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Who’s hot, who’s not: Werth up, LaRoche down

Sep 26, 2013, 4:48 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

The Nationals’ past week, at a glance:

Record: 3-5
Team slash: .213/.278/.277
Team ERA: 3.26
Runs per game: 3.0
Opponent runs per game: 3.1
Opponent slash: .241/.282/.377

HOT

Jayson Werth, OF: 7-28/1 HR/4 R/5 RBI/.364 OBP/.792 OPS

Just as the term “cold” was applied in a relative sense over the past few weeks, the “hot” designation is now being used in a fairly loose sense, at least when it comes to the Nationals lineup. Their season-ending skid has seen the bats go almost completely silent, with the team collectively hovering just above the Mendoza line. It’s little surprise that Werth has remained the most dangerous hitter during this stretch — unfortunately, he was not able to carry the load all by himself.

Gio Gonzalez, SP: 1-1/2.77 ERA/1.15 WHIP/13 IP/9 K

Gio Gonzalez got win No. 11 on his 28th birthday, besting the Marlins, but came out on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel in a 2-0 loss to Michael Wacha and the Cards. The lefty will likely end up with 10 fewer victories this season than he had last, but his year was still a strong one, with comparable innings and strikeout totals and only a modest bump in ERA.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 1-1/2.25 ERA/0.56 WHIP/16 IP/11 K

Jordan got thisclose to reaching the 20-win plateau, instead finishing the year at 19-9, actually far surpassing the 12 wins he had last year during Washington’s 98-win campaign. Oh, the quirks of statistics. Pitcher Zim was fantastic in 2013, tossing a career-high 213.1 innings and recording 161 strikeouts — though again with a modestly higher ERA. With Zimmermann, Gonzalez, and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals are set at the top of the rotation for years to come.

NOT

Adam LaRoche, 1B: 4-21/0 XBH/1 R/0 RBI/.370 OBP/.561 OPS

One marked departure from last season is the almost complete disappearance of Adam LaRoche. Healthy all year, last season’s team home run and RBI leader didn’t produce anywhere near that level in 2013. While most of the Nats’ bats endured a long quiet stretch before catching fire at some point, LaRoche never sustained a hot streak, instead moving along at his .237 clip all year. Had LaRoche awoken for a stretch the way that Werth, Denard Span, or Ryan Zimmerman have, the Nats might still be playing meaningful baseball.

Wilson Ramos, C: 4-25/0 XBH/0 R/1 RBI/.192 OBP/.352 OPS

Did fatigue finally catch up to Ramos? One of the hottest hitters on what was for a time the game’s hottest-hitting team, Ramos has all but stopped hitting in the last week-plus, with little contact and zero pop. One of Mike Rizzo’s chief duties this offseason will be settling on Ramos’ backup — now that the backstop has proven to be an incredibly effective big league catcher, Rizzo and the Nats need to protect him with a reliable caddy, whether that’s Jhonatan Solano or an experienced veteran currently playing elsewhere.

Dan Haren, SP: 0-1/4.50 ERA/1.50 WHIP/6 IP/5 K

Bringing in Dan Haren was a great idea at the time, but in practice, the move didn’t turn out the way anyone — probably least of all Dan — hoped it would. Though Haren was worlds better after spending some time on the disabled list, putting together several weeks of incredibly effective starts, he also faded at the end of the season, and dropped a key Sunday start against a weak Marlins lineup to hasten the demise of Washington’s slim playoff hopes. The remainder of Haren’s impressive career likely will be spent in the middle of the rotation on a second division team, preferably in a more spacious ballpark — San Diego, perhaps?

  1. mrnat7 - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Well, I have not heard anyone make the comment that during our late winning streak, we were beating up on a lot of bad teams. When we had to play the better teams we did not fair very well. I hope management doesn’t get false impressions and stand still. Bit the bullet and make the changes that need to be made for now and in the future. LaRoache takes Tracy’s stop and becomes a LH pinch hitter and a defensive replacement in late innings (if we can’t trade him.) Move Ryan to first now, he has good hands and should be able to handle that position. Don’t get caught up into his throwing later in the season. He was still playing to shallow and not covering the ground he has in the past. Move Rendon over to 3B, his natural position. (You don’t have to be worrying about his arm or range.) Check Espinosa out and see what his fiscal condition is and work with him and make him a contact hitter. If Barry Bonds could choke up and hit with power, so can Espinosa. Management just needs to get in his head and get him to understand its this way or Hagerstown. Move Harper now to RF and Werth to LF now. They say this is the alignment for the future so let’s do it . Harper has the better arm and Werth is starting to slow down, in the OF.

    Hope our new manager makes the team play with more discipline and not show so much favoritism. Not like Davey! His last remark shows he doesn’t care about the players that were brought up for the end of the season or reserves. Season over and three games to go, he states I’ll ask my regulars if they want to play and if not I’ll play the rookies! What did we bring them up for so they could have a good seat to watch the games?

    If we are not going to play Moore or Lombo, trade them off and try and get something worth while for them. Don’t and I repeat don’t go out and try and find a fifth pitcher. There has to someone in the organization who can do what Jackson (last year) and Haren this year contributed. Save that money and use it for the core we will need to protect.

    Also, I hope the new Manager takes the gloves off Strasburg and lets him go back and be a power pitcher! Our management would have made Nolan Ryan a contact pitcher! We are going to ruin Strasburg’s future if someone does’t get it right. If we don’t get it right I can see him jumping teams when he gets the opportunity.

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      Also, I hope the new Manager takes the gloves off Strasburg

      Well, I hope he lets him keep one glove on.

  2. nats128 - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Greg Dobbs just re-upped with the Marlins which takes him off as a bench FA.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      we should thank them. :P

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        Concur.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    For all the talk about good bench players and relief pitchers, I want a lefty C if possible. Saltalamacchia if he is willing to sign a one year deal (I doubt that). List of 2014 FAs We might end up with someone like Buck or Navarro. Ramos has some serious work to do on his health.

  4. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Brian McCann departed Braves game with groin strain (or something of that sort). Not sure whether or note he got it protecting the integrity of the game.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Not ‘note’ but not.

    • Candide - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      I’m trying to feel bad about it.

      Not getting there.

      • Steady Eddie - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM

        NOT worth the effort. He probably got it from the stick up his butt.

        I’m with Nats Lady in hoping that the Barves face and get swept by the in-your-face Dodgers. (Who then lose in the NLCS to the Bucs).

      • natsfan1a - Sep 27, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        Perhaps it occurred while he was climbing onto his high horse.

        Brian McCann departed Braves game with groin strain (or something of that sort). Not sure whether or note he got it protecting the integrity of the game.”

  5. Section 222 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    If McCann is out, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I’m still pissed that other guys got tossed and suspended and the only one who broke an actual rule of baseball (as opposed to some idiotic unwritten rule that is known only to the arbiters of the integrity of the game who reside in Atlanta) was McCann and he got nothin’. Karma is a bitch I guess.

  6. Section 222 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    I was intrigued by Steve’s statement ALR moved along at his .237 clip all year long, so I took a look at his numbers:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=larocad01&t=b&year=

    What a sorry tale they tell. ALR first cracked the Mendoza line on May 10. I remember this well because back in early May a certain former commenter was certain that Espi would far outdistance ALR in batting average very, very soon. Well he didn’t, which just show how awful Espi was because ALR hardly made a huge recovery. His highest average of the season was .261 on June 27, and that was the only, I repeat only, day of the year that he was above .260. By the end of the doubleheader on July 26, he was down to .240, and stayed under that line for the rest of the season except for 2 days (Aug. 27 and Sept. 12).

    He was a model of mediocrity from start to finish, and despite hitting 20 HRs, his power almost completely evaporated. His SLG was only .403 for the season, the lowest of his entire career (except for the lost year of 2011). He hit only 19 doubles this year, his lowest number ever, and his 20 HRs was his lowest number since his rookie season when he played only 110 games.

    Ugh. Rizzo needs to think long and hard about keeping him as our everyday 1B next year.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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

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

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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