last seven starts: ERA 2.51; BA against: .234; 43IP, 45K, 6BB"Careful, we don't want the facts to hit any arguments in the head on their way down the toilet…

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Mr T was really good as Kluber when he fought Rocky.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/06/17/denard-span-not-where-i-want-to-be-yet-with-nationals/James Wagner took up the Denard Span issues. He got some decent quotes but the fact is that Span knows his own stats and we know his stats and it's not the 0-2 pitches where he has to capitalize, it's the 3-1 and 3-2 pitches.

  19. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Have to run but I wanted to thank Seamhead for some of his excellent posts in the last article. I will not relax but I do have hopes that we will fight back and get into this thing. I have read pretty much all the comments and I would 1. Not fire Eck – I can't see that doing anything to actually help our hitters. I realize we are not producing but bringing someone else in just doesn't make sense to me.2. Bring up Corey Brown and this would mean either Tracy/Bernadina or Kobernus would be gone. Actually, Kobernus has options but you just have to keep trying to find someone who can help with offensive production.3. Hope that Harper is ready soon. I think he makes a huge difference in what everyone behind him sees. Not sure if it should be Werth or Rendon at #2 but I definitely want someone tough behind Desmond so I would bat him 6th no matter what. I guess the Left/right thing is important but if it was not, I would actually think about Desmond 5th and Werth 6th with LaRoche at #7.Not sure what to expect tonight from either Haren or Lannan. Should be an interesting matchup.Go Nats!!

  20. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Eric said… Wonk: "I dunno. Kluber in his last seven starts: ERA 2.51; BA against: .234; 43IP, 45K, 6BB" Careful, we don't want the facts to hit any arguments in the head on their way down the toilet…Good point.So I'd better not mention that the game before the Nats, Kluber pitched against that weak (ahem) hitting Texas Rangers: 8IP, one run. Or that weak effort over Memorial Day weekend, when he pitched a weak 6.2 innings, allowing one run and striking out 10 against the Red Sox.

  21. bowdenball - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said…"Bowdenball-I had a 1.54 xdcuf/gcp as a varsity pitcher in high school. I also had a 4.348573 vtu/pfip as a starter in the ACC. I was hardly an average pitcher!!!"Sounds like you were pretty good!If you don't like xFIP and ratio stats, I'll simplify the Kluber analysis: He strikes out about one guy an inning, and walks only 1-2 batters a game. Both of those are very good. His ERA is 3.58, which is obviously also pretty good, and it would be even better if the Indians' defense hadn't been relatively bad behind him.

  22. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    sjm308, Brown is hitting .250 .319 .528 at AAA and striking out 30% of the time. You sure you want him up here?

  23. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Bowdenball @ 12:34:Your point is completely valid; some of the pitchers the Nats have faced are probably better than we — the fans — acknowledged, plus any given pitcher on any given day can have 'stuff' that is unhittable. It's unfair to point to a single game against a single pitcher as any sort of proof that the Nats are doomed or lost or suck or whatever.But the problem, of course, is that it's not just happening once or twice or thrice. The Nats offensive is ranked near the bottom of the NL in virtually every runs-generating stat that matters (including, most importantly, runs per game). So while it may be unfair to point to any single game and pitcher and say that the 'Nats make so-and-so look like Cy Young,' we — as observers and fans — can't help but notice that the Nats seem to be giving lots of pitchers a better-than-average chance to excel.

  24. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Bowdenball, You should know by now not to confuse the issues with facts. It's much better to rant and rave aimlessly.

  25. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    DC Wonk-I suppose Chien Ming Wang must be above average also since he shut down the Rangers yesterday in Texas. I find it hilarious that people always credit the "hot pitcher" that the Nationals face instead of pointing the finger at a completely inept offense. 3 innings in a row they had runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out and got NOTHING!!! I don't care if Sandy Koufax is on the mound…that is pathetic. The team is hitting .233 which is the lowest in the history of the Expos/Nationals franchise and are scoring 3.49 runs per game which is the 2nd lowest in the history of the franchise. That Expos team went 55-107. Hey, but Corey Kluber is the man. You just have to tip your cap!!!

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    JD, the only time you bring up Brown is when he gets hot at Syracuse. He's cooled back down and no need to bring him back.The simplicity of it all is the Nats need Bryce. Having Rendon at 2nd base where the Nats were producing below Mendoza all season prior is a big boost.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I just try to read past the "Fire Eck" stuff. It's a waste of writing because it won't happen.Talk about it in the off-season when Rizzo hires the new manager.

  28. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Ghost, Nail on the head. These peripheral moves are not all that relevant and as I said if Tracy wins or ties 4 – 6 games all year that's gravy. We need the big boys healthy and producing and Harper is the biggest of them all.

  29. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Brown is hitting .250 .319 .528 at AAA and striking out 30% of the time.Thanks for that wake up call JD. I still think he's worth a shot after Rizzo finally has seen enough of Tracy. But wishing for a savior from the minors is a fools errand. Our last major league ready prospect from there is already on the team, playing 2B.And don't forget, after Rendon when down at the beginning of May, my impression is that he absolutely raked. His overall minor league numbers this year, including three unimpressive games in AAA before he came up, were: .307/.452/.575. That's sick.

  30. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Ghost, I don't think Zim to 1st for next year appeals to me that much. My gut feeling is that eventually (next year or the year after) the Nats will try to get a young left hand hitting 1st baseman by using some of their excess young pitching. If Rendon can be a fixture at 2nd base that is such an advantage over other teams. This is normally not an offensive position.

  31. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said… DC Wonk-I suppose Chien Ming Wang must be above average also since he shut down the Rangers yesterday in Texas.No. I posted Kubler's stats over seven games. Let see if Wang can do it over seven games before we call Wang a decent pitcher.You're right in that anybody can pitch a good game from time to time. But when a pitcher does it multiple times in a month, then (at least in the short run) he's better than just "average"

  32. bowdenball - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Eugene in Oregon:I agree with you. But I think the addition of Rendon and the pending return of Harper and to a lesser degree the return of Werth have helped and will continue to help the offense. Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, people react to a game like yesterday as proof that this is still the same team that couldn't score in April and May. And it's not just fans doing it- Chase did it in the post too. So when they do that it seems like maybe they need a reminder that there's another team that has a say in whether the Nats win or lose a particular game.In the seven games prior to yesterday's shutout the Nats scored 33 runs, for an average of 4.71 runs a game. So maybe, just maybe, is it possible that something other than our supposedly inept offense played a significant role in the shutout yesterday?

  33. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Yesterday's game still boggles my mind. It just would seem that if you put that many people on base with outs to spare, somebody might accidentally hit the ball with their eyes closed and we would score on a double play. You almost have to just stand there for those runners not to score. I have the answer– they are not bad hitters, there is a giant force field in effect when we are at bat that absolutely prevents any runner from going from third to home. I felt during the game that the chalk baseline would remain pristine and completely untouched. Museum like in it's solitude. I want to see that baseline obliterated. I hate it's tidiness. Mess it up!!!

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    JD, I'm thinking the same but I think a lot of it depends on how ALR plays the rest of the season. His LHP/LH splits are deteriorating, and in the very least they have to find a good complimentary player be it TyMo or someone else and sit ALR in those games. That should be an immediate goal and should help with getting ALR some needed rest.

  35. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    The problem with this team continues to be the array of under-performing veterans that Rizzo has signed to complement the core of this team. Haren, Span, LaRoche, Tracy, Werth and Zimmerman are all letting this team down in a big way. The pitching has been excellent for the most part (other than loser Haren) and is the only reason this season isn't already a lost cause. Time for these guys to produce or hit the road (or bench).

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    JD said… Ghost,If Rendon can be a fixture at 2nd base that is such an advantage over other teams. This is normally not an offensive position. I've written off Espinosa a long time ago but I don't think Rizzo has. Until RZim moves to 3rd base, I agree with you that Rendon = 2nd base but heck I've been saying that for a long long time now and not sure what sneaky Rizz has up his sleeve. I think even having Espinosa on the bench while Rendon is feeling comfortable is a bad idea. They share the same agent and Scott Boras isn't a dummy, he may say the same to Rizzo to keep Espinosa far away from DC. You don't mess with a good thing.Everyone may be talking about Puig and Gattis, but Rendon may be the NL ROY when all is said and done if he keeps playing his game.

  37. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    2B is getting to be a much more offensive position. Think of the stars — Cano, Phillips, Kinsler, Pedroia. Plus, more and more, 3B prospects are moving over there. MLB Network did something on this recently. Rendon is part of a trend, not an unusual case. Good field, no hit 2Bs are going to be less common in the future.

  38. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Haven't read blog comments since last week, as we were in beautiful Colorado to see the Nats, the beautiful scenery, and, last but not least, my Chicago/Denver baseball buddy. Saw only one Denver game in person and heard parts of the others on the radio (my hotel evidently didn't have the local baseball cable package – d'oh!). Sounds like it's just as well I missed yesterday's game, at least from the batting standpoint. Evidently the hitting was quite offensive. (rim shot)Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with watching games and chatting with baseball buddies. Speaking of watching games, I have to believe that more than two of us will be at Sunday's game, although only two show up on the "who's going" page right now.

  39. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Ghost, carrying this forward from the last thread:"Eric, I was worried also. I said several times Rendon needed 2 solid weeks at 2nd base and given his 3 games at Syracuse and 9 in DC, he's only at 12 games total and actually has pleasantly surprised me."Me, too, as it turns out!"Some posters got ticked at his 1st error as it could be indicative of something larger. Hopefully people are willing to give him even more time."Well, I wasn't ticked off, but I certainly voiced my ongoing concerns as a result, as it kept him on pace with his, er, "career" (inso far as you can call it a career this early ;). fielding tendencies. That said, and as I said earlier in the last thread, I never felt he was incapable of improvement, I just felt more time was needed in the minors to get it right. That he's trending so strongly in the right direction already at the MLB level is, as you say, a pleasant surprise and very encouraging. The sample size is still small, but, how he's improving is significant, imo. On that front:"His horizontal range has been very good and who can forget his vertical jumping ability and his doubleplay footwork has been very good. I think his vertical range going into the outfield needs to improve but that should come in time."The footwork, double play and otherwise, is probably the biggest thing that indicates he's truly moving in the right direction. He made an out at second in Colorado on a potential double play that was a) very heads up and b) very fast paced. The latter is the big one. His boot on the grounder last week was, imo, largely a matter of rushing the play; getting the out at second in CO on a similarly-paced play, and while running away from second is a pretty strong sign that he is learning to keep it slow and breathe easy.Even the bobbled grounder yesterday that resulted in him tagging the dude out on the bottom of his foot showed that he is slowing things down. He rushed on the pick up, but kept the ball out front, stayed calm, and got the lead runner.All good signs. And, of course, there's his hitting.It's been extremely fun to watch!

  40. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    DC Wonk-Sorry, you are wrong. I can guarantee you that almost every "average" pitcher in MLB history has had a string of 7 decent games. Look at the guy's career stats in both MLB and MiLB. He has not even been an AVERAGE pitcher. 51-59 in 7 years (I know DC Wonk…not as telling as your 7 games) and an ERA well over 4.50. This is the definition of an "average" pitcher, at best.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said… The problem with this team continues to be the array of under-performing veterans that Rizzo has signed to complement the core of this team. Haren, Span, LaRoche, Tracy, Werth and Zimmerman are all letting this team down in a big way.I think when you spotlight certain situations it appears that way but the big issue is when they all shut down at the same time like they did yesterday and on Friday.The vets came through on Saturday so it's just this lack of consistency and goes back to this swinging for the fences mentality.The other problem was no team can absorb having almost the entire team in a slump or out injured like the Nats endured and the bench has been badly exposed as a collective group of sub-Mendoza replacement parts.They carried Espinosa until a week and 1/2 ago and his .150 BA and LaRoche was under Mendoza the whole month of April and Werth and RZim have both been on the DL and Bryce Harper hasn't been around for almost a month.The team is winning on pitching and 3 runs a game. Not a great recipe for long-term success.

  42. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    "In the seven games prior to yesterday's shutout the Nats scored 33 runs, for an average of 4.71 runs a game. So maybe, just maybe, is it possible that something other than our supposedly inept offense played a significant role in the shutout yesterday?"Not to mention, we had one game where we had 10 hits and 1 run and yesterday we had 7 hits with 0 runs. It seems pretty clear that the offense is coming alive, but I suspect poor run totals will continue to raise hackles unless/until we get fairly well north of .500.In the meantime, I remember early in the season when the chatter was all about how luck on BABIP against our pitchers, etc., would eventually run out, the Pythagorean record would eventually merge with the actual record etc. It does seem like it started to catch up with us, but the negative offensive trends seem to have started reversing at around the same time. And, I have to think above average stats keeping us afloat works back in the other direction, too. I can't imagine it's very common to get 10 hits and score 1 run, or 7 hits and score 0. If we keep getting hits and scoring ~5 hits a game, eventually we will trend positive again. Perhaps that's why we seem "mired" at .500. We really did seem to be on our way down, but now seem to be clawing back up.

  43. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    "Perhaps that's why we seem "mired" at .500. We really did seem to be on our way down, but now seem to be clawing back up."Er, the point here was to say that we seem "mired" at .500 because our negative stats and our positive stats seem to be like ships passing in the night. Looking back, it really seems as though we were teetering on the verge of collapse prior to the Twins series, but that our offense started picking up (at least in the form of hits/game) right around that same time.

  44. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    I am at the point where I just would like to see one well played, clean baseball game today. Tomorrow and the rest of the season can be addressed tomorrow and the next day. Play well today- win today.

  45. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Ghost-I believe you have mentioned before that you have/do work in the industry in some capacity. Please try to get a job with the Nationals, because you have far more baseball sense than I have seen from this front office. They have been a day late and a dollar short on far too many issues lately. I definitely think the offense can turn around with better health, but the time is coming to say good-bye to LaRoche, Haren, Tracy, etc. I would put Werth back in the lead-off spot and follow him with Rendon, Harper, Zimmerman, Desmond, LaRoche. Span is just not generating the offense we need from the top. These slap-hitter lead-off guys are a dying breed…and with good reason IMO. Hit him 9th when Stras, Zimmermann or Haren pitch so he can act as another lead-off guy.

  46. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Great discussion today, here, and on the previous thread. NatsLady would be a better manager than Davey, right now. Agree with almost everything she wrote.But Jack is right. This team is capable of going on a tear, and they will. They will not under-achieve for an entire year – not all of them, anyway. If Harper comes back 100% the lineup will look a lot better. The guys love Davey, but he has lost them some games this year, too. You can start with his stubborn insistence on going with the woeful Danny Espinosa for so long, when the best hitter in the entire organization was being wasted in AAA. Then you can go to his insistence that guys can play hurt, and his sending Harper out there with a gimpy knee just to make sure he had the chance to aggravate the injury. The way Harper plays, Davey should have known what would happen. Thanks to Davey, Harp had to go on the DL because he ended up hardly being able to walk. And right now, I wonder if Bernie's shoulder is affecting his swing.Then you can go to his persistence in playing for the 3-run HR, when a bunt in the 9th could have won him that last rubber game against the Braves. And then there is his habit of keeping starters in the game after they have flat-lined on the mound.The Nats should be better next year, with the same team, but a different skipper.

  47. karlkolchak - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Speaking of Pythagorean, it currently has the Nats' suggested record at 30-38. No, this team is NOT getting any better. If anything, other than Rendon they are getting worse. What evidence is anyone here seeing that the big four who are failing this offense–Zimmerman, LaRoche, Werth and Span–are improving at the plate? I am just not seeing it.

  48. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Apparently, our Pythagorean W-L is 30-38. So there's that.

  49. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Oh man, things are just not going right. A drink for you, my good man karlkolchak!

  50. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    We were talking about this at work the other day and 222 is right. Second base is becoming a power hitting position. Didn't used to be that way. I'm showing my age but I grew up in the age of Bobby Richardson and Nellie Fox. Now it's morphed into the age of Robinson Cano et al.Rendon certainly seems of this New Age second sacker. And that means the chances of Espinosa getting Wally Pipped are rising with each passing day.

  51. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    "Please try to get a job with the Nationals, because you have far more baseball sense than I have seen from this front office."I second that. Ghost provides more insightful commentary here than any other commentator, and there are many good ones.

  52. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    I'd be more curious how our Pyth. W-L% trends over the season than what it is right now. Would also be interesting to know our our raw Pythag W-L for specific chunks of the season. In particular, I'd be curious to know our Pythag record over the last 2 weeks?Finally, how common is it to get 17 hits in two games and score only 1 run?

  53. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Ghost and Wonk, I'm really busy at work today.Here is the table showing the probability of scoring at least one run in various situations.Limitation #1: Expected Runs vs. Run FrequencyRelying only on the Run Expectancy Matrix in evaluating strategy, however, can lead to flawed conclusions. We would dismiss the sacrifice bunt entirely, because in all situations a successful sacrifice bunt decreases the expected number of runs. If a team is playing for one run, however, a Run Frequency Matrix (something I first saw on Tom Tango's website) shows that it can be a sound strategy. The table below shows the probability of scoring at least one run given the situation:Runners Exp_Outs_0 Exp_Outs_1 Exp_Outs_2000 28.2% 16.5% 7.1%003 86.3% 65.5% 25.3%020 62.8% 41.0% 21.9%023 83.9% 69.0% 26.6%100 42.4% 27.1% 12.7%103 83.3% 62.5% 26.7%120 64.5% 42.1% 22.6%123 86.6% 67.0% 32.4%With a runner on 2nd and no outs, sacrificing him over to 3rd slightly improves the odds of his scoring from 62.8% to 65.5%, although the overall expected runs go down from 1.165 to 0.951. We are increasing the odds of scoring at least one run by 2.7%, but at the cost of lowering the probability of scoring more than one run. Interestingly enough, the very common situation of sacrificing with a runner on 1st and no outs is typically not beneficial, as the probability of bringing that runner home goes down from 42.4% to 41.0%. This counter-intuitive result highlights one other key issue of using the Run Expectancy Matrix (or Run Frequency Matrix) blindly. It is important to understand who is bunting, who is on deck, and who is the runner.If you can't read the table, here is the source.Scoring one runhttp://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8929

  54. mick - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    this Pyth thing has ruined my day… how acurate is it historically?

  55. mick - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    agreed…Ghost knows his stuff

  56. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    "With a runner on 2nd and no outs, sacrificing him over to 3rd slightly improves the odds of his scoring from 62.8% to 65.5%, although the overall expected runs go down from 1.165 to 0.951. We are increasing the odds of scoring at least one run by 2.7%, but at the cost of lowering the probability of scoring more than one run."That makes sense, and is exactly why I think down by 1 in the 8th or 9th with no outs SCREAMS for sacrifice plays. I'm not a statistician, but I'm fairly certain you're more likely to win in the 10th inning than you are if you're down by 1 at the end of your last at-bat in the 9th.Plus, we're talking a .2% reduction in the chance to score more than 1 run…you're not exactly taking the option off the table…

  57. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Ron In Reston - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    bowdenball said… News flash, folks: the Nats are not the only organization in baseball that is allowed to make adjustments and get better and find undiscovered gems. Just because you don't read about it in the Post on on this blog or hear about it from Bob and FP doesn't mean it's not happening. ————————————————This is why, though many "fans" look down on it, I play fantasy baseball. I already know all about the Nats. This is how I find out about what's happening in the baseball world outside the Beltway. It's also how I know that we are not the only ones annoyed with our particular team's training staff and the perceived severity of injuries. I just spent a week and a half annoyed at the Giants because they wouldn't put Sandoval on the DL. So I have to sit with a guy not playing but holding a spot until they finally decide that his foot isn't getting better so they should put him on the DL. Sound familiar, Bryce's knee?Playing fantasy baseball keeps me up to date on what's happening everywhere, not just the NL East, not just the NL, but all of MLB. In fact, keeping up with players and who's hot, who's not, who's getting called up, etc. I sometimes have to remember to check the standings, becasue I'm not always keeping up with what's happening to TEAMS, just players. I was stunned to see where the Angels and the Dodgers are….and I know Miami is bad, but they're on a pace to lose 112 games….BUT, they have two youngsters worth keeping an eye on, like (then) Mike Stanton a couple of years ago. One is Jose Fernandez – 4-3, 3.11 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 77Ks in 72 IP. The other is OF Marcel Ozuna – .296/.333/.420/.753 with 13 doubles in 41 games, to go along with only two errors and five outfield assists.I guess my point is, there's a LOT of baseball out there beyond what we live and breathe every day, and those 29 other teams and their fans have the same issues as we do, some to a greater extent, some to a lesser one. You don't think Yankee fans are screaming that "they brought Texiera back too soon" because he aggravated his wrist and may head back to the DL? You don't think Cardinals fans are screaming about dropping two of three to the aforementioned lowly Marlins (one with Westbrook on the mound) and giving up 19 runs in the three games? "Things are tough all over"….it ain't just us.

  59. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    "this Pyth thing has ruined my day… how acurate is it historically?"It's a 100% accurate accounting of what your record "should" be if you consider the number of runs you've scored throughout the season vs. the number of runs that you have allowed.It's only predictive to the extent that you continue playing as you have up until the point at which the Pythag record is calculated.

  60. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    mick, here's the Wiki entry on the Pythagorean record"Historical" is really the key here. It's a look back at how your actual record matches up with what might be "reasonably expected" based on runs scored vs. runs allowed. If anything, it should brighten your day, because we "should" have a much worse record than we do.Of course, if we don't continue to score more runs, "should" and "actual" are likely to eventually merge.

  61. bowdenball - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    I don't know why people are worrying about Pythagorean record. It shows what you should be based on what you've done. Nobody thinks this team has been where it should be all season. The question is whether they offense is getting better and whether it will continue to get better.If you're obsessed with it and really need to make yourself feel better, the Nats' Pythagorean record since that mini break caused by consecutive rainouts earlier this month is above .500. So go ahead and pop that champagne.

  62. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    I'd be more curious how our Pyth. W-L% trends over the season than what it is right now. Would also be interesting to know our our raw Pythag W-L for specific chunks of the season.Search for "pythagorean" at this B-R link and you can see how it's calculated. And then, have at it.The Nats' record is probably tilted by the very large number of blowout games we've lost vs. blow out games we've won. Smaller game chunks would be even more susceptible to that. But the bottom line: that we have a better record than we deserve to expect given how crappy our hitting has been, certainly makes sense to me.The Tigers were 3.5 games out of first place in their division last year at the ASG. Of course, they were chasing the White Sox, not the Braves. But if we can claw back that far after the first week of July, I'll feel a whole lot better about our chances. We have the Padres and the Brewers in our last seven games at home before the break. That would be an excellent time to get hot and make up some ground.

  63. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    I don't think we/fans are ignorant to a pitcher's last 7 stats of any of that… It just seems that the Nats have an inability to take advantage of the situations…. Not discounting any one else but the Nats are better than that… And under performing has been a resounding theme….Seems as if its Ben good discussion since I've been away, ugh, dang work conference….

  64. mick - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Eric, greatly appreciate the link, I will check it out.. I also appreciate your explanation of it as well. I feel better about it on the assumption that the team will start hitting the ball

  65. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    But, please Nats, beat the Phillies and make all right in the world again…

  66. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Also… Great pull NL!

  67. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Ron, I play a modified (simplified) form of fantasy called The Game on fangraphs for the same reason. Also tracking the Opening Day Starters gets me out of the totally-Nats fan world and gives me perspective on how pitchers progress through the season (sometimes in fits and starts). On the The Game you pick six players plus a reliever and a starter each day. You have a budget and players cost varying amounts. There are no trades and you can take different players each day.

  68. karlkolchak - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Eric – I haven't been tracking it regularly, but since the last time I looked about a month ago it has regressed. At that time, I believe it had the Nats only two games under .500.

  69. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    "I feel better about it on the assumption that the team will start hitting the ball"I agree, especially since they HAVE starting hitting the ball…the next step is to become more consistent with RISP.

  70. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    bowdenball, I'm not worried about the Pythagorean, I'm happy about it. We're doing better than expected based on how we've played. All of that is in the books. Those wins can't be taken away. Now, if we score and give up the same number of runs in the next 68 games, we could very well be 30-38, or even 26-42, rather than 34-34. But if we play .500 baseball over the next 68, we're toast so who cares? We have to get better, a lot better. There's no changing that.

  71. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Everyone always says the guys love to play for Davey. I am sure they respect his career, laugh at his stories and even enjoy being around him. But maybe there will be some sense of relief when the circus leaves town. Maybe that consultant role will be a nice place to land. I want a new manager for this team that no one recognizes in public, but who has a handle on things and is not afraid to be unpopular with them.

  72. TexNat - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Reposted re: offensive woes:(1) Go and get some better bench bats. Right now a starter is needed. But over the long haul, this is a team that needs a 4th outfielder/back up first base man to play a lot. Werth and Laroche need rest. And Harper's aggressiveness is going to give him bumps and bruises.It really didn't make sense to let Morse go for prospects. They should have seen that they had a need for a 4th outfielder/1B to play a prominent role on this team. They could have easily got him 300 ABs even without the injuries we have seen. This was a mistake for a team that claimed to be in "World Series or bust mode." But now that Morse is gone, go and get someone like him (or him).(2) Go ahead and fire Eckstein or add another hitting coach. I'm sure this is mostly on the hitters and not him, but still, he isn't getting any results. What's the point of having a hitting coach if you are going to take the position that the hitting coach doesn't have any impact anyways.

  73. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Wow– lineups!!! Kobernus in center, Marrero at first , Rendon at second. Go Chiefs!!!!!!

  74. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    "If you're obsessed with it and really need to make yourself feel better, the Nats' Pythagorean record since that mini break caused by consecutive rainouts earlier this month is above .500. So go ahead and pop that champagne."That's what I was wondering about. Our pitching certainly hasn't improved in that time frame, so there's only one reason it's up above .500 right now…Here's to continued success on that front…

  75. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    And Lombo in left. Quick- start trashing him before someone else has a chance!

  76. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Any clue on Harper's process?Do we need Woodward and Bernstein to get all the facts?

  77. karlkolchak - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Section 222 said: "We have to get better, a lot better."I totally agree, and just getting Harper back won't be nearly enough. The key is the big four veterans who are killing this offense–Zimmerman, Werth, LaRoche and Span. Either they turn it around, especially their clutch hitting, or the Nats' season is doomed. Everything else, including making this or that change to the bench or the bullpen, is just fiddling at the margins.

  78. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    MNF— crickets. Bryce tweets but all philosophical stuff and family stuff. He is very zen these days.

  79. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I put the Pythagorean in every week's stat report, so you can see week by week how we did.

  80. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    "What's the point of having a hitting coach if you are going to take the position that the hitting coach doesn't have any impact anyways."As with copy editors, the point is to refine and correct. But, as with writing and editing, you can't polish a turd (any proof to the contrary notwithstanding ;).I suspect hitting coaches are the most effective when the people they're teaching are already doing at least passably well, because that puts them in a position to focus on incremental improvements more so than recovery of fundamentals.

  81. karlkolchak - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    baseball swami – Reminds me of a 2006 game I attended at RFK in which FRob tried to fire up the team after a long losing bout by starting most of the reserves. They ended up getting beat even worse than usual.

  82. Eric - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Thanks for the reminder re: Pythag report, NL. I forgot you include that!

  83. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Well at least the fans in Philly won't know who half the players are. They won't have blood grudges against them yet and will not have had time to invent terrible taunts and insults. Jayson, on the other hand, will welcome that crap!

  84. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Span and LaRoche both off tonight.Need Woodward to do research.

  85. Section 222 - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    the Nats' Pythagorean record since that mini break caused by consecutive rainouts earlier this month is above .500. So go ahead and pop that champagne.And put the cork back in if you include the just previous two games against the Mets (one of which we lost 10-1.) It's not all that meaningful over just a few games.

  86. Section 135 - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    At least LaFail is sitting his slumps are so hard so tough to watch. I'm all for trading him in the offseason.

  87. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    MnF – Is Span hurt? Wonder how that foot is doing? I'd rather have Shark in left… But meh…Nats – 8phillies – 2Book it!

  88. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    karlkolchak,'Everything else, including making this or that change to the bench or the bullpen, is just fiddling at the margins.' Correct except that you minimize the impact Harper has on the lineup. That's huge.

  89. Drew - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    He's not on our radar because of the TJ surgery on his non-throwing elbow, but I think (hope, anyway) that Matt Skole will put a charge into the Nats lineup someday.He's two months past surgery, which means he should be able to play winter ball.Let's hope he prospers at AA next year.

  90. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Mrs. B. It's a lefty/righty thing. I think it's an all right handed hitting lineup against Lannan. The trick in beating Lannan is he walks people, we have to let him.

  91. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Drew, I hope you are right but Skole will be 24 in July and has played exactly 20 games above Hagerstown. I am not holding my breath.

  92. JD - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Drew, AA separates the prospects from the suspects. Lots of people have really raked through A ball but when they face other teams top prospects at AA the stall. Real prospects like Rendon, Storen, Strasburg blew right past this level while players like Destin Hood survive at that level but can't seem to graduate it. This is also why I am beginning to be a bit concerned about Goodwin but it is early to make a judgment on him.

  93. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Absolutely JD…. Key will be walks and hopefully, we can make them pay….But I am still concerned about Span's foot… I want to say its the same foot that was hit before..

  94. Ron In Reston - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    NL–That sounds interesting….you can go with the hot hand(s) each day or exploit specific matchups. I'll check it out and let you know what I think.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 72 53 --
ATLANTA 66 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 9.5
NEW YORK 60 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.0
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 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.

Follow us on Twitter