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Matt Chico, and some "Guess the Rotation"

So I wrote too much on Felipe Lopez, which appears in the $.35/$.50 edition here, and therefore lost the rights to have a separate notebook. So my plans to write about Matt Chico's start in tonight's Grapefruit League opener were largely scrapped.

Therefore, just consider this the first DMTP Journal entry of 2008. (For those of you who are new to the Journal, DMTP stands for "Didn't Make The Paper," tidbits that I couldn't cram into the $.35/$.50 edition. As for Panera, you're going to have to live and learn.)

(Incidentally, Chez Post has changed addresses this year. I'm up in Cocoa Beach, or actually just north of there. Gone is the neon green light of the Carrabba's on Wickham Rd. Pity. Now I have a 25-minute drive to HSCS every day. That's ok. No Starbucks nearby, so makin' it in the room. If anyone has any dining recommendations up here, I'm all ears.)

Anyway, Chico was - as we've discussed - the Nationals' leader in games started and innings pitched, etc., last year. We could insert any number of "that's a helluva low bar to step over" jokes here, but we won't, because we are kind and we had a chicken pomodoro panini today and the games haven't even started yet.

But he knows he has a lot on which to work, and despite what Manager Manny Acta says - that he can't just dismiss the guy that led the team in all those categories last year - Chico knows he must prove himself again.

He said yesterday he needed to work on a few things: throwing more first-pitch strikes, walking fewer batters and finishing off hitters when he gets ahead. He said he went over stats with pitching coach Randy St. Claire recently. St. Claire wants guys to throw 62 percent first-pitch strikes - at least. Chico threw 59 percent. Every little thing makes a difference.

Chico and walks: Only five pitchers in the National League walked more men per nine innings than Chico's 3.99 last year (Doug Davis, Scott Olsen, Kip Wells, Carlos Zambrano and Oliver Perez).

So Chico - obscured somewhat by the progress of Shawn Hill and John Patterson this spring - takes the ball tonight, a long way from last year, his first big-league camp.

"I don't think it really makes any difference," Chico said of his assignment in the "opener." But in order to accomplish the goals listed above, Chico has worked extensively on his mechanics in the offseason, shortening his stride (a project that started with St. Claire last year). St. Claire has a series of "dry" drills - drills done without a ball and without throwing - that Chico has adopted, notably mimicking a throwing motion with a towel. "I do them every day," Chico said.

"This spring, it's a lot better than what it was the last year," Chico said. "I still have improvements to work on it, but I feel like it's a lot better than in the past."

So with several hours to go before the first pitch tonight, why don't we use this opportunity to play one of Nationals Journal's favorite spring games. No, no, not "What to get at Panera." I'm talking about "Guess the Rotation."

Last year, the pool included guys like Jerome Williams and Colby Lewis. (And Williams actually made it. (Stats with Nats: 6 G, 0-5, 7.20 ERA.)) This year, it seems like it'll be slightly better.

The candidates, it would seem, in alphabetical order:

Collin Balester
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Tyler Clippard
Ross Detwiler
Shawn Hill
John Lannan
Garrett Mock
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding

Pick five - in order - that you think will be the first five starters used in 2008. I'll tally it up, hopefully prior to the start of the 7 p.m. start in Jupiter against the Marlins. If not, first thing Thursday. (And feel free to go off the board if, say, you think the Nats will make a run at someone like Kyle Lohse (which I can assure you won't happen).)

Other minor DMTP things: A few guys, led by Jesus Colome, had to travel back to the Dominican Republic to work out visa problems. They're supposed to be back in short order. Will get you an update as soon as I can, but no one seems concerned. (Arnie Munoz, Ed Rogers were among the others.)

Non-traveling Nationals will have a workout in Viera beginning at around 10 a.m. this morning. I'll try to give you something from that, and perhaps a bit of live blogging during the night game. Enjoy your day.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 27, 2008; 7:13 AM ET
 
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Comments

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergmann
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding

Posted by: Brian | February 27, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Alright, I'll bite:

John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Jason Bergmann
Tim Redding
Colin Balester

Shawn Hill on the 15 day DL with "forearm strain"

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | February 27, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

1) Patterson
2) Hill
3) Chico
4) Bergmann
5) Perez

Posted by: TJH | February 27, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I can't believe the improvement of our choices over last year.

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Clippard/Perez
Chico/Redding

I seriously can't commit on the last two. Are you sure we can't have a 7-man rotation?

Still cautious about Hill's "normal soreness."

Posted by: NatsNut | February 27, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Barry: can't you get one of your tech-heads to setup an online poll?

Posted by: joemktg | February 27, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

... and now for the definitive answer:

Hill
Patterson
Chico
Mock
Perez

Go Christian Guzman! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 27, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps a bit of live blogging???!!!

Reset Previous 27 Feb Commands which obviously missed the midnight batch process.


Preset Commands for Wednesday 27 Feb 2008

Confirm NLT 1:00 PM Autodial for WP Conference Call. Preset on cell phone.

Drive to Jupiter NLT 4:00 PM.

Post one time 800 or local DC conference call phone dial in number on NJ NLT 5:30 PM.

Sit Near Charlie and Dave NLT 6:45 PM.

Open Conference Call NLT 6:55 PM to allow ten minutes for NJ regulars to join.

Share the season's first game despite MASN, et al NLT 7:05.

Set Blog Update to two blogs entries per half inning.

Posted by: Reporter Remote Controller | February 27, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Redding
Chico

Can't really see the advantage of Odalis over Chico. He has more experience, but both are middle of the road lefties so may as well go with the younger of the two and the one who was a big part of the '07 team.

Posted by: Ghost | February 27, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

... OMG, what have I done!? In my haste to provide the final rotation, I inadvertantly dissed our very own NJ Bergmann. An oversight of monumental proportions, and one made entirely with no malice aforethought, I can assure you.

... so in the interest of NJ purity, let me offer the revised 'final' version:

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Chico
Mock

Go Rob Mackowiac! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 27, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Chico

I wouldn't stress if i was Redding or anyone else. At least one of them will probably hit the DL within 2 weeks of opening day one way or another.

By the way, the advantage to keeping Perez on the opening day rotation is that he then stays on the team and we've got him for as long as we want him. If chico and perez perform at the same level we use perez because chico could use the experience in the minors where if perez performs at all we trade him for some more minor league junk.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 27, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Chico
Lannan

PS Barry - Try Florida's (seafood) on 520 in Cocoa Beach. Stay away from Durango's. There's also a few Dunkin Donuts up this way replacing our Starbucks fix.

Posted by: wevegotheart | February 27, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't have my guess the rotation entry just yet, but I just want to say that Barry is still king of the human interest story. The Lopez story touched me, and I hope that he is able to overcome any off-field issues this year and do well on the field.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 27, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,
We like Sunset Cafe off 520 at the River and Gregorys (Steak House), down A1A just before Minuteman across from Denny's.

Posted by: Wishing I was in Cocoa Beach | February 27, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

2008 Starting rotation:

Hill
Patterson
Redding
Bergmann
Perez

Posted by: Louis J | February 27, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Of course, all this is so totally predicated by health issues. So, (even though I don't quite believe it) I'm going to assume good health.
Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Perez
Redding or Chico?
Ballister very much in the wings, maybe there already.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 27, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'll go with:

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Redding
Chico (after crossing out Perez)

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 27, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Patterson - RHP
Hill - RHP
Chico - LHP
Bergmann - RHP
Perez - LHP

Posted by: Gibby | February 27, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

patterson
hill
bergmann
chico
perez

not too concerned about the righty/lefty order yet...

this will look a lot better once detwiler and balester have worked their way into the front 5.

Posted by: longterm | February 27, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Perez
Lannan

Posted by: natsinthevalley | February 27, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

My initial rotation pick:

Shawn Hill (26 starts - one stint on DL)
John Patterson (21 starts - two stints on DL)
Matt Chico (18 starts - optioned to Columbus)
Jason Bergmann (30 starts - one stint on DL)
Odalis Perez (6 starts - DFA'd)

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood | February 27, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Barry
Any chance Reporter Remote Controller's instructions will work? WP.com and its 1st amendment rights should allow you to work within "without the express written consent..." An NJ contributers conference call to compensate for absence of TV and radio coverage tonight could be another journalistic first for NJ.

Posted by: Section 311 | February 27, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

First five games and then the rotating rotation from 2007 begins again.

1) Shawn Hill
2) John Patterson
3) Jason Bergmann
4) Matt Chico
5) Odalis Perez

Posted by: PowerBoater | February 27, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergman
Odalis Perez
Matt Chico

Posted by: davidson | February 27, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Perez
Clippard

This assumes, of course, that Patterson can actually make it out of spring training without injury. I'm not yet convinced.

Posted by: .390 | February 27, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

First, what a great story on FLop. In this sport (and any sport, really), we can too easily lose sight that the players are people, too.

Rotation:
Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Perez
Chico

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 27, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Hill, Bergmann, Perez, Patterson, Redding.

Posted by: Hendo | February 27, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Not sure about the first 5 to start the season, but my fantasy rotation:

Patterson
Perez
Hill
Chico
Bergmann

--the only way I do it like this it to alternate between a right-hander and a southpaw each day

call me stupid

Posted by: Corey | February 27, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Barry that was a great article on Felipe, thanks. Let's hope he turns things around this year. As for the stuff on Chico, well, I think they should have made room for the notebook by either moving Boswell's column to the Metro section or just cutting it from the paper altogether, since it was such a ridiculous piece.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 27, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Bergmann
Chico

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 27, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

i'd hate to call you stupid, but... :P

really, it's not the same kind of deal to alternate L/R with pitchers like it is with hitters. you do it with hitters to make bringing in relievers a more difficult decision for the opposing managers. for starters, you pitch your best pitchers first, regardless of which hand they throw with. you want as many starts as you can with the best ones.

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Also, reposting this from last night (crickets):

OK, I'm hoping that this might be a potentially important message for some key folks. I am likely to stick my neck out and acquire a full season ticket package (4 tickets, enough to accomodate my wife and two young daughters as necessary), of which I will probably use 30-40 games in total (and half of those, 2 tix not all four).

I would be interested in hearing from some like-minded regular denizens of Planet NJ, who would not otherwise acquire season tickets on their own, but whom are willing to commit to something like 2 tickets for 20 games money-wise, but with the flexibility to get all four from time to time (I am thinking particularly of those, like me, who might want to bring family on the weekends but join a few NJ-based baseball/Nats fan types on weekdays).

Having said that I don't mean to exclude non-family applicants, particularly those who might prefer weeknight games when they're already downtown, for example.

Interested parties please e-mail me at Bob.L.Head@live.com for further info.

Thanks!


Posted by: Bob L. Head (again) | February 27, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'll take:

Hill
Patterson
Berrgmann
Perez
Balester

Barry - After you join the rest of the entire WaPost sports section in covering the Skins, are you going become president of the Shawn Hill's Sinker Fan Club?

We'll miss you greatly!

Posted by: John Sect 129 | February 27, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Lannon
Redding

Posted by: junkbucket | February 27, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Hill, Patterson, Perez, Chico & Bergmann - think that's a repeat of an earlier one.

We'll actually have enough depth that next year (or later this season) a couple guys will be traded to make more room.

So 2009 looks like this: Hill, Bergmann, Chico, Clippard & Mock. One of the remaining youngsters (Detwiler/Balester) in long relief/spot start. Hope I'm wrong and they're farther along and force themselves into the rotation.

Posted by: Bazz | February 27, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Mock
Perez

Posted by: BigNatsFan | February 27, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I've read the comments by the Nats management about lefty starts, but I'm not convinced. I'm going in with the idea of having two lefties.

Patterson
Hill*
Bergmann
Chico
Perez/Lannan

*Unless Hill opens up the season on the DL, then insert Redding/Clippard

Posted by: Section 138 | February 27, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

John Patterson (assuming healthy)
Shawn Hill (should be #1, won't be)
Odalis Perez (never been over 200 IP)
Jason Bergmann (last year as starter)
Tim Redding (last year as National)

First alternates after injuries:
Matt Chico (could make team as long man)
Tyler Clippard (will get call before phenoms)


Posted by: NatBisquit | February 27, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Rotation: Patterson Hill Perez Lannan Bergman

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 27, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Lannan
Balester

Hope I am wrong about Hill.

Posted by: D Brown | February 27, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Chico
Bergmannnnnn
Perez

Posted by: Go Expos | February 27, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"So I wrote too much on Felipe Lopez, which appears in the $.35/$.50 edition here, and therefore lost the rights to have a separate notebook."

Posted by: Oh Really? | February 27, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

1. Bergmann
2. Hill
3. Patterson
4. Redding
5. Chico

On a different note, Jason, do you think you could get me opening day tickets?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 27, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Bergmann could be a decent closer/setup man someday. I wonder if the Rauch approach would be healthier for him.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 27, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

1. Shawn Hill
2. John Patterson (welcome back)
3. Jason Bergmann - good luck from a fellow RU Alum.
4. John Lannan
5. Matt Chico

Down in Columbus, waiting for the phone to ring: Redding, Balester, Odalis, CLippard and Mock.

Down in Harrisburg: Detwiler, I'd rather see him get some AA innings under his belt. No big need to rush him, is there?

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 27, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

patterson
hill
redding
bergmann
chico

Posted by: theraph | February 27, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Bergmann
Chico

Posted by: Diaw | February 27, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

John Patterson
Shawn Hill
Odalis Perez
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico

Posted by: OldGuy | February 27, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Redding
Chico/Perez (copping out here because this slot will be determined in ST. Although I'd bet that Perez will have to significantly outperform Chico in order to win a roster spot.)

Posted by: a guess | February 27, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

here's my rotation:

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Chico
Redding

Posted by: sinkerball | February 27, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding
Matt Chico

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | February 27, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

First 5 games of the season:

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Bergmann
Redding

Next 5 games:

Patterson
Chico
Perez
Bergmann
Redding

Hill goes on DL after first start (please I hope I am wrong!)

Next 5 after that:

Mock
Chico
Perez
Bergmann
Redding

Patterson on the DL (please let me be wrong about this, too)

Posted by: e | February 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergman
Odalis Perez
Matt Chico

Posted by: natsrule | February 27, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the write-up on Lopez-a lot of tough stuff to deal with over the years.
So much talent there so I wish him the best and predict a good year-280 batting average, 15 homers, 40 doubles, 35 steals, and solid defense at second base. Oh, and abot a 340 or so on base average.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 27, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Hill, Patterson, Bergman, Chico, Clippard

Posted by: Dave | February 27, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Chico

Posted by: Section 505/203 | February 27, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

John Patterson
Shawn Hill
Odalis Perez
Matt Chico
Jason Bergmann

I think Collin will be in the bull-pen, that's what Bowden keep implying...
Collin Balester

Does it suck to have choices for once???

Posted by: NiceNat | February 27, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Chico
The-rest-with-their-names-on-a-dartboard-at-
which-I-throw.

Posted by: Juan-John | February 27, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Chico
Clippard

Posted by: mjwies11, Section 320 | February 27, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

1) Hill
2) Patterson
3) Perez
4) Bergmann
5) Redding

Hill on DL early and often. Patterson has 2005 year.

Posted by: another Brian | February 27, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Redding

Let the second-guessing begin!

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 27, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Since I'm already on record in my dream sequence of Hill and Patterson finishing 1-2 in the CY voting with 40 wins among them and 50 wins in games they start; I guess they are my 1 and 2.

The other 41 wins for the 2008 NL East champions come from games started by

3. Jason Bergmann
4. Matt Chico
5. Tim Redding

in another historic first where all five Nationals starting pitchers stay off the DL for the entire season.

I've still got 32 and 1/2 days of dreaming left. :)

Posted by: Section 311 | February 27, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Ahh... Spring has finally sprung with the first (of many?) guess the rotations...

1) Patterson (dreams of 2005 dancing in my head)
2) Hill (Love triangle between Barry, me, and that sinker)
3) Bergman (Another almost no hitter this year?)
4) Clippard (Had mild success in AL east should be "pretty good" in NL)
5) Chico (Hey, he has "the man" in his corner)

Since the issue of season tickets came up, I have a full season of two seats in Section 131 Row J seats 1 & 2 and we still have about 10 - 15 games we are looking for folks to take. Minimum five game shares. Draft for games to be held in the coming weeks. E-mail at jmastrosimone@stinson.com if interested.

Barry - Fugi Apple Chicken Salad at Panerra with a whole grain bread -- can't go wrong.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | February 27, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Boswell, his article today was kind of depressing.

Still, I'm thankful for the heads up so my expectations stay in check.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Clippard

Posted by: blah | February 27, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

1) Hill

2) Patterson (until he gets hurt)

3) Redding

4) Chico

5) Perez

Posted by: John O. | February 27, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Here's my take:

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Balester

Posted by: Kevin | February 27, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Assuming no injuries (dumb assumption yes I realize).

Nats: Patterson, Hill, Chico (L), Bergmann, Redding

AAA: Lannan (L), Balester, Clippard, Detwiler (L), Mock

AAA releases/cuts from last year's roster (if they're not already gone) and this year's Spring Training invites: Simontacchi, Diaz, AMartinez, Claussen, Bowie, Michalak, Speigner, Hanrahan, OPerez

AA: O'Conner, Smoker, JZimmerman, Willems, McGeary

Posted by: Sec131 | February 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

1. Patterson
2. Hill
3. Perez
4. Bergmann
5. Lannan

Posted by: Lou | February 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergmann
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding

Spring training gap between Perez/Redding and Balester, Chico, Clippard, Detwiler, Lannan or Mock will have to be pretty significant for one of the 25 and under 'kids' to bump one of the 30+ 'old guys' from the rotation.

It really is incredible where we are last year to this year.

Posted by: North Randolph Nats Fan | February 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse


Try the parmesan-encrusted tilapia at Chowder's on Rt 1.

Posted by: Jeff Weaver | February 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Garrett Mock/Odalis Perez

Posted by: ndwas | February 27, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

off topic: from boswell's article today...

===
The result is that an obscure back access road from RFK to the new ballpark area will be used exclusively by Nats buses, which, the team claims, now take only "five to seven minutes" to get from RFK to a drop-off spot on M Street, just another five- to seven-minute walk to the main entrance.
===

now, if that's true, it will be almost reasonable. i'll be taking metro, at least to start, but i'll be keeping an eye on this. not quite sure what i've read on this, tho, what's the cost? free? $5?

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergman
Lannan
Balester

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"Speaking of Boswell, his article today was kind of depressing." says NatsNut


... 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling' or so suggests T. Boswell, but what's worse, no one will be able to see it for the Florida Rock detritus. (I love that word.)

... but look on the brighter side: DC baseball fans will have a ball park to be proud of, a location to watch Nationals games for years to come. Now I most likely will never sit in any part of Nationals Park, or if I do, I'll be so old, my grandkids will have to describe the game action to me. But for now, what in the world could be wrong with a bit of construction evidence for a year or two. It's not as if the sky is falling on center field. What's more, it's not as if fans will flock to the place for the views OFF the field.

... and while I'm at it, let me say this. Boz quotes Mark Lerner, "... as well as colorful baseball-themed ads." I'm old enough to remember 1950's diamonds with their wooden fences complete with ads. I'm also old enough to remember when that all stopped and stadia confines were cleaned up and free from such distractions. So I ask you: how in the world did we ever get back to the point where erecting outdoor advertizing, colourful tho' it may be, to cover up public spaces such as parking garages is considered a plus?

Go Josh Whitesell! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 27, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

GREAT video piece on Post photog Toni Sandys now up.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | February 27, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Sec 131 ... I doubt that your Double-A rotation is going to hold. There is little chance that Willems, McGeary and Smoker are in Double-A. Hagerstown seems like the most likely spot for them. And McGeary won't even be around until short season ball starts up.

There are bunch of names you are forgetting: Brad Meyers, Shairon Martis, Jhonny Nunez, Cory VanAllen, Yunior Novoa, Carlos Martinez, & Adrian Alaniz

Posted by: Brian | February 27, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Rotation:

John Patterson
Shawn Hill
Odalis Perez
Jason Bergmann
John Lannan

Cocoa Beach seems kind of far as a home base; its north, and just in the opposite direction of most of the away games which are south on 95 -- Vero, Port St. Lucie, Jupiter, etc. Seems a shame that they didn't at least put you guys in Melbourne!

Posted by: Ray | February 27, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

1. Hill
2. Patterson
3. Chico
4. Perez
5. The 2006 Raccoon, he/she should have a chance to play.

Posted by: ChrisC | February 27, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

JOhn Patterson
Shawn Hill
Odalis Perez
Jason Bergmann
Matt chico

Posted by: Wily Mo Pablo | February 27, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

2008 rotation..
For those fans who do not have Patterson, Hill,Bergmann & Redding(signed for $1M)on the 25 roster as either starter/reliever, are faced with these players being waived and pick-up by other teams since they do not have any more options left and can not be sent back to the minors. The Nats won't waive these 4 players.

Posted by: Louis J. | February 27, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"now, if that's true, it will be almost reasonable. i'll be taking metro, at least to start, but i'll be keeping an eye on this. not quite sure what i've read on this, tho, what's the cost? free? $5?"

Every time I've seen this shuttle mentioned by Stan Kasten or anyone else connected with the team, the word FREE has always been right there along with it. Free parking at RFK, and free shuttle ride to/from Nationals Park. No such mention in most media accounts of the shuttle service, like Boswell's today. I believe the Redskins shuttle fiasco that he likens this one to is decidedly not free, in that I'm pretty sure you have to pay an exorbitant parking charge in order to ride the shuttle to FedEx.

Boswell pretty much pooh-poohed the whole RFK shuttle thing in his column today, but to me it seems like it will be a great option for people who complain about Metro being so inconvenient or time consuming and who long for the easy auto access of RFK. Basically it will add about 15 minutes to their front-door-to-stadium-seat commute over what they had last year. That's a minor inconvenience, really. And Boswell doesn't seem to realize that most people are very forgiving of minor inconveniences, and especially so when the word FREE is slapped all over them.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 27, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Bob L.-

I would definitely wish to join you in some tickets, but the schedules of my 3 kids and wife are not predictable enough to allow it. I will have to try to get to as many single games as I can.

+.5St

Posted by: Positively Half St | February 27, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

419, you're right, they charge you $6 to ride the shuttle -- which is a Metro bus.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 27, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Redding

Posted by: Jamos | February 27, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergmann
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding/Lannan/Mock

Per injuries
Clippard
Ballester

There is no way Chico comes anywhere near this rotation before these other options.
3.99 walks per 9 says so.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

bigroy, last year's numbers for the guys you slot ahead of chico...

perez: 3.3 BB/9
lannan: 5 BB/9
redding: 4 BB/9

just an fyi.

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Perez
Chico

Posted by: Eric | February 27, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't even count Lannan he only made a handfull of starts. Redding is a strikeout pitcher (chico is not) so i can understand the walks in his case. You can't be location/feel pitcher (poorman's Glavine) and succeed giving up 7 walks in a game or throwing the ball in the stands. I can't imagine with him being a "flyball pitcher", how things are going to go for him in the new ballpark.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

+.5St, I have some ideas, send me an e-mail so we can discuss offline.

bob.l.head@live.com

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 27, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Of course with the obvious disclaimer that they all reach the season in good health, I'm going with:

Patterson
Hill
Chico
Bergman
Perez

It would be nice to go R, R, L, R, L.
I may be drinking the Kool-Aid a little with Chico and Perez (because Lannan could just as easily replace one of those guys) but I'm hanging onto the hope that the "older" guys prove ready enough to pitch well in the majors so that the "younger" guys get to develop more comfortably in AAA or AA for another season.

Posted by: AJ | February 27, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Hopeful Nats Opening day rotation:

Hill
Patterson
Chico
Bergmann
Perez

Detwiler and Ballester waiting in the wings in the bullpen. Though I would bring up Redding or Clippard before I would toss them in as a starter. Chico and Perez could swap places in the rotation due to just how good Perez looks in Spring Training. Hopefully we pick up another starter mid-season with the trade of Dmitri or Johnson, though I don't want to see either of them go. I'd like to trade one of the bullpen arms to the Red Sox for maybe Colon if he shows a resurgence, or Craig Hansen and SS Jed Lowrie. Far more than my two cents. And what's Boz's deal, nothing but negativity. I'm an idea man, I need the big guy.

Posted by: FFNatsfan11 | February 27, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'll also add Redding, Lannan, and Clippard (in that order) as most likely to fill in the rotation considering injuries or trade.

Mock, Detwiler, Balester should stay down until next year, even if they are "better" than some of the rotation guys at this point.

Posted by: AJ | February 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, that should be the 2007 Raccoon.

Posted by: ChrisC | February 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill
John Patterson (until he gets hurt)
Jason Bergmann
Odalis Perez
Matt Chico

Posted by: Paul in 105 | February 27, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

After looking a the numbers

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Perez
Lannan/Ballester

mock
clippard

Sorry can't make a case for Redding
to similar to Chico. Chico at least has the years on his side i.e. time to improve

Posted by: Big Roy | February 27, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Boz in an idot

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

bigroy, you consider 5k/9 a strikeout pitcher? redding's been btwn 5.01 and 5.58/9 since 2003 (under 5.16 other than the one 5.58). and chico's k/9 was almost exactly what redding's was last year. i can only go on the numbers lannan's put up.

i don't think you've really made the case that redding/lannan/perez are necessarily any more effective based on that stat. chico's overall stats last year are better than perez.

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the 2006 raccoon was too wild. Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

---

Sorry, that should be the 2007 Raccoon.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 27, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Chico
Bergman
Perez

Posted by: Keith | February 27, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

btw, i'm surprised so many people pencil in perez in the rotation. is it just because he's another lefty?

while i hope he can get it together, his ERA the past two years has been 6.2 and 5.57. his WHIPs were 1.58 and 1.66.

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Chico
Perez
Ballester

Posted by: Gusto | February 27, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Chico
Clippard

Lannan will replace Patterson when he goes on the DL at the end of April.

Posted by: Darryl | February 27, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

John Patterson
Shawn Hill
Jason Bergmann
Tim Redding
Odalis Perez

Posted by: Kevin | February 27, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not talking about whip's, strikeouts, day, night, home, road. I only put the 3.99 because barry listed it. The point i'm trying to make is that we have better options this year. I think lannan is better than Chico. thats my opinion. I didn't see Perez pitch last year. i don't what he is. I did however see Chico in all 31 starts last year. I know what i saw. i know he got sent down last year even with us being shorthanded. I'm not calling him a scrub, just scrub-like. I hope he has improved his delivery, i hope he does go 12-7 with a 4.10 era, i hope he does throw 180 innings(and not pitch 5 a night). We've started 9-21 and 9-25 the last two seasons. what don't wish the happen is that we wait around while he figures it out.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

If we see the Chico that we saw september. then that would be awesome (with lower ERA). I'm not rooting against the guy. I'm just not ready to hand over my first born yet. He's going to have to get his walks down (his words by the way).

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Bergmann
Perez
Ballester
Redding

Posted by: CapPeterson | February 27, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I put the "older guys" (Perez and Redding) in over the "younger guys" (Chico/Lannan/Mock/Clippard/Detwiler/Balester) based on numbers. Not ERA, or WHIP or BB/9, but based on number of option left. Perez and Redding are out of options (I believe), while all the other guys still have options left. The Nats will let the young guys get their innings in down in Columbus and Harrisburg and will bring them up only when one of the older 5 goes on the DL (or if Perez or Redding completely stink up the joint - which is a good possiblilty).

Unless any of the younger guys completely WOWS Acta and Bowden in Viera, I feel they'll all be starting in the minors.

Posted by: e | February 27, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

i know you were posting what barry said about chico's walk rate, i was pointing out that the other guys you listed ahead of him were pretty much as bad or worse.

i think there's a group of pitchers all bunched up at the back of the rotation (chico/lannan/redding/perez in particular) and spring training will weed them out. a lot of their numbers are pretty similar from last year (altho perez had the worst numbers of all of them, imo).

although i don't really see the point of basing whether other pitchers are better than chico on only seeing chico and ignoring what the other pitchers did, i guess that's your perogative. but if you want to avoid the bad start while chico figures it out, beware replacing him with pitchers who weren't and may not be any better. particularly when most of them don't have much chance of helping the team in 09/10, while chico could. he's at least still on the "potential" train. the others (excepting lannan) have already reached potential and fallen from grace.

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Lannan

Posted by: Andrew | February 27, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people discount Lannan because they only saw him for his cuppa coffee at the end of last season, forgetting that he started in Single A, smoked his way all the way up (struck out BBonds in THAT series, I might add) and got cut off by the team because of his pitch count. They might need to let him marinate in triple or double-A for awhile, but his "only a handful of starts" last year doesn't mean he can't hang with the big boys.
_____

I wouldn't even count Lannan he only made a handfull of starts.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 11:48 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | February 27, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

My best guess (and I do believe this will be a fluid situation during the season and if Bush looks good with the first pitch then sign him up, he will be unemployed soon. At worst, he could be the new Teddy):

Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Chico
Perez

Posted by: JoNAThan | February 27, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Could have put in a few words about his trade, the move from shortstop to second then back to shortstop last year. Hard to find your focus when you are jostled about like that. Give him stability and he'll out perform Guzman.

Posted by: Lopez - Missed Angle | February 27, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Chico faced 747 batters in 31 games last season. That's just slightly over 24 batters per game (allowing less than 4.5 ABs per inning).

If he had a 59% first-strike rate, it means he threw first strikes in nearly 441 of those ABs. If he had been throwing first-pitch strkes 62% of the time, that number would have been 463, a difference of 22.

So basically, St. Claire is asking Chico to throw just one more first-pitch strike per game. That certainly seems to be an attainable goal.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 27, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

1.Shawn Hill 2.Jason Bergman 3.Odalis Perez 4.Tyler Clippard 5.Matt Chico I don't think Patterson will get out of spring without getting hurt i hope i'm wrong and he's as good as 2005 but i don't think that's realalistic.

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 27, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I completely get your point, e, and I tend to agree. In addition to ERA, BB, WHIP, and the like, we should be looking at option numbers and the number of zeros in the player's salary (there are six of them in Redding's, if you're counting).

However, Perez signed a non-guaranteed minor league deal. I believe this means they can send him to AAA without him having to clear waivers. His number of options shouldn't factor in the team's decision to put him in the rotation.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 27, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

1 Patterson
2 Hill
3 Bergman
4 Chico
5 Perez

first three call-ups to start:
6 Redding
7 Lannan
8 Detwiler

Posted by: 307 | February 27, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your thinking on this point, 231. Potential vs. ceiling. I do think Perez can be a benefit. Maybe i'm crazy or maybe i too in love with those 2002 numbers or the innings he threw in 02, 03 and 04 and how low his walks were. I don't know. It would be great to see any pitcher in the rotation have a year like his 2002 this year.

I love Lannan NatsNut i wasn't hatin' on him at all. I hope he's in the rotation on Opening Day.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Just so you guys know, tonight's game will be available on MLB Gameday Audio. MLB.TV will also have video for 150 ST games.

Gameday audio is 14.99 per season (or free with a Twins Territory Team membership). MLB.TV is 14.99 per month, and includes Gameday Audio.

And no, they don't pay me to say that.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if this is old news or what, but just saw that ESPN will be airing the ST game against the Tigers on March 18th.

Posted by: FFNatsfan11 | February 27, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Bergmann
Patterson
Redding
Lannan

Chico's a possibility, but I bet they give him some more minor league seasoning before handing him the ball.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | February 27, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I think Louis J has at least one concept correct... and that is the contract status of some of the pitchers is going to make a difference in who makes the 25 man roster. And someone else also makes the point, correctly, in my estimation, that the nature of "Guess the Rotation" in 2008 is vastly different... there seems to be a small but significant embarrassment in good fortune... we have lots of POTENTIALLY qualified candidates, and if the planets align, if two or three have breakout years among them, it could be very interesting.

I know there are a lot of people who majored in "Glass Half Empty" in this community, but the "Glass Half Full" department has much to be happy about with regard to pitching... and at least the "Glass Half Empty" people have options this year...

So with that, the rotation that for sure will NOT be the right answer:

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Bergmann
Clippard

I dunno about Redding... he's been off my radar, and unless he's dazzling, I bet the kids float over him.

Posted by: Wigi | February 27, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Off subject, but is anyone on here a member of the Nationals insider group? and if you are did you get and email from MLB.com about the Nationals uniforms? I'm a fan of them by the way, Red @ home, Blue on the road. We should add a alt. with pinstrips though, that would be classy. I like the alt. and hat that the Indians are adding for day games. Really nice

Posted by: BigRoy | February 27, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Go Teddy!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 27, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

GET KYLE LOHSE Now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 27, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Get Kyle Lohse he'd be such a help. Hill,lohse,bergman,perez,patterson exellent

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 27, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Hill
Perez
Bergmann
Chico

Posted by: SF Fan | February 27, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Does Perez have a contract that allows him to walk if he is not on the opening day 25 man? If no, then he goes to Columbus.

Assuming Perez goes to Columbus, I'll go with Hill, Bergmann, Chico, Patterson, and Redding. I think they'll want to limit Patterson a bit early. I could easily see Lannan starting and Chico in the pen.

Posted by: jon (lower case) | February 27, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

*pulls DJ26's tongue of of his cheek*

or at least that's where i hope it was...

Posted by: 231 | February 27, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

jon, Perez signed a minor league deal so they can send him to Columbus if they want.

Posted by: 307 | February 27, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

J. Patterson
S. Hill
O. Perez
T. Redding
M. Chico

Posted by: John | February 27, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

-Shawn Hill
-John Patterson (for 1 month replaced by Tim Redding
-Jason Bergmann
-Matt Chico
-John Lannan

Posted by: love | February 27, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Chico is worthless.

Posted by: Mike Morgan | February 27, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I know I'm late but wanted in on the fun:

I'll take:
Hill
Patterson
Bergmann
Redding
Perez

Chico will be first up when someone has to miss a start, which happens to every team.

Posted by: Avar | February 27, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Comment #1 (brian) stole mine!
Bergmann
Hill
Patterson
Perez
Redding

Posted by: exporam | February 27, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Patterson
Chico
Hill
Lannan
Balester

Hill 3rd to give him some more time to get ready, not on DL.

Also kinda arbitrary and because I wanted to be different. Prove me wrong J-Berg!

Posted by: nattaboy | February 27, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Perez
Bergmann
Clippard

Posted by: DL | February 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

There's absolutely no way JP will be healthy:

Shawn Hill
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Tim Redding
John Lannan/ Odalis Perez

Posted by: Mary | February 27, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Paterson
Chico
Perez
Bergmann

Who wants to take a shot at the final record for 2008?

I will start:

W 76
L 86

Posted by: 6th and D | February 27, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I think he thinks he ownes this blog!!!

Posted by: Bob L. Head Hater | February 27, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope escobar makes the opening day roster.

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 27, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Please sighn me i need a job.

Posted by: Kyle Lohse | February 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The so called expert Ken Rosenthal Says the nats will be 71-91 he says last year was'nt real and the will be lucky if there half as good this year.

Posted by: Don L. Head | February 27, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Patterson
Bergman
Perez
Balester

Posted by: Dogface | February 27, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Jason Bergmann
Tyler Clippard
Shawn Hill
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding

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