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Down goes Guzman


So, as we wait for Delta 419 from National to Atlanta, think back to the dark recesses of your mind. Be honest. Did you ever think you would utter the following:

"Well, the Nationals can withstand the loss of [Key Pitcher X], but I can't believe they lost Guzman to an injury, too. Man, that's going to hurt."

That was No. 3 on my "Phrases I Never Thought I'd Utter" list, just ahead of, "Thanks, Stan, For All The Help Reporting This Story." (Kidding.)

To review some news that I probably should have posted on the Journal last night (but most of the staff had been given the weekend at the beach, and I really didn't want to call them in at the last minute), shortstop Cristian Guzman went on the disabled list with a sprained ligament in left thumb, suffered when he wacked Josh Barfield on the head during a steal yesterday.

What's more, reliever Jesus Colome - he of the 40 appearances in 75 games - went on the DL with a "soft tissue infection in his lower right extremity." I'm going to stay away from that one for a while.

Why is Guzman's loss so great? Let's go to those non-lying statistics.

Since he returned from his first stint on the disabled list (hamstring) on May 7, Guzman has hit .335. Only one shortstop in baseball, the Angels' Orlando Cabrera, has a higher average during that time (.380). Among N.L. shortstops, only Atlanta's Edgar Renteria (.316) is within 25 points.

The stunner, though, is Guzman's on-base percentage. There's a reason why this guy was moved to the top spot in the order, and it's not solely because Felipe Lopez is miserable right now (we'll get to that). Guzman's OBP since May 7 is .388, which is second in the N.L. for shortstops, trailing only Jose Reyes's .391. Throw in Guzman's six triples, and you get an .865 on-base plus slugging percentage that is second to Renteria among N.L. shortstops.

In short, you have a valuable, contributing offensive player.

Which brings us to Lopez. Manny Acta told me last night that Lopez would get the majority of playing time at shortstop in Guzman's absence. Makes sense. Until this year, he was an every-day shortstop. We know Ronnie Belliard can play an above-average second base, so no problem there.

What I didn't ask, and what we'll find out today, is whether Lopez will move back into the leadoff spot. Here are his current numbers: .236 average/.285 OBP/.341 slugging.

Ouch.

As a leadoff batter this year, Lopez's OBP is .277. Not only is that 81 points below the OBP Lopez had last year, but it ranks 22nd among qualifying N.L. leadoff hitters. Last I checked, there were 16 teams in the N.L. Indeed, Milwaukee, Arizona and Atlanta all have more than one player who has a higher leadoff OBP than Lopez.

Acta's other choice for the top spot would be Brandon Watson. Too much too soon? Likely. My guess is you'll get Lopez back at the top, Belliard hitting behind him in second, and Watson back down in eighth, where he's been pretty good in the (tiny) sample size we've seen him (pop-up bunt on Saturday night notwithstanding).

Think about that while I make my way to the ATL. And also grab yourself a $.35 edition, which had the wonder that is Boz, as well as a gamer centered around Manny Acta's attitude. The news on the injuries - as well as a couple other things - is in the notebook. For those of you who have the hard copy, you get fun things like a look at the Braves series, too.

With that, I leave you with this thought: Since May 17, Dmitri Young is hitting .437. Chew on that a bit.

By Barry Svrluga  |  June 25, 2007; 8:50 AM ET
 
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Next: Lineups, but more news to come

Comments

Jiminez?

Really?

Is that the best we can do?

Surely there is another player who can bat .071 and play shortstop in an emergency. There's an old Oak Tree in the front of my yard that stands a reasonable chance of getting a hit on a windy day. Probably has better range too.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 25, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the summation, Barry, and for getting the notebook online last night.

NatBisquit, I'm not *quite* so worried; Jimenez projects a bit better than .071. At this point I'd like to see him get in some licks. (His defense may be something else again.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd rather see Zim get in some time at SS "just because".

On another subject, as I recall, Cardiac Cordero has a poor record against the Braves. I wonder if Manny will be using someone else as closer in this series.

Guz' magic play made #1 on ESPN last night.

Also, did anyone else notice Dimitri's big grin Saturday night after he made that great play at first base? Geez, I'm gonna miss him if he goes.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty excited about Watson. I saw him at the game Saturday (and was greeted by him and DaMeat at the gate coming in). He just looked electric on the field. I already feel I can trust him to deliver, which is more than I can say for a lot of others.
[Where did Ryan's bat go? (pick any Ryan)]

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't surprise me to see Zim and Church start hitting now that they are on the road. They really seem to have hangups about RFK.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to see any of the Nats go on DL, but why is it always someone who is contributing big-time? remember didn't J Williams just throw a 7-inning no hitter v the Mets when he went down,,,then it was Hill pitching a near no hitter when he injures his opposite shoulder...then I think Bergman almost no-hits the Braves...then disappears into the blackhole of the Nats DL....so now Guzman starts looking like an allstar, so off he goes. Yikes---is this some kinda jinx?

Posted by: pk | June 25, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Is "soft tissue infection in his lower right extremity" code for "Colome has a social disease?"

Posted by: Kevin | June 25, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Colome got burned with the clap....

Posted by: ODB, R.I.P. | June 25, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I seem to remember something about a boil being mentioned during a spring training broadcast.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Then again, it might be something as simple as "crotch rash" which can be pretty painful.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Just when I was getting over my contempt for JimBow for having signed a 4-year contract with someone who seemed to perpetually be on the DL...

Posted by: Juan-John | June 25, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Its his butt, he pulled a butt muscle people

Posted by: Jason | June 25, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

In Guz' defense, this time it seems legit if you saw the replays of his tag on the runner.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it's a social disease. Perhaps a recurrence of the abscess (just the location that's personal, I think).

---

From the MLB site, Ladson's Notes for 2/22/07:

Right-hander Jesus Colome was sent home on Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms. Last week, Colome missed a day of workouts because of an abscess on his right buttocks.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Re: Colome

I think it's clear that he's got a pain in his butt and further, I think we know the name of that pain: Chad Cordero, who blew the game Jesus worked so hard to hold for him.

I'm on the 1-day DL with a horrible stomach bug, but creating a new GB/A spreadsheet is helping me get through it. I'll get back to you with it soon.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

BERGMANN Tonight!

OK, so I know its more likely that we will get the Bergmann that throws 40 pitches in the first than the Bergmann that throws no hit ball for 6/7 innings, but he's welcome back just the same. If he's healthy he's in the Plan. Patterson? Not so much. Patterson needs to be out of the Plan now. He's nothing more than a nice upside to the Plan. And if he ever throws 2 months without a trip to the DL, trade him. Hill? He's still got a shot at being in the Plan.

So to review that would be Bergmann, Chico, Hill, a free agent, and a rookie TBD for next year. (Plus 3 more TBD when injurries occur).

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 25, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Yecch -- I had a horrible stomach bug earlier in the year and hope you feel better soon, Sect. 506. It's not fun!

---

I'm on the 1-day DL with a horrible stomach bug, but creating a new GB/A spreadsheet is helping me get through it. I'll get back to you with it soon.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 12:23 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Opening day rotation at Nats Park: Chico, Bowie, Simontacchi, Lannan, Hinckley.

If Hinckley happens not to work out, bring on Balester. Otherwise, save Collin for 2009.

This is all SWAG, of course. Patty -- or Hill, and I pray for 'em both -- could get healthy, or Jimbo could pick up a free-agency stud. (Hmm, I don't recall that we've chatted much lately about what FA arm we'd like to bring on board.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I for one do not see Guzman going down now as a bad thing. This opens the door for Belliard to play more and up the market on him. If he has a good two weeks at 2B, SS, 3B, and/or 1B, he could be the first player traded.

"Avoid the Clap, signed Jimmy Dougan."
"That is good advice."
League of Their Own

Posted by: ChrisC | June 25, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Truth be told, FA arms are a tricky commodity. Seems like most of them end up being lousy or average after they get their big contracts.

But(t), Who replaces Colome until he is able to rear up and throw again?

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

And here they are, your MLB standings. Remember, these GB/A stats are not to be used to build hope for wild cards or league quality or even not-last-place-in-division fantasies. They have one purpose and one purpose alone: to shove down the craw of every two-bit sports writing hack who looked down his or her nose at the Washington Nationals in March and April or even the uninformed casual fan who still wants to knock them now.

You may, however, fantasize about catching that team that is number 17 in baseball right now.

30. Cincinnati (29-47) .382 (-3.5)
29. Kansas City (30-46) .395 (-2.5)
28. Texas (30-45) .400 (-2)
27. Chi Sox (29-42) .408 (-1)
24. B'more (32-43) .427 (0)
24. Houston (32-43) .427 (0)
24. NATS!!! (32-43) .427 (--)
23. Pittsburgh (31-41) .431 (.5)
22. SanFran (32-42) .432 (.5)
21. Tampa (33-40) .452 (2)
20. St. Louis (33-39) .458 (2.5)
19. Cubs (35-39) .473 (3.5)
18. Florida (36-40) .474 (3.5)
17. Yankees (36-37) .493 (5)

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Great job section 506.

Looks to me like only the Yankees are outa reach because they are starting to win. We should pass my Pirates this coming weekend.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

That's wonderfully horrible, dancer13. Perhaps we should save the posting for posterity (as background info?). But I fear we may be bottoming out on puns.

---

But(t), Who replaces Colome until he is able to rear up and throw again?

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 12:48 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

506: Nice work. I'm lovin' life. (Have been ever since I read Boz around noontime.)

Dancer13: You heading to Pgh this weekend?

Another tasty morsel:

Craig Stammen (who?) had a nice outing Saturday night at high-A Potomac, striking out a half dozen, walking one and yielding just one earned run in seven frames. Our P-Nats put a 12-2 Woodbridge whuppin' on Winston-Salem. Stammen, happily for a man who hopes to pitch in Nats Park (and the GABP, CBP, etc.) one day, recorded nine groundball outs to just six flyball outs.

Interestingly, Clint Everts -- he of the Levalean ERA -- picked up two scoreless innings of relief in the P-Nats win, striking out three and walking none. Maybe he should fill in for Colome tonight?

(Yes, I am kidding. 100%. OK, 99.44%...)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Excellent work, as usual, Sect. 506, despite the stomach bug. I'm lovin' the GB/A! One thing, though, I think that a gremlin may have crept in with the Pirates data (I believe they are 31-44 for a .413 W-L percentage).

Posted by: natsfan1 | June 25, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

To natsfan1a: Sorry, it's Monday and the best I could do (hitting rock bottom).

Hendo: No, it'd be nice to go to PNC wearing a curly W, but I (unfortunately have other plans.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

To Barry:

Not in this lifetime did I ever expect to utter (or hear) words to that effect.

Isn't baseball great?????

"Well, the Nationals can withstand the loss of [Key Pitcher X], but I can't believe they lost Guzman to an injury, too. Man, that's going to hurt."

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I enjoyed reading Boz' column, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey 506, I'll be in Pittsburgh this weekend for Saturday and Sunday's games. My first time. Anyone else?

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Right you are natsfan1. I was so busy triple checking that Yanks standing in my flu-daze that I gave Pittsburgh more credit than it deserves. I'm happy to amend my standings in a way that makes the Nats look even better.

Incidentally, I remade this list on Excel 2007 which has a feature that was either hidden or unavailable in previous versions. The program has a sliding scale of color based on green, yellow, and red, with green the standings farthest below the Nats and red farthest above yellow tied and 30 different shades of differentiation. It is beautiful to see some more green on the chart! I wish you all could see it.

30. Cincinnati (29-47) .382 (-3.5)
29. Kansas City (30-46) .395 (-2.5)
28. Texas (30-45) .400 (-2)
27. Chi Sox (29-42) .408 (-1)
26. Pittsburgh (31-44) .431 (-1)
23. B'more (32-43) .427 (0)
23. Houston (32-43) .427 (0)
23. NATS!!! (32-43) .427 (--)
22. SanFran (32-42) .432 (.5)
21. Tampa (33-40) .452 (2)
20. St. Louis (33-39) .458 (2.5)
19. Cubs (35-39) .473 (3.5)
18. Florida (36-40) .474 (3.5)
17. Yankees (36-37) .493 (5)

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I want to express how happy I am we got Speigner back the way we did. They seemed to back him up and admitted to us that it was a lot to ask of the kid, starting him like they did. To send him back down so quick, especially with threat of losing him, was too harsh. I was miffed because I thought they owed him a little more time in the bullpen to recover. But they have SO redeemed themselves by giving up a well-hitting Triple-A guy (who, btw, we will likely need very much if we trade DaMeat and/or Belliard) to "buy" Speigner back. Very classy IMHO. Now he can spend all the time he needs in the minors and I bet he delivers when his time REALLY comes.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, I'll be there as long as the jalopy doesn't get stuck in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. (Actually I might fly. We'll see.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I realized it was you who asked the question, not 506, but I think he said awhile back he would be there too.
How fun! I'll be looking for you all in red.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if the Yankees are catchable in Section 506's World o' Fantasies, then catching the number 18 Marlins (just 3.5 games ahead!) to avoid last place in the division is perfectly fair game!

Posted by: Sbrent | June 25, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Flawed logic Sbrent. Catching the Yankees is an okay fantasy, because they are the Yankees and hatred for them should know no boundaries, certainly not something as foolish as probability.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

boils, butts, and booboos on his dingdong --
(This is what happens when they cut biology class)
People, the central parts of the body are NOT "extremities." "Lower extremity" means HIS LEG. It's on his RIGHT LEG.
Of course, it could be the Nat's FO that doesn't know the difference, I suppose. They *did* say it was in "a lower right extremity," implying he somehow has more than one.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Now if they said he had 2 left feet, that I might buy.

Posted by: cevans again | June 25, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

In the who would have thought it back in January category:

** Christian Guzman going on the DL would be viewed as a big loss;

** Dmitri Young would be a likely all-star;

** Jason Bergmann would be missed;

** Nats would have same record as 2005 WS teams;

** Sat. night would be viewed as a tragedy instead of an every-day occurrence;

** Jim Bowden can make it through a week without being seriously diss'd by this board.

Posted by: Section 418 | June 25, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Sect. 506, I completely understand flu daze and, more important, Yankee hating. The colors feature sounds very cool!

---

Right you are natsfan1. I was so busy triple checking that Yanks standing in my flu-daze that I gave Pittsburgh more credit than it deserves. I'm happy to amend my standings in a way that makes the Nats look even better.

Incidentally, I remade this list on Excel 2007 which has a feature that was either hidden or unavailable in previous versions. The program has a sliding scale of color based on green, yellow, and red, with green the standings farthest below the Nats and red farthest above yellow tied and 30 different shades of differentiation. It is beautiful to see some more green on the chart! I wish you all could see it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay 506, how does Pittsburgh with .431 rate below the Nats with .427? I will grant you that after the weekend, the Nats will be above, but they ain't yet (or is my math wrong?).

(Let's see, I figure the Nats will be 36 and 45 (.444) by Monday.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Well said, NatsNut! I'm also glad that we got Speigner back.

---

BTW, I want to express how happy I am we got Speigner back the way we did. They seemed to back him up and admitted to us that it was a lot to ask of the kid, starting him like they did. To send him back down so quick, especially with threat of losing him, was too harsh. I was miffed because I thought they owed him a little more time in the bullpen to recover. But they have SO redeemed themselves by giving up a well-hitting Triple-A guy (who, btw, we will likely need very much if we trade DaMeat and/or Belliard) to "buy" Speigner back. Very classy IMHO. Now he can spend all the time he needs in the minors and I bet he delivers when his time REALLY comes.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll field this one. Sect. 506 has a bad case of flu and is going above the beyond the call of duty to post these great updates ;) There's a transposition and the percentage is actually .413, I think.

---

Okay 506, how does Pittsburgh with .431 rate below the Nats with .427? I will grant you that after the weekend, the Nats will be above, but they ain't yet (or is my math wrong?).

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Dancer13 wonders: "Who replaces Colome until he is able to rear up and throw again?"

Chris Schroder, if he is in at least '06 form, will be a worthy replacement. His Columbus numbers look pretty good.

He does lead the Clippers staff in wild pitches. (I miss Tex. Truly, I do.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

To natsfan1a: I just hit it with the old calculator and Pittsburgh at 31 and 44 is .413 as you said. We'll just have to keep opening the gap wider.

Posted by: Dancer13 | June 25, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Cute! But given the lastest "Buttgate" news release, I fear it may be the Nats FO that needs the anatomy lesson, or perhaps they are merely sacrificing specificity in the interest of delicacy. WTOP news radio just announced that Colome has an infection on his "butt." Whatever ails him, I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

---
boils, butts, and booboos on his dingdong --
(This is what happens when they cut biology class)
People, the central parts of the body are NOT "extremities." "Lower extremity" means HIS LEG. It's on his RIGHT LEG.
Of course, it could be the Nat's FO that doesn't know the difference, I suppose. They *did* say it was in "a lower right extremity," implying he somehow has more than one.

Posted by: | June 25, 2007 02:35 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

WTOP announces news? I thought it was just for airing commercials.

Might I observe baseball is the perfect sport for a stomach virus? The most important thing is to distract yourself from the searing uckiness and crunching numbers really is amazing.

I think you all have already observed the reliability of the output of all that distraction, though...

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Sect. 506, we all appreciate your gutsy performance despite the bug!

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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