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Nationals Stock Watch: Firing on all cylinders

Jun 11, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today
We take a look at the Nationals’ past week, at a glance:

Record:
 6-1
Team slash: .273/.337/.457
Team ERA:  1.34
Runs per game: 6.42

STOCK UP 

Ian Desmond, SS: .333 AVG/2 HR/9 RBI/.750 SLG
The Nationals’ offense continues to hit its stride, as different members of the lineup are taking turns getting hot, and this week it was Desmond who led the charge. He’s been solid his last seven games, but his three hit, five RBI performance  in Monday night’s win over the first place San Francisco Giants stood out. Washington’s shortstop hasn’t hit for average so far this season, but he continues to be one of the better power hitting shortstops in the game. He now leads the team in home runs with 13 and is currently on pace for 33, which would be a career high. Who knows, if he can raise his average a few points, maybe he’ll have a chance to earn his second career All-Star nod.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 1-0/9.0 IP/0.00 ERA 
It’s funny how a quality start or two can completely change the narrative of a pitcher’s season. A few weeks ago, Nats fans were wondering what was wrong with Zimmermann, and if he’d return to his old self. The concern was legitimate, as he had a tough May in which he allowed three or more runs in four consecutive starts. Well, if his last two starts are any indication — especially Sunday’s effort against the Padres — Zimmermann is back. He dazzled in San Diego, hurling a complete game shutout while racking up 12 punchouts and walking none. He displayed the pinpoint command that fans have come to expect from him, as Padre hitters couldn’t muster a hit until the sixth inning. So far in June, Zimmermann has pitched 17 innings and has yet to allow a run, while also piling up back-to-back wins for the first time all season. Yeah, we’d say he’s rebounding quite well.

Doug Fister, SP: 2-0/14.0 IP/1.29 ERA/0.93 WHIP
Remember the time Fister struggled in his season opening start against the Oakland Athletics? That seems like a lifetime ago, as he’s since gone 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA and has suddenly become the Nationals’ most consistent pitcher. He made his debut a little over month after the season started, yet he’s already just one win behind Stephen Strasburg for the team lead. As Nats fans are seeing, when Fister’s sinker is working, he’s nearly unstoppable. He works quickly, induces ground ball after ground ball, and lets the defense make plays behind him. It sounds like a simple formula, but it’s so hard to do on a nightly basis. He rode that formula to another win Tuesday night, pitching seven shutout frames against a tough Giants club to make it five in a row. At this rate, it’s looking like downright theft that the Nationals were able to acquire Fister for prospect Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi (who was later traded to the Orioles) and reliever Ian Krol.

Danny Espinosa, 2B: .360 AVG/.480 SLG/5 RBI
Espinosa’s had himself a bit of an up-and-down season. When he was first called off the bench early on in April, he filled in quite nicely and was commended for resembling more of the 2012 version of himself rather than last year’s. He then began to regress quite a bit in May, falling victim to many of the same things — strikeouts, namely — that made him struggle in 2013. But as the Nationals offense has rebounded and found some consistency recently, so too has Espinosa. He’s still struggling with the strikeouts (he’s K’d nine times over the last week), but his average continues to climb and his run production is steadily improving. When Espinosa was playing well in 2011 and 2012, many wondered if he would emerge as one of the better power hitting second basemen in the league. No one knows if he’ll ever be that guy, but there’s no reason he still can’t be a productive member of the lineup in other ways.

STOCK DOWN

Rafael Sorian, RP:  3.0 IP/6.00 ERA/1 BS
It’s another one of those weeks at Stock Watch where it’s hard to find quibbles; that’ll happen when the Nationals win six of seven games. However, Soriano has been a little shaky in his last couple of outings. His blown save against the Padres over the weekend led to the only loss suffered by the Nats over the last week. Had he converted that save opportunity, perhaps we’re talking about the Nats riding a season-high seven game win streak. He didn’t make things any easier in his next outing against the Giants, allowing a run before he and the Nationals narrowly escaped with a 2-1 victory.  This isn’t to say Soriano is slumping; he’s blown just two saves all season. But on nights where there isn’t a ton of cushion for him, a three-up, three-down inning every now and then would do a lot to calm the nerves of fans.

 

  1. scnatsfan - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    It seems no matter how many runs you give Soriano he needs to put the tying/winning run at the plate to gets his attention. I have the feeling the hotter and better the team gets so will he.

  2. David Proctor - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    The issue I think with the backend of our bullpen is that they’re not getting consistent work. Clippard and Soriano are both guys who need to work regularly. The “problem” is that we’re putting up big leads and not needing them. A good problem to have for sure.

    • snerdblurter - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      I was thinking the same thing the other day. It feels like we go 4-5 days at a time between Soriano/Storen/Clippard sightings

  3. bowdenball - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    The comment on Desmond raises an interesting question: who represents this 34-29, 2nd highest run differential in the NL team on the All-Star Game? Nobody’s in the Top 5 of the position players. Certainly one of Strasburg/Zimmermann, but I dont think there’s room for both, is there? Does LaRoche make it over Freeman as a third 1B?

    Says a lot about this team that there’s no obvious candidate but you could make a case for as many as 6 or 7 guys.

    • David Proctor - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Strasburg leads NL starting pitchers in WAR (tied with Waino). I think he deserves it.

      • adcwonk - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        Baseball Reference: Nats pitchers in top 10:

        WAR: Roark 9
        WHIP: Roark 6
        H/9 IP: Roark 7
        BB/9 IP: JZ 8
        K/9 IP: Stras 1
        Games: Clip 31
        Saves: Soriano 10
        IP: Stras 7
        K’s: Stras 1
        GS: Stras 1-tie
        K/BB ratio: Strasburg 2, JZ 8
        HPB: Strasburg, Roark 10
        Batters Faced: Stras 5
        FIP: Stras 1, JZ 7
        RE24: Roark 9
        WPA/LI: Roark 10
        REW: Roark 9

        Note: FIster doesn’t have enough innings to quality, but he would appear multiple times if he did

      • David Proctor - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        The difference between B-R WAR and Fangraphs WAR is that Fangraphs uses FIP, whereas B-R uses RA9.

      • adcwonk - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        I should have mentioned — the number to the right is the *rank* in the NL

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        A fangraphs post today also sings Stras’s praises:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/reminder-stephen-strasburg-is-still-really-really-good/

      • bowdenball - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        Me too, David. Unfortunately the people who choose the team don’t look at WAR or FIP or even necessarily K/BB, it seems. They seem to look at wins and ERA and Stras isn’t necessarily elite in those categories.

        I think he’ll end up making it, though, assuming a few more great starts in June. Hard to deny how good he’s been.

    • 6ID20 - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Desmond is tied for 4th in the NL in homers and tied for third in RBI. LaRoche is fifth in OPS.

    • adcwonk - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Baseball Reference: Nats batters in top 10 (rank in NL given)

      OBP: ALR 4
      OPS: ALR 9
      Runs: Rendon 10
      Doubles: Span 4
      Triples: Span, Rendon, 4
      HR: Desmond 4
      RBI: Desmond 3
      K’s: Espi 5, Desmond 7
      SIngles: Werth 8
      HPB: Espi 3
      Sac Hits: Roark 2, Fister 9
      GIDP: Desmond 3
      AB/SO: Span 1 (i.e., best ratio in the league)
      AB/HR: Desmond 9
      RE24: ALR 8
      WPA: Span 8
      REW: ALR 9

      It’s amazing to me to see so many different players on this list

      (And, in the other list, how many places Roark appears, and that Fister _would_ appear)

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        nice work dude. thanks!

  4. snerdblurter - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Was at AT&T last night – that was as close to a postseason game as you’ll ever get in mid-June. Phenomenal pitching and defense on both sides, 1-2 plays making the difference (Sandoval at the plate, Morse strikeout), boisterous crowd that got really loud during a few of the rallies, and of course the cold weather. I dont think you can understate the importance of Nats getting more and more experienced in sphincter-tightening situations like that, especially when they come out on top. Its just a completely different game and hopefully they’re beginning to get used to it.

    • ArVAFan - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      Thank you for the perspective. I was afraid that no NI’ers would be there.

      I have yet to hear from my SF-fan brother. Wonder why.

    • adcwonk - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      I dont think you can understate the importance of Nats getting more and more experienced in sphincter-tightening situations like that, especially when they come out on top. Its just a completely different game and hopefully they’re beginning to get used to it.

      Those are awesome words for a fan to hear!

    • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Thanks for the first hand report. This is one of the things about NI that is so great. Even when our fearless leader can’t make the trip, one of our faithful correspondents is there.

    • snerdblurter - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Happy to represent NI & share the experience.

      One other note I just remembered was Werth’s improved defense, which was on full display last night. Not just the throw to the plate (which admittedly was off line), but on the Sandoval double that preceded it. He tracked down the ball and caught on the bounce bare-handed before it got to the wall which enabled him to quickly plant and fire it back in with one motion and hold Sandoval to a double. If that gets to the wall, the Panda crawls to third and then rolls home on the hit that followed. So Werth basically saved that run from scoring not once, but twice.

      Maybe it really was all Betsy’s fault….
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/jayson-werth-and-betsy-a-story-of-true-glove/2014/06/09/7dac4dee-f005-11e3-bf76-447a5df6411f_story.html

      • tcostant - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        yarn, Maybe the next article will be about someone’s bat or hat.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        It’s a link. You don’t gotta click on it.

  5. NatsLady - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I don’t see Harper playing CF. I see him playing RF, at home and against RH pitchers. Yes, basically a platoon with Werth as he learns the position, this time for real, and then in LF if he needs to spell RZ. I feel Harper is a corner outfielder for several reasons, and I hope he doesn’t go Mike Trout on us and insist on playing CF.

    I don’t see Ryan Zimmerman going back to the infield. Ever.

    Next year is too far away to project, but IMO, If Desi doesn’t re-sign then Rizzo will keep Danny to play SS and trade for a 2B or let Zach Walters or someone who is not even on our radar have it. If you are worried about Danny, I give you not only Desi as a late-bloomer, but Lonnie Chisenhall. It’s great to have Desi’s offense but a lot of championship teams have less offense and better gloves at SS.

    • David Proctor - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Desi is under contract next year.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      “I don’t see Ryan Zimmerman going back to the infield. Ever.”
      +++++++++++++++++++

      Just to be clear, you’re saying neither 3B nor 1B?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Eugene, you should include who you are quoting but great question followup to that quote. Ever is a long time! I’m sure RZim will play 1st base and it could be next year or still even this year.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Ghost – It was quoting the post to which it was reply (NatLady’s @ 3:17).

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      your psot gives an impression that desi is a free agent enxt season.

    • adcwonk - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      So, are you saying RZ stays in LF, and when Harper comes back, take AB’s away from Span and Werth? (I’m talking about for the rest of this season).

    • Eric - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      I think the crux of NL’s comments re: next year had more to do with whether or not Espi will be traded any time soon/next year.

    • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      So you’re in the camp with Ghost, laddie, and perhaps others that believes that MW will take Span, Werth or Harper (or Zim) out of the lineup rather than try Zim at 3B, move Rendon to 2B, and bench Espi. I and several others don’t see that happening. Time will tell.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        Sect222, I will be perfectly clear: Harper will be the Nats new starting CF and Rendon will leadoff IMO. The only way I see that changing is Espi falls below Mendoza.

        The musical chairs approach is not a good idea shifting several players around. Am I happy with Espi? No, but my outfield and lineup is as follows:

        Rendon 3B
        Harper CF
        Werth RF
        ALR 1B
        RZim LF
        Ramos C
        Desi SS
        Espi 2B

      • jd - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        Ghost,

        That was my opinion too. But what happens if 4 – 5 weeks from now Harper is ready to return and the team is playing at the level they are playing now and Span is hitting .300 and is in the middle of the offensive charge?

        It will major cajones to remove Span in that scenario. no?

    • zmunchkin - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      Ryan will play 3B again this year. He won’t play there a lot. But he will play there.

      He will also play LF (and 1B on occasion). You won’t see him anywhere except LF until Harper returns. And if Harper returns by July 7, he will be in LF and Ryan will be the DH for the four games against the Orioles. And if Harper returns before the 7th, it would not surprise me to see MW take a chance and play Ryan at 3B against the woeful Cubs and Rockies (both at home).

      The issue with Zim at 3b is not his range. It is his overhand throws. And there was speculation that his errors are mostly driven by the inflammation in his shoulder caused by regular hard, overhand throws. If so, that means that he could play occasionally at 3B. And it also means that the Nats will want to find that out.

      Given that Zim is the second best 3B on team, he will play there occasionally. If only to find out if he can make those tough throws when his shoulder is not inflamed.

  6. thelatencn - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    I’m inclined to think RZim will get some sort of probationary chance at 3rd once Harper returns, if only so MW can have at least a few games with the A lineup. I don’t see him continuing there next season, but how that will play out still has too many moving parts to predict.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Wainwright with elbow problems again.

    • tcostant - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      I just read the twiiter feed of that, they seem to be playing it cool, but he surely won’t pitch this weekend.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        Nope

      • masterfishkeeper - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        It wasn’t likely that Wainwright would have pitched against the Nats. They would have had to skip over Garcia, who is a veteran and is pitching pretty well. But I agree that this ends any thought of that.

      • Steady Eddie - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Cards announced late yesterday or early this morning their series starters and posted on MLB.com: Lynn, Miller, and Garcia.

        Doesn’t mean they can’t change them, but clearly they weren’t planning to start Wainwright vs Nats even before this elbow thing came up.

  8. natsjackinfl - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    All the banter back and forth about what Matt and Rizzo will do when Bryce returns is still very premature. At best that decision is 3 weeks out and more probably 5 wees out.

    The situation can change in almost any inning of play between now and when the decision has to be made.

    • jd - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      natsjack,

      What you say is true but Rizzo didn’t do the RZim move to left without a plan in place. It would have been more straight forward to put him at 3rd and insert Mc.Louth in LF and then replace Mc.Louth with Harper no?

      I think what this tells me is that Rizzo has seen enough of Zim at 3rd to understand that his throwing issues aren’t getting any better and there is real potential that he will throw games away if put in that position again. The other telling factor is that Zim also understands this and there seems to be some permanence in the conversation IMO.

    • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      NJ, that’s definitely the case. Another injury — to Span, Werth, Espi, Desi, even ALR, could solve Rizzo’s problem very quickly. But we sure hope that doesn’t happen. I get that you don’t want to make a prediction or a guesshere, but that doesn’t make the discussion premature. Don’t you think Rizzo and MW are thinking about the options?

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Deuces

        Can’t pretend to speak for NJ (obviously), but for my part, I am sure they are “thinking about the options,” as you put it, and I think that over the last week or so commenters here have covered most of them. The three main ones seem to be:

        1. Zimm stays in LF, Harp to CF, Span to bench
        2. Zimm returns to 3B, Harp returns to LF, Rendon to 2B, Espi to bench
        3. Some form of what Ghost above called “musical chairs,” with these pieces moving around to provide rest days, play the platoon splits, etc.

        Some commenters here seem to think Rizzo already has a master plan carved in stone and will follow it lockstep and without deviation. Maybe. It seems more likely to me that Rizzo, MW, et al have gamed out various scenarios are waiting to see how things go before making any final decisions.

      • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        HH, you’ve summarized the banter back and forth well, and I agree with you that Rizzo and MW are waiting to see how things go. Among the events that could effect the decision between now and Harper’s return.

        1. An injury to one of several players.
        2. Espi’s performance at the plate.
        3. Span’s performance at the plate.
        3. Zim’s play in LF and whether other teams start to take advantage of his arm out there.

        It’s like a Rubik’s Cube, and I don’t see anything wrong with continuing to debate it as the decision time approaches.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      +1.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Putting Zim in left is the best move they could make while getting his bat in the lineup and maintaining the best defensive group on the field.

        I’m fairly confident that Espinosa will be the guy going to the bench and Zim will get a chance to play 3rd until he shows he can’t. If he can’t then it’s any number of scenarios that will require 4 outfielders to share playing time with the occasional Zim to first against certain lefties.

        But there is a lot of baseball to be played until then. And I agree with most everyone, but like the games themselves, I prefer to let it play out.

      • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        This is great. So as a shorthand, we can say:

        1. The Ghost Option — Span to the bench .
        2. The NatsJack Option — Espi to the bench.
        3. The NatsLady Option — musical outfielders, platoons, Zim never at 3B
        4. The 308 Option — musical chairs, more rest for everyone.

        I like it!

      • RPrecupjr - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        Apparently you missed my plan (a couple of posts earlier)

        Werth to the DL to rest/heal his occasionally barking wrist and Harper to RF (except in ATL or LA). That gets the the team at least to August, then we’ll see where everyone stands.

  9. Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    It seems no matter how many runs you give Soriano he needs to put the tying/winning run at the plate to gets his attention. I have the feeling the hotter and better the team gets so will he

    I know this was meant as a supportive comment, but like many things that people say seem to be the case about Soriano, it’s actually not true. Let’s go to the video tape. Ok, how about B-R?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=soriara01&t=p&year=

    So far, he’s appeared in 25 games. In seven, he’s come in with the Nats tied or ahead by only a run. So, obviously, he didn’t put the tying run at the plate in those games. (And yes, he blew the save in two of those games. At least he hasn’t yet blown a lead of more than a run.) And in five games he came in with the Nats already behind.

    So that leaves 13 appearances where he came in with the Nats up by 2 or more runs. Guess in how many the tying run came to the plate? 12? 10? How about a bare majority of seven?

    Nope. Just five. And you know what happened in every single one of those five games? All were save opportunities, and he got the save every single time. And, of course, in the other 8 games where he came in with a lead of 2 runs or more, the closest the tying run got to the plate was the on-deck circle.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Facts are powerful tools.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        Deuces bringing the science today!

    • Dave - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Thanks for that summary, 222. Soriano’s just fine, better than most, and we’re lucky he’s on our team. JD is quite right (in that comment that’s probably down below my own reply to Section 222′s comment–love that Word Press!): every closer on every team probably makes everybody nervous as hell every single time he comes into a game.

      But old anxieties die hard, even when statistical facts should diminish them.

    • scnatsfan - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      I believe that is true of all closers. You don’t remember the easy saves, just the struggles.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      +1.

  10. jd - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Sec 222,

    It seems that every closer in the majors gets the same treatment from his fan base. He can save 20 games in a row and then he blows 1 and he’s a bum. And even if he doesn’t he’s still criticized because he isn’t as dominant as he ‘should’ be. That’s the life of a closer but Soriano doesn’t seem to be bothered by this at all.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Which is one reason why closers are different. Guts of a cat burgler, plus amnesia.

    • slidell2 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      True. Closers tend to be judged on the basis of their most recent game.

    • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Right jd. And the fact that he doesn’t seem bothered bothers people all the more. The guy just can’t win with some people no matter what he does.

      Other teams’ closers certainly make their fans nervous. I went to our first three games in Pittsburgh. In the first one, Melancon closed, and the fans near me were totally on pins and needles. The Nats put two men on and then Rendon hit a sinking liner to CF, and McCutcheon made a sliding catch to end the game. The next night, with Melancon unavailable, Grilli came back and closed his first game after being out for quite a while with an injury. Of course everyone cheered him when he came in (“Time for Some Grilled Cheeeese”!), but when he walked Rendon to start the inning, there were a lot of “uh-oh”s and murmors of worry from the crowd. Rendon was stranded when Desi hit a drive to right and Josh Harrison made a spectacular leaping catch for the third out.

      In both cases, the Pirates fans were worried, and those at home may have been drinking Maalox, but no one was outraged that their closer had made a pitch that resulted in a line drive last out. That’s what ticks me off the most — that people who don’t like Soriano will criticize him even when he gets a save because he didn’t make pitches that were “good” enough. Or because a Nationals player had to do his job and make a play behind him. And then they just assert, when the facts are clearly to the contrary, that “he’s always an adventure,” that he “seems” to always come within an inch of blowing the save. Basically, since mid August of last year, ever since that game in Atlanta where Heyward hit a 2 run homer off him to tie game with 2 outs in the 9th, he’s been one of the most effective closers in baseball.

      You can look it up.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        “And the fact that he doesn’t seem bothered bothers people all the more.”
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++
        And if he showed more emotion he’d be “losing focus” or “a baby” of some such.

      • 6ID20 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        If you looked it up you’d see that Soriano has given up a run in each of his last two appearances. And he’s got knowledgeable commentators like Boswell and FP pointing out that he’s throwing meatballs and living inside in the dangerous wheelhouse of left handed hitters. That’s what has people concerned. He seems to have lost the adjustment he made that allowed him to be effective for a long while.

      • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:59 PM

        I did look it up, obviously. And you’re right, two runs in each of the last two appearances. And two runs in the previous 23 appearances. Last night, with a two run lead, he gave up a leadoff triple and then got three guys out in a row. The run meant nothing. If your’e not satisfied with that I don’t know what to say to you.

        I don’t consider FP a knowledgeable commentator on Soriano. He promotes the same factually incorrect meme about him that you and others here do — he’s always an adventure, can’t throw a clean inning, blah blah blah. Worst was he went on and on about the game that Soriano saved where poor Jason Werth had to make a catch at the wall to finish it off. All he could talk about was how awful the pitch was that led to the last out in the game the Nats won. Since then, he’s converted 4 out of 5 saves and has given up 3 hits and 2 BBs in 8 innings.

  11. Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Thanks to HH for posting the link to that Fangraph’s article on Stras. Really fascinating and has some great GIFs of his nasty stuff on Monday. Three killer strikeout pitches.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/reminder-stephen-strasburg-is-still-really-really-good/

    • jd - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      Great article and 100% correct.

  12. letswin3 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Just to beat this horse (he ain’t quite dead yet) again…… I believe it’s possible that Rizzo is just as confused about what to do when Harper comes back as we are. And he too knows that there are hundreds of permutations that could come into play by then (as NatsJack and others have pointed out). Sure he’s thinking very hard about it (so is Matt), but it’s clear to me that Harper, Zim and Werth will be in the lineup virtually every day, if healthy. We’ve gone over the math that Span brings to scoring, and he’s very valuable as the table-setter that we will need, not to mention his smooth fielding. That pretty much says that the only position open for Zim is 3rd base …. if he detonates while trying to make throws, THEN the real problems resurface ….his bat must stay, so he returns to LF, Harp moves to Center and Span either sits or serves as trade bait for a table-setting second baseman.

    One more thing, am I the only one that’s noticed the ungainly throwing motion that Zim is displaying when throwing from LF to the cutoff guys. My guess is that that same motion will cause an implosion if/when he tries to play 3rd again.

    • 6ID20 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      When he goes back to third he’ll go back to the sidearm throws that were working fine for him – and for Rizzo and Williams – before he broke his thumb.

    • zmunchkin - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      That ungainly throwing motion is simply a lob/toss that you throw when there is no rush.

      As FP said the other day on the broadcast when Werth did not rush to pick up the ball and throw it to the infield after a double: Werth knew it was a double and no one else was on base, so no reason to go all out for no gain. Same with these throws by Zimm. Why try to throw a bullet when it doesn’t matter?

    • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      I’ve noticed the motion, though the MASN director seems to go out of his way to show it as little as possible. And it does seem to be an intentional a lob rather than as hard a throw as Zim can muster. It will be interesting to see what kind of throw he makes when he has to charge a basehit and try to throw a guy out at home. I’m not looking forward to that.

      Sounds like you’re in the NatsJack camp on this question, as am I.

  13. ehay2k - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    I am disappointed that no one called out the new player on the 25 man. Who is that? Why, Rafael Sorian, our new closer according to the post.

    Gotta fix that since it makes it impossible to later search for Soriano and find this post.

    Soriano can be an adventure, akthough less pften than some people claim. But he’s also damn good at saving games. I just wish he could be a little bit less open with his criticisms.

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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