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Chico vs. Livo

So pitchers who were traded for each other face each other tonight in the desert. Let's look at the stats for Matt Chico and Livan Hernandez:

Record: MC 5-6, LH 7-7
ERA: MC 4.76, LH 4.83
Starts: MC 23, LH 23
Innings: MC 123, LH 143-1/3
Strikeouts: MC 67, LH 71
Walks: MC 54, LH 62
Homers: MC 20, LH 22
Average against: MC .283, LH .301
Base runners per nine innings: MC 14.41, LH 14.76

Kinda the same guy, doesn't it seem? Chico is throwing a lot of pitches these days. His Armas-like average of 17.1 per inning pitched is third in the NL, trailing only San Francisco's Barry Zito (17.9) and Arizona's Doug Davis (17.3). Greg Maddux leads the NL with 13.5 pitches/inning, and Livan is 16th-worst with 16.6.

Hernandez's opponents' batting average is third-worst in the NL, Chico's 12th-worst. Hernandez's OBP against (.370) is fourth-worst in the NL, Chico's (.358) eighth-worst. Hernandez is tied for the third-most homers allowed in the league, Chico tied for sixth. Hernandez's ranks fourth-worst in the league in base runners per nine innings, Chico seventh-worst. (The worst? Dontrelle Willis, with a staggering 15.31 per nine innings. What happened to that guy?)

So it would appear that last summer's trade that sent Hernandez to Arizona for Chico and right-hander Garrett Mock (we'll get to him in a second) fits into the Nationals' plan. This is a learning year for Chico, where as Hernandez has learned long ago. The stats show that in lots of areas, Chico is among the league's worst starters. But the Nationals are OK with that, because of the point he's at in his career. "On another team," GM Jim Bowden said recently, "he'd still be in the minors."

I talked to Chico yesterday about his recent struggles. "It's just that I'm thinking too much about my mechanics sometimes," he said, "instead of thinking about the pitch I'm trying to make. I can see myself over-throwing sometimes." All part of the learning process, I suppose. But he doesn't let it get to him. "He's hard to read," Manager Manny Acta said. That's both in public and in private.

Mock: He was actually supposed to be the more promising piece in the trade, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Nationals' officials have seen him and been almost blown away - he's got such a big, sturdy, Clemens-like frame and good stuff - but then he'll come down with an ailment. He is now 0-4 with a 6.60 ERA at Class AA Harrisburg, though he had an encouraging seven-inning, three-run outing last night in which he walked just one and struck out seven.

We'll see. That's all I got for you right now. USAir 570 to Phoenix is about to board, and I need to be on it. I'll get you lineups from the (former) BOB.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 10, 2007; 11:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hill, Detwiler and a win to wrap up the circus
Next: Shawn Hill's return delayed


Great match-up today. I wonder what advantage Livo might have from his days with the Nats, or what advantage our hitters will have on him. There certainly won't be many surprises on either side.

How do most pitcher's do vs there old teams? I seem to recall Maddux getting shelled every time he plays Atlanta now...

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Like a lot of players were saying, including Zimmerman I recall, it's not that hard to replace a 5.00 ERA. Chico strung together some really nice starts before the ASB. Hope he can find that form again and soon.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | August 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

How much of an influence does a guy like Schneider, who caught Livo for more than a few seaons, have in a situation like this? Not only is he familiar with his stuff, but he also knows how he sets his pitches. After all, it was Livo calling those games, not Schneider.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 10, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the stats comparison, Barry. Interesting to see the many points of similarity laid out.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Livan tips his pitches and Schneider knows it.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 10, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not Schneider can take advantage of it is a different question.

These guys have all see a lot of each other's stuff, except for Meat, Belli & Logan.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and one other stat for you, the batting averages of each pitcher (from their team sites):

MC .176, LH .189

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I like that Livan has pitched 20 more innings and only has 4 more strikeouts than MC, AND has given up 8 more walks and 2 more homers. I agree that in terms of Teh Plan it is, as Kevin Costner once said, a good trade!

Posted by: JennX | August 10, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse


I'm looking forward to watching this one, though, even if it will be the Arizona feed. I am still quite fond of Livo, going all the way back to Opening Day 2005, where a bad call prevented him from a complete game (and he let the umpire know it as he walked to do the dugout).

My wife still brings up what she dubbed the "Livan Squeeze," a nice squeeze bunt he dropped down the line, then waved the runner home from third.

There's also a "Livan Shuffle," but I think Tom Paciorek has the rights to that one.


Whether or not Schneider can take advantage of it is a different question.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 10, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Barry slips in "...but he hasn't been able to stay healthy".

... if there's one issue, peripheral to on-field play, that the Nats absolutely MUST get a handle on before next year, it is health/injuries!

Posted by: natscaan reduxit | August 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm fond of Livo, too, but tonight we gotta pummel him...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

someone in the nats organization needs to read up on "prehab". It's basically having all your pitchers do their post-tommy-john-surgery rehab work (building strength in & around the joints) before you actually need the surgery. Good stuff.

Posted by: section 406 | August 10, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm still fond of Livo too, but tonight would be a great time for one of his 1.1IP 6H 5ER 0SO 4BB performances we saw so many of early last year.

A big win tonight and blow up their bullpen? That would be the start of a great weekend in the desert.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely. Arizona is the League's hottest team right now, and this is a great chance to start the series off with a win.

Nats have 20 more games this month. They should be able to win at least 10. Getting out of the San Francisco circus, facing a slow, familiar arm, this is a good opportunity for the good guys.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 10, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm personally a big fan of prevenge.


someone in the nats organization needs to read up on "prehab".

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 10, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

So, would that be served warm rather than cold? ;)


I'm personally a big fan of prevenge.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hot is better than cold, and it's very hot in 'Zona.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

My amusing/saddening link du jour:

Posted by: JennX | August 10, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Nats have 20 more games this month. They should be able to win at least 10."

We have 3 at ARI then 6 at home PHI & NYM. I'm hoping for 5 wins there. After that we have 4 at HOU & 3 at COL. I'm hoping for 5 wins there. Finally we have 3 at LAD and 3 vs SFG to end the month and 3 vs FLA over Labor Day weekend. I'm hoping for 6 there. That would give us a record of 69-71 with 22 games to go. All of our September games are vs NL East rivals, but I hope and think we can go 12-10 in those games and finish 81-81.

Manny for NL Manager of the Year - for sure - even if we come up 3-4 games short of my outline.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Does Livo still eat pancakes before each start? Barry, get one of those grotesque red hands at the stadium fan shop - I think they're called "fist of foam." The folks at the office love 'em! They look like you are morphing into a grotesque Satanic troll, but that only your hand has made the transition. Laughs all around. Does the air conditioning of the outdoor stadium give any relief to those on the field? They could not have baseball in that park without a/c.

Posted by: flynnie | August 10, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I really miss Tom Paciorek! Sutton's ok, but it's like listening to "The World at War." Tom knew the game, but was fun. Charlie and Dave are a Godsend. Let's storm WTWP for the return of Nats at Night!

Posted by: flynnie | August 10, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

So on the game the other day they showed Hanrahan and Lannan standing next to each other. They have Lannan listed at 6'5" 200 and Hanrahan 6'3" 215. Either Hanrahan is in the 240 range or Lannan is about 165.

Posted by: 215? | August 10, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Manny for Manager of the Year--totally agree. And JennX, that Onion story is so sad, funny, and true...

Posted by: GoNats! | August 10, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice link, JennX. But I thought The Onion was supposed to be about parody?

Posted by: Hendo | August 10, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

it is a satire. The end of baseball didn't really happen.....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, it's one of the best pieces I've read on the event, and one of the first pieces in the Onion I can remember that really makes no attempt to be funny in addition to caustic and snarky.

And they--unlike some other stories about the game--bothered to put our winning score at the end. :)

Posted by: JennX | August 10, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Snarky? Is that a cartoon character?

I will never forgive The Onion for causing the demise of my beloved Weekly World News.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it Patterson who eats the pancakes, a la Jim Palmer? Livo's more of a Twinkie kinda guy, I think.


Does Livo still eat pancakes before each start?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

P-Nats at 7:30
W-Nats at 10:05
Isn't life great!

Posted by: Tom | August 10, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I think it was one of the seven dwarves? Also, Snooty and Shifty?


Snarky? Is that a cartoon character?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

...and Snacky


Isn't it Patterson who eats the pancakes, a la Jim Palmer? Livo's more of a Twinkie kinda guy, I think.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 10, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

JennX, the Onion piece is, I agree, good.

Scary good, in fact. How scary? In the headline, substitute "Desecration" for the Menckenesque "Destruction," and you could just about run it on the front page of the Post.

OK, maybe the Times. But still.

Posted by: Hendo | August 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

So I'm leaving in a bit over an hour to head down to the Pfitz.

I'll be coming down to Memorial Bridge from around Walter Reed. (No Beltway on Friday for this dude.)

But would it then be wiser, on this August Friday afternoon at rush hour, to take 395 or US 1? Discuss.

Posted by: Hendo | August 10, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I'd be inclined to go with US 1. Do you know where you'll be sitting? My husband and I are thinking that we'll head down there this evening. We don't have seats yet but I expect that we'll be in the grandstand seats.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of things running in the Times - has anyone checked out the coverage in Washington's other newspapers?

The Post considers itself a National newspaper and that carries over the their coverage of sports to some extent. I know NYY and NYM fans complain endlessly about the Times sports page, but at least they have the Post and Daily News to do the real local sports reporting.

No disrespect to Barry, but he is only one man. You would think the Times might try to bump up their sports, and especially Nats coverage (and having Bowden right a weekly piece is a start) to expand their reader base, but I guess that's not what the Washington Times was created for...

Anyone else remember the Washington Star, or am I dating myself?

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I like the Onion piece, too, and agree that it could almost run in a conventional paper as-is.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Woops, I just remembered the Bowden piece runs in the Examiner not the Times. All I said about the Times should go double for the Examiner.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a: Probably the first-base (i.e., home dugout) grandstand. I'll wear my "Snell 54" t-shirt.

PS: Yes, I know I was not supposed to use the "T-word" back there. I should have said "one of the OPs."

Embittering Barry is definitely something I want to avoid. Seriously.

Posted by: Hendo | August 10, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

You could say The Onion article is almost solemn.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 10, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hendo: that should narrow it down -- will look for you and try to say "hi" if we don't get there too late. I'm going to wear my navy sleeveless (Washington) Nats shirt with red insets. My husband will probably have a Nats tee, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm out in Arizona right now on R and R. I'm looking forward to watching the game tonight on FoxSports Arizona. I will be in attendance tomorrow night sitting behind the plate. I'll try to root hard as a representation of everyone in NJ.

A few thoughts about previous posts:

1. With the advance scouting and reams of video available to guys these days, I'm not sure any information that Schneider may have about Livo or Livo may have about the Nats' hitters is a lot more than anyone else would have anyway.

2. On the question for the last thread about why JimBo is stepping in to talk to players, I remind everyone that he is Manny's boss. If you look at it as a normal office situation, sometimes workers get "chewed out/motivated" by someone two levels above them. The idea that these guys should not need that because they are "professionals" is a nice thought, but naïve. In any work environment, some people need to be given a kick in the pants. One just needs to minimize the number of people like that that one has in the organization. Manny clearly sets the tone for this group with his positive attitude. It's his team. He's the one in the trenches every day.

3. On the Chico v Livo trade, it was a good one for both teams. The D-Backs needed a veteran to stabilize a young team. The Nats were collecting young pitchers. Chico fits into the John Lannan mold - a back of the rotation starter at best. It's nice that those guys are lefties because they tend to win a bit more, but MC has done nothing this year that indicates he will be anything more than a 150 IP, 13 win pitcher. Those are fine to have, but nothing special.

4. It's interesting to move Nook up to 2nd for a while. I'm just concerned that his little hot streak might make people think he's the long-term answer. Crawford or Rowand please.

5. I haven't heard quite as much talk about Flores replacing Schneider lately. He's up to 110 ABs and is now hitting .230. That's probably about where his BA will finish. Platooning them is still the best idea.

Posted by: #4 | August 10, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, #4, for representing us!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

estuartj, I regularly check out the OPs online, in addition to the Post coverage and the team site. I also check out national sites (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, etc.) but not on a regular basis. I do remember the
Washington St** (or maybe it's okay to say the full name because it's defunct?). As Hendo says, I wouldn't want to embitter Barry. Nuh-uh. No way. Nada. Not in this Nat's fan's army, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Re. the ending of my last posting, it must be Friday. ;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 10, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

About this business of Jimbo's magical foot-to-the-tush -- this reminds me of people I know who play the slot machines. You never heard about the 99 times they walk out of the casino with empty pockets, just the one time they win a few bucks.

Just sayin'... there's a reason why we haven't heard about Jimbo's heart-to-heart with Langerhans.

Posted by: joebleux | August 10, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I agee that Flores needs to get more at bats, I'm not sure if he'll get more or less after call-ups.

I have no problem with Jim Bowden playing bad cop to Manny's good cop. When Manny's carrot doesn't work it's time for Bowden's stick. I'm sure the conversation was very positive, but maybe Logan needed to hear fromthe man who hired him that if his production didn't improve he would be the guy who "fires" him too.

I think Church or Logan will be the 4th outfielder next year. It all depends who they can sign. For instance Crawford is a lefty making Church expendable and Dunn can't play CF making Logan more valuable. On the other side if Rowand is signed they'll want a lefty backup and Church would be a fine defensive corner guy behind Young. If that is indeed their intention. Also a lot depends on if they consider Logan a potential leadoff guyan or if Lopez or Guzman have priority.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Re: The Post's coverage of the Nats--Other than Barry's great writing it blows. But then again their coverage of politics has also slipped a long way down from the heady Woodward-Berstein days.

That's why I get all my news/sports info (including Barry's columns) online these days.

Old Media is dead as a doornail.

Posted by: bdrube | August 10, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Good point about the potential bowden-langerhans (or Fick) conversations, but then again it depends on what jimbow thinks is their problem.

Telling Langerhans "my bad, I thought you were good - boy I hope Stan doesn't do to me what I'm going to do to you on Oct. 1st" might now help the situation. Though it would be funny to hear JimBow express that kind of humility.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Off to the Pfitz. And get 'em tonight at the BOB, guys.

Posted by: Hendo | August 10, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

When you Google "Potomac Nationals", you get the following:

Potomac Nationals: Home
Official site of the Carolina League minor league team for the Cincinnati Reds. Information about stadium, statistics, box scores, front office, boosters, ... - 36k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Though when you click, it is the right page for the P-Nats. P-Nats web people: time to update that embedded page description info!

Posted by: JennX | August 10, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Hendo: you should talk to my dad... he has these secret Montgomery County to Mount Vernon routes that he uses... it is like going into a wormhole at East West Highway, and appearing in Alexandria. My sister lives down there, so they make that trip frequently.

I am looking forward to seeing how this series in Arizona works out. Two hot teams, going head to head. Wish it was in DC.

estuartj: I delivered The Evening Star briefly... I still remember one of the headlines: "Nixon Resigns."

Man, was it hot that day.

Posted by: Wigi | August 10, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tom, I double checked and tonights game is at 9:40pm not 10pm. I'd hate for you to miss the first 2 innings of Chico's No-No tonight.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse


If you guys remember the Evening Star or Washington Star (it was first one and then the other but I can't remember which came first)you probably also remember the Washington Daily News and the Times Herald. I think for quite a while Washington was a four newspaper town. The Times Herald and Washington Post in the morning followed by the Star and the News in the late afternoon and evening. The Post bought the Times Herald and for a time, if my memory is right, its banner read Washington Post and Times Herald. Sorry for the diversion.

Posted by: Natstivity1959 | August 10, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

It is my understanding that Patterson usually eats pancakes for breakfast - I don't know what Hernandez eats, but considering his "svelte" appearence, I don't think Twinkies would be far wrong.

I remember the Washington Star, the Washington Times-Union, and the Washington News.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | August 10, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse


I doubt Flores's ABs will be impacted by Septemeber call-ups. The two catchers at AAA - Harper and Brito - aren't on the 40 man, and neither is having a great year. They aren't propects and are relatively old (29 and 31). Lastly it costs money to bring them up. The Nats also have three cactchers on the roster anyway. My guess would be that Jesus will get increased playing time in the last 6 weeks - maybe a strict platoon + day games after night games for about 2 or 3 starts a week.

Posted by: #4 | August 10, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Playing time and at bats aren't the same thing. No other catchers will be called up, but there won't be many PH chances either.

Posted by: estuartj | August 10, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

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