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Nats who’s hot, who’s not: Zim with all the homers

Sep 18, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today AP

The Nationals’ past week, at a glance:

Record: 6-1
Team slash: .302/.353/.459
Team ERA: 2.00
Runs per game: 5.9
Opponent runs per game: 2.1
Opponent slash: .236/.283/.310

HOT

Tanner Roark, SP: 2-0/1.38 ERA/0.77 WHIP/13 IP/9 K

The 2013 Nationals are a tale of two different teams: at first, the most talented and complete major league team on paper, the World Series-or-bust favorites that were going bust; and then the resurgent longshots trying to turn-and-burn for the postseason. If Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are emblematic of the Nationals’ rebirth, a squad of underachieving stars suddenly overachieving, then Tanner Roark is the wild card who doesn’t quite fit the narrative but is buoying the team as effectively as any trade acquisition the team could have hoped to make. A bit of a non-prospect as a 26-year-old rookie, Roark has quickly moved from effective swingman to rotation stalwart, allowing just two runs over his first three starts. His latest performance was a masterful one: Roark spun seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball against the Braves in the second game of a series that they badly needed to take from Atlanta.

Wilson Ramos, C: 9-24/3 HR/9 RBI/.400 OBP/1.150 OPS

Ramos’ knees finally got a break in the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader sweep of Atlanta, and while the catcher has shown remarkable durability and become one of the Nats’ most important bats, a break like that should only serve him well. Ramos’ streak of consecutive games caught was the longest in the majors this season: 24 straight games, four more than Yadier Molina’s streak earlier this season. During that time, Ramos has swung a seriously big bat, making the Nationals’ lineup that much more dangerous from top to bottom — a big reason that they have been so hot this month.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B: 12-32/10 R/4 HR/5 RBI/.438 OBP/1.304 OPSĀ 

And we thought Jayson Werth’s midsummer outburst was a power surge. Zimmerman started September with a paltry 15 home runs but has tacked on 10 more in the past two-plus weeks, leaving the yard every 7.5 plate appearances. One interesting and anomalous note: Zim has only driven in 13 runs during that time, meaning he’s plated only three teammates in addition to driving in himself. It hasn’t cost the Nats any, though, as his extremely high on-base percentage has lead to him coming around to score 10 times in the last week, a gigantically huge one-week total.

NOT

Jayson Werth, OF: 4-23/2 XBH/3 RBI/.333 OBP/.594 OPS

Werth’s numbers this past week were actually somewhat a shock to me. I knew that he’d cooled off, obviously, but seeing the batting average (.174) was still a surprise. After the truly torrid pace that he has been on, I think we can forgive Werth for one poor week — especially because it truly is his first downturn after catching fire at the end of June. The rest of the lineup has picked up the slack and masked the mini-slump, but for this team to complete an unlikely (and still remote) run at the second wild card, Werth is likely going to have to heat back up in a hurry.

Tyler Clippard, RP: 1 BSv/6.00 ERA/1.33 WHIP/3 IP/2 K

Clippard has only had one bad outing in the last week, and it came yesterday, allowing four baserunners and two runs to briefly blow the lead against the Braves in the opening half of the doubleheader. However, take a look at the team stats above — collectively, the Nationals have played like an All-Star team for the past couple weeks, and especially in the last seven days. On the hottest team in the game, “cold” becomes a relative term, and unfortunately for the Nationals’ eighth-inning ace, a subpar outing in an overall winning effort is really all it takes. It’s a wonderful problem to have.

Gio Gonzalez, SP: 0-1/6.00 ERA/1.83 WHIP/6 IP/5 K

Gio is in the same boat — on the Clippard ship? — as Clippard: at about room temperature, he’s the coolest part of the Nationals right now. Gonzalez started and received the L in the Nationals’ only loss in the past 11 games, so his listing here is almost by default, even if his outing wasn’t particularly poor. He clearly didn’t have his best stuff that day against the Phillies, and the four earned runs he allowed over six innings falls outside the (very lenient) definition of a ‘quality start’, but even so, if this the worst showing by your starting rotation each week…I think every fanbase in the country would take that.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    At this point, only one stat matters: 6 – 1. Maintain focus and keep the pressure on the Reds.

    • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Um, what’s that stat again? 6 – 1?

    • naterialguy - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      What’s that?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        W-L record in the previous week. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Werth’s 2 run double in Game 1 yesterday was huge to rattle Mike Minor in the 1st inning. That in itself was huge in scope. The Ryan Zimmerman stat on RBIs is shocking. His BA with RISP has dropped to .280 from .310 a month ago. I can’t figure Ryan out and apparently most pitchers haven’t either. 25 HRs is a big number in the post-steroid era. Ryan should finish the season with a decent OPS.

    • Jw - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Zim’s RBI numbers are as expected for what he has been lately – a 2 hole hitter.

  3. Candide - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    25 HRs is a big number in the post-steroid era. Ryan should finish the season with a decent OPS.

    No he won’t. Everyone knows he’s lost his power. I can show you plenty of comments going all the way back to April that say so. Try to keep up. He’s through. Never mind the facts.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      LOL, that sounds like someone’s exact quote about Werth! That’s why they play the full season!

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    If Ohlendorf, Haren and Roark are pitching better/more reliably than Gonzalez the Nats have a problem.

    How players “finish up the season” means less when they have screwed up the first 4/5ths of a season. It is amazing to me to look at the box score and see there are five guys hitting .280 or better, on guy hitting .320, and a 2B combo around .260 — and the team is 4+ games out of anything instead of 4+ games ahead. In baseball and other sports it’s all Monopoly money but in most business there wouldn’t be many raises handed out for that kind of performance.

    Sweep the Braves tonight and the odds of catching Cincinnati go up dramatically — five games against the Pirates that will be meaningful for both teams — but it will take stem cell implants to restore my fingernails.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Correction: six games w/ the Pirates.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    I always thought Edwin Jackson was a mild guy. Supposedly he was caught on camera telling a Dale Sveum in the dugout Monday night and off camera continued to yell at him in the tunnel.

    Losing can bring out the worst in people ;)

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Kris Medlen thrust on the scene and was unhittable last year, and this year is nothing special.

    If you believe in WAR, somehow Medlen is a -3.70. Yes, negative. How?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Simple explanations are best, I think.
      It’s because the baseball gods hate the Braves.

    • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      So WAR is now a divinely inspired stat? Good to know. :-)

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Well, of course there is a baseball god of WAR. Every pantheon has one.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        There are demiurges, too, like Gork, the god of bloop hits.

  8. jd - Sep 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Ghost,

    Medlen is +2.1 on fangraphs and was +3.7 last year. Where are you seeing -3.7?

  9. Joe Seamhead - Sep 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    I don’t think Steve Roney likes Denard Span very much….

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.

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