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Patterson feels strong. Do you?

Greetings, and hope everyone had a good weekend. I was, quite obviously, off from posting on the Journal, and apparently when I'm away, there's no telling where the conversation will turn. Let's try to get back between the ditches here.

Some tidying up before we get to the main course. Hope folks saw the spring training preview which ran on Sunday. Some good info from schedules to tickets to rosters to storylines to an actual story. Hope it helps anyone headed to Viera or watching from afar.

Second: Some interest in this spring training preview by the New York Post's Joel Sherman, one of the most aggressive and authoritative baseball voices around. I e-mailed with Joel last week, and we were discussing the Nick Johnson/Dmitri Young situation with the Nationals (our top storyline in our spring training preview). His theory -- and, as he said to me, it's his theory alone at this point -- is that the Yankees would look at Johnson if/when their own muddled first base situation proves unwieldy. Lots of things have to happen for that to take place, the first being Johnson must prove he's healthy enough to do it. But he'd certainly fit into that lineup up there - taking pitches, drawing walks - and he knows what it means to play in New York.

That said, this is just, at this point, writers figuring out what might make sense, solutions to problems that lie ahead for two franchises. I will say this, though: Joel approached me last year during the postseason - I can't remember where we were - and said, "Do you think it makes any sense that the Mets would make a run at Brian Schneider?" He was prescient on that one.

Also: Yes, those single-game ticket announcement should come today or tomorrow, I'm told. There was a delay last week as they worked out some details on final pricing, etc.

And finally: I set off a bit of a firestorm when I said Livan Hernandez isn't quite the innings eater he once was. That's not to say he doesn't eat a lot more innings than anyone currently on the Nationals' staff. My point was: He pitches roughly an inning or so less per start then he once did (like back in 2005), and the quality of those innings have generally declined. That's not to say he's horrible. It's just pointing something out.

Anyway, onto the meat. In reporting the story that ran with the preview section, I talked to a few pitchers who are contenders for - read: likely to be in - the rotation. But as that was a story about how the list of candidates has been whittled from last year, I didn't get to draw out the interviews I had with some of these guys. So let's do them one-by-one over the next few days, starting with John Patterson.

Here are Patterson's career stats, including the minors. And we know, because of the nerve problems in his right arm, that he has made only 15 starts in the past two seasons after that solid 2005 in which he was, at time, electrifying.

Patterson can be an easy guy to read. You can tell when he's frustrated. You can tell when he's concerned about his health. And you can tell when he's fired-up. And I can tell you: When I talked to him last week on the phone, he sounded fired-up.

"I feel good," he said. "I really do. Besides the first week of throwing, my elbow has felt normal. I kind of felt like me again. I had to get my shoulder back into shape. Once I started throwing off the mound, I had to really get some soreness out of my body as far as my back and hips. I had to get all that back in shape. But man, I'm excited. I feel good."

I asked him when the last time he was able to say he felt like himself. He thought about it, and said that actually, last spring training before the nerve acted up again, "I didn't feel bad by any means. But as far as my mechanics and my arm strength and just my overall confidence, I would say it was '05. I really feel strong. Overall, my body and my arm and my mind and everything just feels strong. I feel focused and I feel as strong as I've felt."

Since he kept using the word "strong", I asked him about his workout regimen. He had changed his focus a little bit this year, doing plyometrics to strengthen his core and add flexibility. He keeps all his workouts in a notebook, and by going back and comparing, he said he's "quite possibly as strong as I've been in probably four or five years."

"I don't weigh as much," he said. "I've focused on my running, focused on strength and flexibility. My wife and I are doing pilates, and I stretch three of four times a day. Those things should all help me.

"The last couple of years, I'd try to add weight. I'm a thin guy, and I thought, 'Well, if I can get a little bit more weight, then I'll be more durable. That hasn't shown up very well. So my focus has just been on being lean with better flexibility and strength, and I've accomplished that. I'm excited, and I'm ready to go down there and really kind of get to work.

"I really haven't been able to work much the last couple years. Now, I'm able to work and really focus on pitching."

With all that in mind, I asked him whether he could set the goals he has set in the past, but never attained as a major leaguer: 30 starts, 200 innings. "I've prepared myself this offseason that way, absolutely." To do that, he'll likely have to have his velocity back. Remember last year, when every one of Patterson's starts was an evaluation of whether he had his stuff back? Patterson believes that won't be an issue this year. In throwing 100 pitches last week, he said his velocity is there.

"I haven't put a radar gun on it, so I can't tell you an exact number," he said. "I think I'll probably juts wait and let everybody see in spring training."

This, then, was a confident 30-year-old pitcher who believes he's about to find his old form. "I'm having fun playing baseball now, and I haven't had fun the last couple years," he said.

So there you go. The question, then, becomes: What do you believe the Nationals get from John Patterson this year in terms of number of starts, innings pitched and ERA?

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 11, 2008; 11:51 AM ET
 
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Comments

Hope for the best; but expect the worse considering Patterson's track record. That's why they should sign Livo.

Posted by: swanni | February 11, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"What do you believe the Nationals get from John Patterson this year in terms of number of starts, innings pitched and ERA?"
It's a bit early to ask that question, we'll have a much better idea in a few weeks after a couple of spring training starts.

A better question for today is what's up with the delay in the announcement about opening day ticket distribution. This was supposed to be released last week, I thought Stan had a plan.

Posted by: PowerBoater | February 11, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Going way out on a limb here,33 starts, 210 IP, 3.75 ERA. And a bonus prediction, 14 wins.

That would get him a sweet one year deal for his last year of arbitration. Or if his agent is smart, he'd go for a modest long-term deal after a good year in '08. Otherwise, he has to risk '09 health and performance and then be 32 when he tries to get a free agent deal after '09. He might have to live w/ a series of 1 and 2 year deals the rest of his career.

Posted by: Avar | February 11, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

33 starts, 210 IP, 3.75 ERA. And a bonus prediction, 14 wins.

Posted by: JP's mom | February 11, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

33 starts, 210 IP, 3.25 ERA. And a bonus prediction, 18 wins.

Posted by: fmr Ms DC | February 11, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Patterson's injury seemed to be a quick diagnosis, followed by indecision regarding which treatment to follow. This delayed his actual healing time. I believed that he needed to get surgery long before he finally did so. So, the last two years have not been so much that of him being injured from various different ailments, but from one ailment that nobody could agree how to treat.
Now he says he is healthy. I say to give him the benefit of the doubt. If something different comes up, I would see that as a sign that he may be the Kerry Wood of the Nationals, signifying a need to cut ties.
As to the question: I would see 20 starts, with 15 of them quality (7 plus innings) and minimal time on the disabled list (lets be real, stuff may happen, so to expect NO DL time would be unrealistic) for this year as a sign of positive progress

Posted by: TimDz | February 11, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

12 Starts, 92 innings, 4.90 ERA

Most telling quote Barry is the one on Radar Gun......That is either bull or just one more reason not to put all the eggs in the JP basket. Why not get independent conformation on velocity from his catcher? That story needed at least some kind of quote about his stuff from someone other than JP. Pitchers really have little idea of the last 10 feet before the bat hits the ball. That is what Catchers know and hitters know....and who I would trust more than JP.

Posted by: JayB | February 11, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Love the guy, but he'll be lucky to get 10 starts and 60 innings.

Posted by: .390 | February 11, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

How's the saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me."

I really, truly hope that JP's mom and/or the fmr miss DC's predictions come true, but under no circumstances would I be so foolish as to think that's what "the Nationals get from John Patterson this year."

If I had to guess, I'd say 17-19 starts, 90-100 innings, and I'd put the over/under on DL stints at 2.

Posted by: Matt | February 11, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps 1.5 would be a more appropriate over/under.

Posted by: Matt | February 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to get attached to Patterson's story until I see him pitch his 10th start uninterrupted by the DL. This should be his last spring training with the Nats if he doesn't show he can win the marathon.

Without a pitch being thrown, Chico deserves the opening day nod based soley on durability in '07. Hill would be my second choice. It's a competition in Vierra, but durability counts - a lot.

Posted by: Not Opening Day Please | February 11, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

First, picking up on this question about Livo's projection from the last post:

"From Hardball Times:

10-10, 184 IP, ERA 4.96, WHIP 1.53

A lot worse than Bill James's. What's BP's PECOTA projection?"

The Hardball Times uses the "Marcels" projection, which is described as follows:

"The Marcels are a simple way of calculating a player forecast. Named after the monkey from Friends (so simple a monkey could do them), they simply consist of averaging a player's previous experience (with greatest weight on the most recent years) and regressing to the major league average depending on the number of years the player has been in the majors. This is done for each component (home runs, doubles, walks, etc.) A simple aging factor is applied, but no park factor."

As Barry noted above, Livo's numbers have declined over the past three years. Therefore, his Marcel's projections will predict a further incremental decline for this year.

Anyway, as for PECOTA projections, Livo-supporters won't get any help from these:

8-9, 146 IP, 5.21 ERA, 1.50 WHIP.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

21 starts, 9 wins, 3.18 ERA

Posted by: Patrick | February 11, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me that bloggers with no actual basis for their statement predict with absolute certainty what will happen.

On something else, somewhat off topic, reading about JP and his body type and attempt to add weight (just a second, I have some I'll give him). This seems to me to be the classic situation where a player would want to use steroids to bulk up, maybe add 2 - 3 mph on a fastball and get 40 or 50 extra innings.

Someone should do one of those computer simulations to see what would likely happen to JP's body after about 6 months of steroids.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 11, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, the PECOTA projection I posted for Livo above was actually the 2007 projection (meaning, the projection for 2008, but made a year ago, prior to the 2007 season). They haven't updated the individual player cards on the website yet. However, they did post a spreadsheet with the 2008 numbers, which are actually worse:

7-10, 134 IP, 1.56 WHIP, 5.57 ERA

Now that would be truly scary.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

i'm saying here he's the opening day starter.

but agree that the training staff and he himself will have to be more cautious going forward. no reason to fight through the pain. he can take a month or so off this year. i don't want to make that decision based upon his stats. i'd rather he go 7 good innings and take two weeks off than be terrible for 5 starts before deciding to wonder what happened.

i predict 9 wins/140 innings/ 115ks/ 3.85 era/ and more than a few dominant outings.

Posted by: longterm | February 11, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

One more thing and then I'll get off the Livo topic.

In the last post Barry said Livo wasn't the innings eater he once was, prompting some criticism from NJ.

I said the following:

"What Barry should have said (and perhaps meant to convey) was that Livo is not quite the EFFECTIVE innings-eater he was in the past.

Look at this:

2003: 233 innings, 3.20 ERA
2004: 255 innings, 3.60 ERA
2005: 246 innings, 3.98 ERA

And then this:

2006: 216 innings, 4.83 ERA
2007: 204 innings, 4.98 ERA

There's a good point here, even if it wasn't expressed perfectly: Livo's performance might be dropping off a cliff, to the point where we're better off using 2008 to figure out whether Chico, Lannan, Clippard and/or Balester are part of a contender in 2010 than we are overpaying Livo for below-average pitching, regardless of how many innings (and other things) he eats."

And then I said:

"A shorthand way of looking at the numbers in my longer post above would be to say that Livo model 2006-7 is averaging about an inning less per start while adding a full run to his ERA."

So then Barry says, above:

"And finally: I set off a bit of a firestorm when I said Livan Hernandez isn't quite the innings eater he once was. That's not to say he doesn't eat a lot more innings than anyone currently on the Nationals' staff. My point was: He pitches roughly an inning or so less per start then he once did (like back in 2005), and the quality of those innings have generally declined. That's not to say he's horrible. It's just pointing something out."

Don't I get a cite or something?

(OK, I may not be right very often, but when I am, I guess I'm going to crow about it. I'm done now.)


Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm with those who hope for the best but expect the worst, my guess:

11 starts, 61 ip, 4.91 ERA, something like a 2-5 record...

These are all wild guesses but if they happened i wouldn't be surprised, disappointed, or overjoyed. Any movement in any direction for any of these stats would move me closer to one of those feelings.


As for Chico being the opening day starer... if we really believe that Hill or Patterson is effective when healthy why give them a couple extra days to stub a toe, twist an ankle, or break a leg?

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

well all we have to go on are the quotes and the history. But I'm an optimist and i say 30 starts, 3.60, and 14 curly W's.
Once last year, when he was signing autographs, my son asked him when he was coming back and he really sounded like he was just as frustrated by all the setbacks as his naysayers are. So based on that, i give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: pk | February 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me that bloggers with no actual basis for their statement predict with absolute certainty what will happen.

Really? What are we journalists now? What are supposed to do but predict w/ no basis, we're fans! Plus, who said anything about absolute confidence?

Dude, lighten up, I won't speak for anyone else but I'm just a nerdy fan waiting for the season to start.

Predicting what will happen w/ no basis is about all we have to do until the games start.

Posted by: Avar | February 11, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50, nothing like issuing the following statement:

"It never ceases to amaze me that bloggers with no actual basis for their statement predict with absolute certainty what will happen."

And following it up in the same post with rampant speculation of your own about JP's steriod use!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

ditto to Avar

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

No, Matt. It goes like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKgPY1adc0A
__________

How's the saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me."


Posted by: Matt | February 11, 2008 12:35 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | February 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50 is in a rare slump today!

Posted by: longterm | February 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

No to Livo. If you sign him you have to pitch him. If the young guys surprise you in spring training, you still have to go with Livo. There's no flexibility there unlike all the other candidates. His upside both short and long term just aren't worth it. Plus I buy the rumors about him in the clubhouse.

As far as JP goes he's either going to be healthy or he isn't. I wouldn't think that it will be a middling, 100 inning situation. He'll either be below 50 or above 160. If he's healthy I could maybe see some late season arm fatigue a la Chico last year. Spring training is all about optimism. I'll go: 25 starts, 165 innings, 150 K's, 1.25 WHIP, 13-9.

Posted by: #4 | February 11, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, JP's PECOTA projections:

4-5 (in 11 starts and 21 appearances), 72.3 IPs, 1.44 WHIP, 4.79 ERA.

Those numbers strike me as interesting because they're sort of down the middle. My sense is that JP might be on one extreme or the other: If he's hurt his numbers might be more like 1-3 in 5 starts, 27 IP, 5.17 ERA. If he's not (but perhaps requires some time to get going), they might be more like 10-8 in 28 starts, 178 IP, 4.15 ERA. Here's hoping for the latter.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmn ... #4, I think we just said the same thing. You beat me by a nose.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

There we go #4, optimism! I mean it's four days before pitchers and catchers report and it's 26 degrees outside. Let's dream a little, right? There's plenty of time to be crushed by their performance in April and May.

Posted by: Avar | February 11, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

It's cold, pitchers and catchers report this week - if you can't hope now, when can you? 26 starts, 175IP, 4.20 ERA, 12 wins, one short stint on the DL, and a rollicking "keep him or trade him" debate next offseason. I want to say 30+, 200+, but I can't...let's see how he looks after a few weeks.

Posted by: Ryan Dylan (and his leopard skin, pillbox, Curly W hat) | February 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Adding Livo is absolutely pointless and would set the organization back by getting in the way of the developement of at least a half-dozen young pitchers who we will need in two years to contribute. I think we can all agree that Livo is getting worse so whatever he's done in the past, he won't do again.

That said, I also think Chico should earn his way on the big club in spring training. He gave up way too many homers last year, and the new park certainly won't help him, despite his durability. Last year we couldn't do any better than him, but this year, that's might not be the case.

I'm all for putting him in the top five going into camp, but if Mock or Balester or Redding are better, then so be it.

All in all, it's a much better situation across the board this year than last and I'm anxious to get down there and see these guys for myself.

As for Patterson: 28 starts, 3.75 era, 185 inn, 14-7 record.

Posted by: 307 | February 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

We still talking about Livo???

I've been pretty vocal about my extreme distrust of anything JP says about how great he feels, but this expanded story gives me a little more hope.

Good on you JP. We'll have a good idea in a week what you got. I will happily gobble down the crow if you mitigate my doubts.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Great minds think alike, Bob L. Head :)

Posted by: #4 | February 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Bob L, and#4 on the "takes a while to get going" - wouldn't surprise me to see a certain number of clunkers thrown in there even if he's healthy. Just so I don't have to watch the radar gun for the first inning going "come on, please reach 90, come on..."

Posted by: Ryan Dylan (talking dead-arm blues) | February 11, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

... all concern voiced above is reasonable and well taken. I think we all agree it's just not credible enough to take JP's word for how he's doing, all his 'fired-up-ness' notwithstanding.

... but that's why God invented Spring Training. I fully expect Manny and Randy, with JimBow standing behind the chicken wire watching intently, to get to the right answer about Johnnie Pat by the end of March.

... so while I join in lustily with others in prognosticating about what the future will hold, I willingly yield the floor to the guys who will have to live or die with the result - the Viera Space Coast triumvirate.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 11, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Bill Ladson's latest story had this little tidbit:

"The Nationals need a leadoff hitter and, privately, the team hopes that Lopez is that guy. He may find himself battling Cristian Guzman for the shortstop spot."

The latter part is obviously not news, but I do wonder what someone may have said to him "privately" on this subject.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

About JP...his health is a question and we DO know that he is a slow healer. So my prediction is EITHER

1. Less than 100 innings, less than 15 starts, less than 10 wins, worse than 3.8 ERA.

OR

2. Better than 180 innings, better than 30 starts, better than 15 wins, better than 3.5 ERA.

Posted by: Gusto | February 11, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Somebody posted this over the weekend (thanks) but in case anyone missed it, it's worth checking out SBF's park pictures here (three separate entries):

http://nats320.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have very little reason to believe this team will be healthy. It hasn't been for the last five or six years. That being said, there is certainly reason for optimism this year. The Nats played 500 ball from the middle of May on, despite many injuries and under achievement. There could be a reasonable argument that this years team is better at every starting position (catcher?). I'm including starting pitching.
Hear it here first. If (a mighty big if) the Nats have good health, they will challenge for a wild card spot.
Excellent bench, very good bullpen, potencially, with Patterson, Hill, and Bergman their former selves, a very solid rotation, and I believe the outfield will be very good.
Check Arizonia's team of last year. I like ours better. Other than Webb, what starting pitcher had an ERA under 425. Who, other than Byrnes had any stats of significance. Even Young, who everyone raved about had a OBA under three and a batting average under 240. This was a team that was 76-86 the year before as well.
The Nats of last year, by some, were considered favorites to have one of the alltime worst records. I remember thinking at the time that that was ridiculous and it was despite a lot of things going wrong.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

For what it is worth, A season ticket holders Rep said, this morning, to me that about "the last week in February" partial planners would receive an e-mail with a temp. password and link. Said link and password would get holders to ticketland to buy what they would buy.

Posted by: A Hardwick | February 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

As for Ladson, in my opinion he's only useful because he's another place to read about the nats during work or class. I'll give him credit for scooping Barry on the Estrada signing but barry's got like 4 jobs at this point so i'll let that one slide. Lets just say that this winter was far more bearable with NJ to read and not just nationals.com mailbags.


p.s. anyone interested there's a little bit from barry on www.mlbtraderumors.com, its basically just what we've been hearing all offseason but at least the nats are getting some love from a neutral source.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Re JP: Starts, 16; innings, 100; ERA, 4.63; appearances in relief, at least 1, not that anyone asked.

I don't expect him to blow up, but I'm guessing that he'll be used *very* conservatively, skipping starts if tweaks manifest themselves.

Half a Patty is better than none, which is what I fear we'd end up with if we tried to run him out there for 200+ innings.

Posted by: Hendo | February 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if there's been any talk of moving JP, Hill, or Bergmann to the bullpen fulltime. If we do trade some of that bullpen talent these guys could fill holes and the move from SP to RP worked wonders for Rauch. Just a thought.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Classic.

I never speculated about any possible steroid use by JP. If you actually read what I said, it was simply a question about what steroids would do to (for?) his body. If anything it was a comment about the obsession that many in the baseball community have about speed gun readouts.

Of course, there is a difference between speculation / wondering and "predictions". One could actually wonder what would happen if a pitcher for the Washington Nationals had a reputed 112 MPH fastball and then began to take steroids.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

One COULD argue that these numbers show Livo is more effective when he pitches >~ 230 innings.

*I* wouldn't, but when we pull numbers out of our ..., er, when we try to predict an essentially chaotic series, there's a big margin of error.

*****
Look at this:
2003: 233 innings, 3.20 ERA
2004: 255 innings, 3.60 ERA
2005: 246 innings, 3.98 ERA

And then this:
2006: 216 innings, 4.83 ERA
2007: 204 innings, 4.98 ERA

There's a good point here, even if it wasn't expressed perfectly: Livo's performance might be dropping off a cliff ... "
Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 01:05 PM

Posted by: CE | February 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

JP, Hill, and Bergman don't have reliever type stuff. JP definitely does not have a closer mentality. I would not be in favor of moving any of those guys unless it's a last resort to get something out of them. JP and Hill have shown the ability to be a #1 or #2 starter. Those don't grow on trees. Set up guys and closers can be found.

Posted by: #4 | February 11, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I would also wonder where Livo gave up all of those runs. From watching him in the past he tends to struggle through the first inning or two and then settle down through 7 or 8. If he gives up runs towards the beginning of games but is just getting pulled an inning earlier by a pitching coach who likes to follow pitch counts then it would explain the jump in ERA simply with the jump in innings pitched (he actually gave up the same number of runs in 2005 as in 2007).

Granted this is all just based on speculation from a general observation made from watching the guy pitch for a couple of years. I'd be fine with it either way but i'd guess that people will get plenty of opportunities to play as at least 5 possible rotation contenders have struggled with majory injury issues through their careers.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

You need to look at the park when you look at Livan's ERA.

AZ has one of the best hitter's parks in the league. RFK is one of the worst.

Had Livan pitched at RFK, he'd have put up numbers like Chico's. Had Chico pitched in Arizona, his would've looked like Livan's.

Posted by: Chris | February 11, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

#4 I agree that #1 and #2 pitchers dont grow on trees (although i'm not sure any of those guys is really a #1 on a good pitching staff) but my point is that they dont seem to be making it as starters. Bergmann has pitched out of the pen before (not terribly well) and if Patterson is "healthy" he has shown velocity and strikeout rates to make a solid set up man. I agree probably not a closer, but i think a set up man is more valuable then a slot on the 15 day dl.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As always, Hendo w/ a good point re: not wearing out JP.

Great post by Jeeves. I thought the same re: DBack comparison but didn't have the guts to post it. I agree w/ your assessment of the Nats this year w/ one exception, I think the outfield COULD be good but could be below average too, very unknown quantities there. Also SS is huge question mark. Who knows what Guzie will do?

Posted by: Avar | February 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Not only don't true #1s grow on trees, they are much rarer than a lot of people believe (including many who write sports for a living). My belief is that there are, realistically, no more than 12 - 18 true #1s in the majors in any given year.

From what I've read it appears that the Nats have drafted and/or acquired a number of true middle of the rotation (2 - 4) guys. McCreary (sp?) looks, just from the way the Nats were willing to "overpay" and are willing to work with him long term, like he may be that unique individual.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 11, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

McGeary.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The thing I find most exhausting about the JP debate is that his detractors (who are both entitled to their opinion, and in many cases, justified in their beliefs) often treat his injuries as if it were a character flaw rather than a physical condition. As for what he says, I would take him at his word that 1) his assessment of how he feels is mostly accurate and 2) he wants to be successful... perhaps even dominating. If we give him the benefit of the doubt that he's done all he can do to prepare, what more could you want?

That said... there are certainly reasons why he might hide some weakness in his condition... but he doesn't owe anybody but the team an accurate assessment of that... at least at this point. So, yes, take at least some of it with a grain of salt.

We saw in 2005 what Patterson could do... and he hopes to be at least that good, and has apparently prepared for that.

Baseball in February is about hope... and this is the week we've been waiting for since October. The "Glass Half Full Department" is very busy... as it should be.

Posted by: Wigi | February 11, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

>> It never ceases to amaze me that bloggers with no actual basis for their statement predict with absolute certainty what will happen. > It never ceases to amaze me that bloggers with no actual basis for their statement predict with absolute certainty what will happen. <<

Howzzat?

alan

Posted by: amb141 | February 11, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ignore previous. It made sense once.

Posted by: amb141 | February 11, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Different topic:
If the Nats trade Nick Johnson to the Yankees and depend on Dmitri Young for first base, they are out of their minds. Young has less power, way worse OBP, less speed, worse defensively and is worse in the clutch.

Posted by: Ray | February 11, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you make a good point about a ballpark's effect on pitching numbers. However, in this case, Livo's numbers at home (7-3, 4.68 ERA) were significantly better than his numbers on the road (4-8, 5.19).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" comment applies so much here. I so want to believe in JP, but nothing says he isn't an injury-prone kid, like many other arms out there.

That being said, I'm getting over my "sign Livo" rants. The closer we get to Spring Training, the more intrigued I am about the plethora of kids we've got.

That being said, JP and Hill going down with injuries means that Livo will get that multi-year contract.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

My answer is given in the full spirit of pitchers and catchers reporting in 4 days. Whateveryone has failed to mention so far are JP's two one-hitters and his no-hitter (who knew at the time that the Ryan Church's 3rd inning walk erased on Brian's double play would be all the offense the Mets would get that day). 33 starts, 6 complete games (including the above mentioned 3), 19 wins, 272 SO's and a 3.06 ERA. The best news is JP is our #2 pitcher in the CY voting. :)

Posted by: Section 311 | February 11, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, I don't see JP's detractors blaming him for injuries at all. It was how he talked about it. Kept saying he was fine, felt good, best he's felt in a long time, etc. Then suddenly, after the fact, when talking about the exact same period of time in hindsight, it was the worst pain he had ever felt. I know you can't blame a guy for wanting to push through, but he just never sounded honest about any of it.

Plus, you gotta admit the magical surgery tour was a little odd.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 11, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Head -- Soriano showed us the folly of using 1-year split park factors. There's just not enough of a sample size to get a true reading. Who's to say that his home ERA wouldn't have been that at RFK? They likely would've as well.

Posted by: Chris | February 11, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree Dmitri offers less offensively and defensively than Nick...but that was before Nick was injured. It will be interesting to see if Nick can regain his old offensive form.

I'd also guess many baseball executives believe Johnson is a better overall player and would offer more in trade as a result.

As neither Nick or Dmitri appear to be our long term 1B solution (Cookie Marrero is the Nats top prospect), the team may be willing to sacrifice production at 1B in 2008 & 2009 in return for better trade propsects.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 11, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I so much want to believe in JP it hurts. He's going to have to show something this March to revive the 05 talent re-incarnation. I'll not rule out the possibility of his return to form. One of his statements in Barrys post is somewhat bothersome. The part where he says "go down there and kind of get to work". The kind of quote confuses me. He should not only want to get to work, but he should want to not kind of, but with determination, get to work and rebound in 08 to show us he has still got it. The Nats have shown that they're still in the tank for this guy and are giving him more leeway than most would get. That's the kind of talent he has (had), who knows, the kind worth putting it on the line for. March will hopefully answer all the doubts in a positive way, we'll see.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I predict 9-7 4.39era 26 starts not bad chico like

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 11, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

11-7 3.99 era 29 starts

Posted by: Bob L. Head (impertionater) | February 11, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Whateveryone has failed to mention so far are JP's two one-hitters and his no-hitter (who knew at the time that the Ryan Church's 3rd inning walk erased on Brian's double play would be all the offense the Mets would get that day)."

Patterson pitched a no-hitter? A complete game 9-inning no-hitter? When was that? Must have been before the team came to DC, because he didn't do it here. Ramon Ortiz took one into the ninth on Labor Day 2006, but that's really the closest any Nationals pitcher has come to a no-no in my memory. You do know it's not a "no-hitter" unless it's a complete game, right? Otherwise, we'd be talking about "so-and-so's three-inning no-hitter" last night, and no one ever does that...

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 11, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Reference Joel Sherman rumoer about Johnson going to the Yanks.

I'd hate to see him go, but it does make a lot of sense. We trade Johnson for a few prospects let Young play the rest of the year and then hopefully we have Marreo for 2009 ready to step in at 1b.

Posted by: Sect 315 | February 11, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Could we maybe let Marrero hit at AA first before we pencil him into the '09 lineup.

He's good, but let's not go crazy yet.

Posted by: Chris | February 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Patterson has thrown 2 complete games, both in '05. A 3 hitter in SD 9/16/05 and a 4 hitter vs the Dodgers at RFK on 8/4/05.

Posted by: Avar | February 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

419+1, while that wasn't my sentence you quoted, I believe that was part of the prediction.

Rationale: If the scenario references Schneider and Church as hitting for the Mets, then the dream sequence must be future-looking.

Don't worry about combing through Nationals stats about a no-hitter that has not yet happened. We'll see if it even happens this time around. At this point, I'd peg Hill as more likely to pull it off than Patterson anyway.

Posted by: faNATic | February 11, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, re-read my first sentence and realized it wasn't quite clear. 419+1, I think the part of the quote that you included was part of 311's prediction for this year. Whether it was a well-founded one or not is to be determined.

Posted by: faNATic | February 11, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

I don't necessarily begrudge JP some hyperbole about his condition, at least as it relates to what he says to the press. It is also possible (and Barry alluded to this) that at the start of last season, he did feel fine... We don't know what he told the team, but he has every obligation to be transparent with them. Of course, we would like him to be honest about his condition with the press, but it could be that his actual physical condition is something he wants to keep private, or that having public information about his condition might affect his earning potential down the road, etc... Anyway... I wouldn't expect complete candor with the press from an athlete when discussing an injury...

I agree that the "Magical Surgery Tour" was interesting... but one possible interpretation of it might be that he was frustrated with the more conventional therapies, and wanted something different, and was willing to take the time and trouble to explore them... which goes back to my point... that I think that his motives are mostly good.

Anyway, NatsNut... not all... but some.

(by the way, enjoying the weather?? we made it special, for you... and shipped it as soon as it was ready!)

Posted by: Wigi | February 11, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Patterson's injury seemed to be a quick diagnosis, followed by indecision regarding which treatment to follow."

You are mistaken on this, as Pattersons injury was misdiagnosed as scar tissue - all the doctors seemed to agree that he needed surgery for scar tissue, but it turned out to be a different problem altogether. Dr. David Ruch - who did the surgery at the Duke Medicak Center - suspected another problem when he heard that Patterson's arm hurt even when he yawned or took a deep breath. However, apparently he was not certain what he would find until he went into the arm and discovered 8 very large blood vessels wrapped around the radial nerve. He tied them off using just 2 very small incisions, so the actual healing should have been rapid. Considering what he has been through the past 2 years, it may take him longer to heal mentally than physically. I think he can do it though, as I know that he has great determination. I will predict 30 starts, close to 200 innings, an ERA of 3 or under, but only 15 wins unless the Nats get a lot more runs than they have in the past.
I would like to write more, but I am an election judge and have a meeting to go to very soon and then choral practice. It will be Wednesday before I get back to the Journal.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | February 11, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"it may take him longer to heal mentally"

You don't say?

Posted by: Chris | February 11, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Great Spring Training Preview, Barry. May that photo of Meat Hook at RFK be the last of ANY player at RFK ever to grace the pages of The Washington Post. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | February 11, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, I'm stamping your weather "Return to Sender" and shipping it back to Alaska where it belongs. Thanks anyway.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 11, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

You obviously didn't read the return policy...

Think of it as one of those direct mail coupon envelopes.

Posted by: Wigi | February 11, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ha, I had forgotten about that title! Man, I'm going to miss Barry.

I was trying to come up with lyrics, but I couldn't find anything that rhymes with "hyperbaric chamber."

-----

I agree that the "Magical Surgery Tour" was interesting...

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 11, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to write more, but I am an election judge and have a meeting to go to very soon and then choral practice. It will be Wednesday before I get back to the Journal."

Okay, but do you have an excuse note for your absence from your favorite pitcher or your favorite pitcher's doctor? Because if not we'll have to dock you a few points.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 11, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

unless Chico screws up royally in ST, I think he's more than locked up a spot as a starter this season. Take away one or two bad starts (and most of his truly bad starts were at the beginning of the season) and he has a pretty darn good season, especially for someone who hadn't pitched above AA until this season. I'd rather have Chico in there than Lannan (as well as Redding over Lannan).

As for leadoff ... if close to 100% healthy, what would be the pros/cons of having Nick leadoff? One pro ... he has a great eye and will take lots of pitches/walks (what most good leadoff hitters should do!). One con ... no speed whatsoever on the base paths. Thoughts?

Posted by: e | February 11, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

The more you ignore the obvious the more people want to know....is the Post going to have any columnist writing about the Nats. Now would seem like a good time would you say?

New Ball Park, Lots of new players, rigid dogma and adherence to a building plan at the expense of winning now. Public funded park mixed with redevelopment of the neglected neighborhood. Yet Nothing to have opinions on at all?

Posted by: JayB | February 11, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

All-

barry answered some questions on mlbtraderumors.com, having been named "rumor Royalty" for the Nats:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

It's only 4 questions, but it also directs people to Nationals Journal

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

or, more realistically (and i know you repudiated the comment), the numbers show that livo is allowed to pitch more innings when he's effective. ;)

===

Posted by: CE | February 11, 2008 01:59 PM

One COULD argue that these numbers show Livo is more effective when he pitches >~ 230 innings.

*I* wouldn't, but when we pull numbers out of our ..., er, when we try to predict an essentially chaotic series, there's a big margin of error.

Posted by: 231 | February 11, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Chill.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

JayB-

You clearly care about the team and write a coherent argument. Could you please ease off the Boswell subject for a bit and join the baseball discussion? This is not a sarcastic request, just a request to focus a little more on the team.

I think the Ombudsman might have more pull in the case over coverage of the team, and I would be glad to join you in writing her.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Nick at the top of the order? What we never found out from Barry, is any details on his progress. What is his time down the line to first compared his 2006 speed. It is great that he is working out but what progress does that translate into. Much like Patterson, practicing by yourself and not taking any measurements means nothing or worse.....they are afraid to find out just how far they are down from the peak.

In both cases, this is the big red flag that Barry and the Nats seem to just gloss over. Taking the word of players working out on your own with a personal trainer shows very little evidence to build your team on. Waiting until the first day of spring training to find out Nick can not run near fast enough to play or that JP can not hit 85 MPH or even the latest note that Hill is not cleared to swing a bat.....not good planning and just bad news coming too late to enact backup plans in my opinion.

Posted by: JayB | February 11, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"It's only 4 questions, but it also directs people to Nationals Journal"

Did he warn them that when they get here, they'd better not ask for anything more, or they'd get ostracized for "beating a dead horse"? Take what little we give you, and be happy with it! (The motto of Nationals Journal.) And whatever you do, don't ask where Boswell is, okay? They're touchy about that. But before you leave in search of some hard news or analysis somewhere else, be sure to make a meaningless prediction of what the Nationals' rotation will be on days 1, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, 135, 150 and 162 of the season. Barry needs to know that before he heads over to Redskins Park. He needs to find out if Jim Zorn agrees with you.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 11, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

If we trade a first baseman DY makes SO much more sense. He has MUCH more value to an AL team.

Posted by: Gusto | February 11, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"Chill."

Yeah, it is pretty damn cold out there today, isn't it?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 11, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

JayB-

All things to worry about, and I haven't seen anyone else write about those situations yet. Perhaps when all are at Spring training it will be covered.

419+1-

That was a good piece of sarcasm, and I admit I chuckled. My request for baseball discussion was not a request for no conflict or disagreement. If we want to be a real, live blog community, the blood does need to boil sometimes. I just think we are suffering from the end of a long, baseball-less winter with not enough news. But we are just 4 days away.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Gusto-

I am trying to think about who would have more value. If you mean that he would be a better DH, I guess that may be true, if he hits for the same average again. Thing is, Nick (when healthy, insert snarky comment at will) should have a high average and much better on-base percentage. And even if the AL, someone who can spell the first baseman seems more useful.

Don't get me wrong. I would rather keep Nick, and hope that Elijah Dukes doesn't unravel as a result. Still, i find it hard to imagine Dmitri has more value, since we apparently couldn't get value for him at the end of last July.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Steve Trachsel went to the O's. This is good because he stinks. This serves double duty- makes the O's worse, and fails to hurt the Nats.

My wife went to Mass today, and for us Catholics it was the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, apparently. Non- or anti-Catholics please hold your antipathy momentarily. I just think that might be appropriate for the day that we talk about John Patterson. Poor kid needs all the help he can get, maybe even a miracle. I would love to see it.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Sigh.

I just read what I wrote again, and it was meant to be more whimsical than anything else. I see that it could be read otherwise. I wasn't looking for any conflict there at all- I am so used to folks joking about such things that I didn't recognize the potential abrasiveness.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (4 more days) | February 11, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

If praying helps JP turn into 2005 JP, I may become religous


The Post's Ombudsman, Deborah Howell, is the readers' representative within the newspaper. E-mail her at ombudsman@washpost.com or call 202-334-7582...this from the WP website

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 11, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Yanno, now VT Fan got me to thinking:
If BoMel did go the pen earlier last year than Frank typically did, that might explain it ...

NO NO NO let's not start THAT again!
************
or, more realistically (and i know you repudiated the comment), the numbers show that livo is allowed to pitch more innings when he's effective. ;)
===

Posted by: CE | February 11, 2008 01:59 PM
One COULD argue that these numbers show Livo is more effective when he pitches >~ 230 innings.

*I* wouldn't, but when we pull numbers out of our ..., er, when we try to predict an essentially chaotic series, there's a big margin of error.
Posted by: 231 | February 11, 2008 05:25 PM

Posted by: CE | February 11, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

It's Feb., I'm freezing here. I want to be out working on my curveball. I'm going to take this whole thing with a grain, shoot, a whole bag of sea salt and vinegar kettle chips, and a Smithwick's. Or two.

I just ain't got the heart to start in on Lashes. I hope he starts 40 games. I hope he wins all of them. Screw reality -- it'll certainly screw us. Until then, then.

Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch onto the affirmative.

Posted by: CE -- Mr. In-Between | February 11, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

That said, Barry's colleague Sherman has me wondering, just *how much* of Coco Crisp's contract *would* Boston be willing to eat, and do you think he could hit enough to make it work, considering the Nats are in the National League?

Posted by: Mr. In Between | February 11, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow or soon Barry will profile Shawn Hill. My guess is we will go through the same starts / IP/ ERA speculation. 200 - 250 innings between them is reasonable. That's the innings if one is healthy and one isn't. Upside of 300 if both are good, downside of 100 or so if both are bad. Healthy, ERAs in the 3.8 to 4.2 range. Pencil in 34 starts combined, and hope to get lucky.

Mr. In Between - Crisp is still likely to be moved. The Red Sox ate a ton of Renteria's contract when they traded him, so I don't think have an objection in principle. Most likely though, they will move Crisp to a team willing to pay for him. His contract is not outrageous (I think $10 million over the next 2 years, or Dmitri Young money). I can't figure who the Sox would be interested in other than Rauch or Ayala, and I think they want more for Crisp. With Milledge, Dukes, Harris, etc... Crisp isn't a Nats need unless you think he is closer to what he was in 2004 /2005 when healthy (.345 OBP) than what Marcel the Monkey projects (.330) or Bill James (.335). A move to the NL will help.

Posted by: jon | February 11, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i don't really see any reason to add crisp. that just means less PT for milledge/dukes, and we need to find out if they're ready to play.

Posted by: 231 | February 11, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

i'd think all our pitchers would like coco here but there's no need to mess with Milledge's head. He's the CF.

Is Marrero's nickname really "cookie"?

back to Catcher 50 i agree that stud number 1 starters, legit star number 1's are impossibly rare. i'd say there are usually something close to 9-12 at any given time. nothing wrong with having a staff full of number 2 and 3's though.

having a 1b bat second or leadoff (!) in your lineup is usually a bad sign. he has the nice obp but unless you have arod power, or an in-his-prime-tejada production out of your middle infielders, it's just a reflection of a weak lineup.

i'm really hoping that lopez earns his starting job this year. this lineup is much much better with him clicking.

and even more! i've been calling to trade nick or dmitri since i can remember. we won't have any trouble replacing them. i know that's probably blasphemy here. but i'd say that a lineup with dukes/milledge/wily mo/kearns all playing fulltime and rotating through 1b is just as likely to win the same amount of games. besides it's a short term fix. continue the restocking program. i have faith in marrero. he can crush the ball. i'm excited by our offense. if manny can just run the same guys out there all year long i know we'll all be happy with the results. what are we talking about again?oh yea, healthy pitching. same thing there too.

Posted by: longterm and longwinded | February 11, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Coco just seems unnecessary at this point, counter the plan even more then Livan would be. That being said, who knows what the front office would pull if they got a good deal.

True #1 aces, almost impossible to find, harder to keep effective. In the last few years we've been blessed with some pretty solid and long lasting ones (Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, etc.) Not sure that's the norm, those are hall of fame guys. On a potential playoff and WS contending roster our best guy is probably closer to a #3 or #4 guy at least right now. That being said i love watching Hill pitch, im not quite to barry's level of infatuation but it is a pretty sinker.

As for 1b... Jimbo is always looking to make moves, Stan is always looking to get younger, get more talented, and get pitching, pitching, pitching so if both of them were gone and Aaron Boone was starting by may i wouldn't be shocked. The fans like Meathook and they liked Nick, but the FO is trying to build and they would trade Zimm away if they thought they'd get a good value for him.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

And I for one wouldn't fault them for any of it if it made the team better.

----------------------------------------

The fans like Meathook and they liked Nick, but the FO is trying to build and they would trade Zimm away if they thought they'd get a good value for him.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Marrero has nickname.

I just like to ring to Cookie.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 11, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

That was horrible...

I don't think Marrero has (a) nickname.

I just like (the) ring to Cookie.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 11, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Tony Armas signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Go figure.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 11, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

None of our big three should be allowed to pitch more than 180 innings this year. Patterson and Hill in particular. After two injury plagued years 30 starts at 6 innings per should be about right. Chico could go up to 200. Bergmann could potentially top 180. I hate the concept of a 6 man rotation, but if everyone has stayed healthy all year, they may need to share the load by September.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 11, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Big Three? I like the idea, but going on past events its probably more like the "Bodybag 3" .... Then again, you'd have to expand the list to more then 3...


... Sorry i'm being so pessimistic, I blame Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow, I promise i'll get less negative by the start of spring training.

Only 3 1/2 more days!

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 11, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Tim, just so you (and everyone else knows) - a "quality start" is a specific, measurable stat. It's 6 IP with no more than 3 ER. "7 innings" doesn't factor in at all.

FYI:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality_start

Posted by: Ed Note for TimDz | February 11, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

You know, I'm all for critical debate and whatnot, but I do fail to see the point in demanding that Mr. Svrluga tell us NOW when the Post is going to hire a REAL baseball columnist. With all due respect to Mr. Svrluga, he doesn't make hiring decisions. How would he possibly have that information? I doubt either the Sports Editor nor the Publisher of the Washington Post are running all their thought processes through him, what with Mr. Svrluga basically single-handedly covering a team. Which is a problem, yes, but not one which is his fault or which he can fix.


Have a nice day, all of you. Let's beat that dead horse for a while, huh? Go, civility!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 12, 2008 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Ref: People complaining of lack of coverage

There's about 20-25 sources out there for good information on the Nats. If Barry and/or the Post is giving you what you want, go to one of the two dozen blogs and you just might find what type of toothpaste Nick Johnson uses and if Zimmerman puts his pants on one leg at a time. There's tons of great sources out there including Capital Punishment, Nats320, National Farm Authority....the list goes on and on. In fact, a year or two ago, ESPN did a story that the Nationals were the most blogged team by far in MLB.

I would love more coverage in the Post (drop the O's and add coverage for the minors. Perhaps, hire an intern to assist the lead writer (i.e. Barry) to get his/her hand dirty and learn the craft, etc..

But seriously, you all have to quit your whining and take it for what it us. Like I said, there's a couple dozen sources out there to get your Nats fix. JDLand.com is also a great source....Rock on!

Posted by: Section 315 | February 12, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Section 315, I hit every one of those sources you mentioned on a daily basis, as well as reading the Post. So if after all that I *still* feel the need for better coverage from the Post, why shouldn't I be allowed to mention it here from time to time without being accused of "whining"? After all, I am paying to read the Post, which apparently most NJ posters are not if they read it on the Web. My payment for the print edition helps pay for this very blog that allows all of you freeloaders to come on and spout off on whatever you want, be it baseball related or not. That apparently is okay with you all, but strangely the only comments that draw attacks like "whining" and "beating a dead horse" are the ones from folks like me who pay for the Post and are asking for better coverage in the product we are paying for. Something in that situation just doesn't add up, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 12, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

meanwhile...new post

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 12, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, I also pay for the Post but I don't think of those who don't as freeloaders.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 12, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

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