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Assessing one pitcher, one restaurant

Before I get along with this morning's scientific examination -- a quasi-detailed look at Tim Redding -- let me first state the basics. Redding's having a strong year. Stronger than what any Nationals fan had the right to expect. At this point, Manager Manny Acta thinks he's the team's leading All-Star Game candidate. (Though I'd say Jon Rauch is just as worthy, and Zimmerman has a good shot if he stays hot.) After 11 starts, Redding has six wins and a 3.59 ERA, lower than anything he's put up in six previous seasons.

But so far, Redding has had one primary difficulty -- going deep into games. He faded yesterday in the sixth, an inning in which the Brewers scored six runs. Only one time this year -- his first start -- has Redding finished seven innings. The trajectory of Redding's performance yesterday resembled an outing from May 5, when the right-hander was again solid through five and couldn't escape the sixth, an inning when the Marlins scored four.

Redding yesterday talked a little bit about how he's struggled to get outs the third time through the lineup.

So here are some numbers -- AVG / OBP / SLG

First time through lineup: .172 / .212 / .226

Second time through lineup: .230 / .323 / .345

Third time through lineup: .321 / .397 / .643

---

Non-sequiturial, food-related addendum:

So, last night the folks and I met up at Sonoma, at 223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, just beyond the long evening shadows of the Capitol Building. The place is warm as a hug, cozy and chatty, where tables are close together and just about every group looks like it's had a lot of good wine. Sonoma specializes in small plates, just one more reason why it worked perfectly for a little familial dining. We started with the Sonoma specialty -- an expansive platter of cheeses (goat, sheep and cow) and meats (we tried the duck salami, the culatello and the proscuitto) served on a cutting board. Gotta admit, eating meat and cheese right off a piece of wood is one of the life's simpler pleasures, a perfect (paradoxical) blend of carnal satisfaction and strange refinement. The assortment comes surrounded by a constellation of little delights -- ginger-dusted pistachios, jams, mustard, etc. Everybody at the table kept reaching hands toward the platter until we felt entirely full, which was only a problem because Course No. 2 had yet to arrive. Oh well. The small plate of penne I ordered was flaked with pulled chicken and tomato, all mixed into a rich lather. Dessert followed, as did significant belt-loosening.

VORM (Value Over Replacement Meal): + 7.5

(VORM ranking is graded from +10 to -10, with 0 being the standard meal made at home in less than 20 minutes.)

By Chico Harlan  |  May 26, 2008; 12:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

There is a nice article on espn.com about Mike Bascik and his journey since 756*.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&id=3412605&sportCat=mlb

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 26, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Might want to change the "desert" to "dessert" before Grammar Lady sees it.

Posted by: proofreading gremlins | May 26, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Glad you liked Sonoma, Chico! All Star break time, it would be fun to try to ping the Nats for favorite DC eateries.

What does it mean if Redding has problems the third time through the batting order in the first game he plays against a team for his second start against that same team? I thought maybe folks might be doing better against him because they know his stuff and it's not all that tricky.

Here's what I found. Runs are earned, unless differentiated.

@PHI (4/2), W 1-0, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, .048 AVG
PHI (5/19), W 4-0, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, .269 AVG

FLA (4/7), L 7-10, 4 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, .333 AVG
@FLA (4/18), W 6-4, 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR, .143 AVG
FLA (5/9), L 3-7, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 0 HR, .167 AVG

NYM (4/23), L 2-7, 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 0 HR, .211 AVG
@NYM (5/14), W 5-3, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, .077 AVG

That's pretty darn inconclusive. If I had to bet on something today, I would say it's a mental block, not the result of hitters getting to know him.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I think moving Milledge to left field is probably the right answer. However, I'm really liking Dukes in right field. As you point out, he seems to have a good head for knowing what to do (I guess at this point I need to add the obvious caveat "on the field"), but he also has a strong arm and a lot of hustle. That adds up to good right fielder, does it not? Then we just need a real centerfielder, which seems to be the hardest outfield position to fill. Maxwell?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 12:31 PM

Yet again, some of us sooner that others......WE HAVE NOT A Centerfielder AGAIN.......Bowden has had enough time and cash to come up with a Centerfielder. Look at the long list he has run out there....ALL have major flaws in their game. All the way back to 2005 Bowden has missed fired on CF......He spent $5 Million on Lo Duca and traded the best CF we every had in Church (granted no a CF but still the best we have ever put out there right?).


Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but you act like we didn't think Milledge could play center at the time. Quite a few people, including the esteemed Mike Rizzo, thought that he might be pretty darn good at it. He's not. When he's 30, he could be as serviceable at it as Church is.

But why would we wait that long? Tried something, it didn't work, we put a centerfielder back on our wish list. Pretty fundamental GM stuff, isn't it?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't you mention Guzman as an all star candidate? Wouldn't it make sense to call him the MVP to this point?

Posted by: MRD | May 26, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads-up, PG.

I finally figured out how to edit these entries.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | May 26, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You have a great point that our brain trust thought Milledge could play center.

For you, it seems that you're OK with yet another failure at CF.

Me, I think it points to a fatal flaw in our FO....most likely Jimbo love of "toolsy" prospects with no value placed on fundamentals or coachablity.

For you, we just keep trying to find a solution.

Me, Tori Hunter.....Mike Cameron.....you get what you pay for.....We must have SS, 2nd Base and CF this off season and it will cost a bunch......but finding these key positions out of the retread pile is just wasting time and fan good will.

Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Add Aaron Rowland to the list of missed CF options.....he is making $9 Million this year.....that is what Jimbo is going to be paying Kearns next year if he plays or sits.........My beef with Jimbo is he is spending money....Lo Duca, Young, Lopez, Kearns......that is $20-25 million a year......He is getting nothing......at some point Lerners will listen to Stan and say, "Jim you are fun and you make use feel like the cool kids, but business is business and you have not produced".....I just hope that day comes soon.

Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I really don't understand why you all are so down on Milledge in CF - he's young and in a new stadium and still learning the position. Sure he's made some errors but some good plays too.

Also, Chris - PLEASE reconsider doing the CP blog! We all miss the snark. Maybe if you had co-contributors you wouldn't feel the pressure of having to write so much. And getting ad revenue might make it feel more worthwhile. Did you just figure that once Bowden listened to you by cutting Ray King that there was no more challenge for you?

Posted by: section 133 | May 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

You're dead, dawg.

Posted by: annoying gnat | May 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Let's Go Nats!

(nice arm, dukes!)

Posted by: i hate walks | May 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

5 Ks through 3 innings. Well done Mr. Bergmann.

Others:
Bergmann - Dropped ERA under 5
Dukes - Finding his stroke, and his gun (arm, not weapon)
Jesus - Continues clutch hitting

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 26, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. I love you guys.

Oops, gotta go.

Posted by: jason b | May 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

What, no love for the Guze Man? :)

Let's go Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 26, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

That a boy Manning!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

One pitch, attaboy!

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 26, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

why is gameday not working, but still up there?
*********************************
Keep track of the Nats all season long.
Washington vs Atlanta April 21, 2007

Posted by: Not that I don't have a radio | May 26, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

That guy took the buyout. Check out gameday on mlb.com, with all the scoring plays on video. Can't compete with that.
----
why is gameday not working, but still up there?
Posted by: Not that I don't have a radio | May 26, 2008 2:58

Posted by: NatSafeForWork | May 26, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

D'oh! and a ball goes under the D'Meat's hook.

Posted by: nsfw | May 26, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Good grief, Dmitri can't bend over. Next time he should pretend the ball is a pizza.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 26, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"but still up there" being the operative portion of that question.

Posted by: S'ok, I'm not AT work | May 26, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Granted anyone is better than Bob but Johnny just said that D Young made a good effort on that ball and that it was just out of his reach....ball wend right between his legs and he is too fat to get his glove down and move at the same time.

Johnny also was just saying that Sanchez was one of our young pitchers....He is 29 and a MLB retread....he looks good at times and that is good.... A Jimbo special, but not a prospect Johnny.

Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW, who was it that thought the Nats would be better off with Rickie Weeks?

Posted by: Couch sections are suprisingly crowded today... | May 26, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Good Question......I recall a lot of us wanted no Lopez this year.....I think I was a Belliard Man myself.

Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

+7.5 for meat and cheese on a board? i don't know, Chico. I'm eating some turkey bologna and cheddar on a 2x4 - I even have some fig jam handy. It's not that tough.

Posted by: flynnie | May 26, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

can someone who is actually watching this game please explain what just happened with the meat hook triple/homer?

All i have is xm radio and gameday. From what i gather it hit a second part of a fence? although gameday shows that the hit was just to the middle of center field...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 26, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

See, that's why I should be playing all the time.

Posted by: dmitri | May 26, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good thing they called it a triple at first, cause I don't think Da Meat Hook could've made it home without a breather.

Posted by: Sec 419, Row E | May 26, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

DY hit a ball of the top of the wall in front of the Red Seats. He actually made it to 3rd b/c of a long carom off the wall. After a quick argument from Manny, the umps called it a homer. The replay seems to show it did go over the wall, but they need a yellow line on the top of the wall so this doesn't happen again

Posted by: DandyDon | May 26, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

D Young was running hard from the crack of the bat......He may have defensive issues but man he plays the game the right way.

Posted by: JayB | May 26, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

We can make fun of DY, but the guy can hit. He would hit line drives if he weighed 400lbs

Posted by: DandyDon | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Hi to all,
I haven't posted since last year. Had rotator cuff surgery and not recovering as fast as I should. Also, have an AC joint problem that is causing pain and the PT doc doesn't want to be aggressive in treatment. Seeing surgeon tomorrow.

I agree with JayB. Young has fielding issues, but he always plays hard. I believe he is an example for the young guys to follow.

Hope to participate more in the future!

Posted by: Nick from Germantown | May 26, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

really, that was a perfect outcome. we get to see Da Meat Hook leg out a triple, *and* hit a home run to tie the game.

but that's a(nother) design flaw in the park. It was only a triple because of the hard carom of the otherwise padded wall fooling the outfielder. The padding should go all the way up, there should be a clear line, and a ball off the wall should not be a home run there.

But how 'bout that Meat, huh?

Posted by: CE | May 26, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"OFF the otherwise padded wall"

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

tough loss.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 26, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Gee, after the Pope's visit, you'd expect maybe they'd use white smoke if it's a homer and dark smoke if it did not clear the fence.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 26, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

There are 2 fences at the red porch. The second, unpadded fence is about 3 feet behind the padded wall and is not part of the field. Having 2 fences like this is generally a good thing because it prevents fan interference. Today though it caused confusion when the ball hit the top of the back fence and bounced back.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 26, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

A yellow line on the top of the wall from fair pole to fair pole would solve this problem. There were also some issues earlier this season with balls hit over the out of town scoreboard. We don't hit a lot of homers, we can't take the chance of losing any b/c of this.

Posted by: DandyDon | May 26, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Any fool knows to put a yellow line there. The seats behind home plate are too expensive, you can't see the scoreboard from a lot of expensive RF seats. The scoreboard doesn't even work right. The stands don't bounce when fans jump -- the list goes on and on. There's only one conclusion possible: Fire Nationals Park.


OKAY! We have a new cause!

Posted by: NatsPark IS shoddi | May 26, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

If they ever sign David Ortiz, I think it'll be required.
**********
Gee, after the Pope's visit, you'd expect maybe they'd use white smoke if it's a homer and dark smoke if it did not clear the fence.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 26, 2008 4:53 PM

Posted by: Sec 3 | May 26, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

To anyone who was watching on TV: was the Brewers runner out trying to steal second in the top of the 11th? It sure as heck looked like it from my vantage point in the 400-level seats. Even Charlie and Dave thought he was out, saying that he started to head back to the dugout. Fortunately, it led to no further damage (not that it mattered, since we made Villanueva - that would be the Villanueva with a 6+ ERA - look like a Cy Young winner in the 9th and 10th), but considering how few base stealers we nail, it would have been nice to get out of that inning without the extra nail-biting.

Also, any idea of why Nieves pinch-hit in the 11th as opposed to Pena or Zimmerman? Is Manny hiding injuries from us again?

Posted by: BSG | May 26, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

BSG, I was in the 400 section too and the guy looked out by a long shot. Since it was a close call, I doubt video will be up on it anywhere. I'd like to hear from a TV viewer who saw the replay too.

Dmitri's homer was absolutely the right call. Since we were sitting up above the wall it was clear it hit the back wall, though I'm sure it was harder to judge from the ground.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 26, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, no question he was out. Felipe got him on the arm before his hand got to the bag. Apparently the ump was blocked out.

Posted by: joebleux | May 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

thanks joebleux. The game is archived on mlb already and I just saw it. Totally out.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 26, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

We got the good and the bad today with Fat Boy. He hit the HR to tie, but if he wasn't in the bottom 2% of least agile 1Bs in MLB history we wouldn't have been behind in that situation in the first place.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I am now convinced if Chico started this blog "The cow jumped over the moon ..." no one would notice and the conversation would meander like it always does.

Posted by: Tom | May 26, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that Matt guy would say, I need to know immediately how Zim slept last night, and instead of finding that out, like any decent reporter, Chico's talking about astronomy.

Posted by: natty bo | May 26, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

WPM can't hit a slider (don't start! We're all thinking it already) and Zim had The Day Off, Period--see gamer for details.

*********************
Also, any idea of why Nieves pinch-hit in the 11th as opposed to Pena or Zimmerman? Is Manny hiding injuries from us again?

Posted by: BSG | May 26, 2008 6:58 PM

Posted by: CE | May 26, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

You say that like it's a bad thing.
And it's not like *no one* notices, we just don't necessarily care about cattle or astronomy.
Geez, half of us know little enough about baseball; don't get us started posting on [stuff] we *really* don't know...
**********
I am now convinced if Chico started this blog "The cow jumped over the moon ..." no one would notice and the conversation would meander like it always does.

Posted by: Tom | May 26, 2008 7:58 PM

Posted by: secs. 2, 3, and 4 (while napping) | May 26, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I kept yelling, "Put in Zimm, it's a HOLIDAY!"

JayB, agreed on Dmitri. Mr. Dukes looked good again today, too. It certainly makes the bad go down more easily when you can see guys playing hard.

Manny La Russa'd a bit today. He pulled Bergie for the LOOGY, but then got into bullpen trouble. Was it the right move? A lot to argue there. I think, though, we all expected more from Sanches after the previous night.

But I noticed something different about losing this one. Even without a man on, I still felt like the Nats might be able to pull it out. It's been awhile since I felt that way in late innings.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

You have a 4 section couch? That's pretty awesome.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

JayB, returning to our Milledge colloquy, you said:

"For you, it seems that you're OK with yet another failure at CF.

"Me, I think it points to a fatal flaw in our FO....most likely Jimbo love of "toolsy" prospects with no value placed on fundamentals or coachablity.

"For you, we just keep trying to find a solution.

"Me, Tori Hunter.....Mike Cameron.....you get what you pay for.....We must have SS, 2nd Base and CF this off season and it will cost a bunch......but finding these key positions out of the retread pile is just wasting time and fan good will."

I'm okay with Milledge in center for the rest of this year. I think "failure" is too strong a word. "Bad fit" is a more apt description. He can do it, it just won't be pretty. The reason it's worth doing is because it gives us time to assess WMP and Dukes (and at this point, Kearns) more. It's looking like we'll be able to close the book on the Pena experiment without regrets and we can find out a lot more about Dukes, perhaps something good.

Meanwhile, we can learn more about Maxwell in center to see if he's the answer or we need to look elsewhere. That sets us up perfectly to know what we really need next year, when a FA centerfielder might be more appropriate. And, yes, if it looks like Maxwell isn't the guy, I can be all about a free agent for center next year.

Well spent money on the 2009 team will be good, I think. Some point soon let's go through what we think we have and what we need, I think it's near time to open the purse for some quality guys that will be here awhile.

Finally, when did "toolsy" become pejorative? How are any of the five following bad?

- hitting for average
- hitting for power
- running speed
- arm strength
- fielding ability

Toolsy players are GOOD. The problem with the FO picks is that they are not toolsy, not that they are. How did this evolve into a negative thing?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I like the upside of Milledge in center. He's young, enthusiastic and I think he'll adapt in time to being a very nice centerfielder. This aint no world series team right now,so lighten up and please give him the time to grow into the position. The same with Dukes, he's young, talented and if his personal difficulties are behind him, has an upside that deserves a chance to blossom.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 26, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the "toolsy" thing is like saying someone is a "prospect" at 30 -- it's become an ironic mocking of the FO's assessment of the player's potential, and maybe a little bit of a difference of philosophy on what makes for a good risk. Like "upside," it's all speculation, not reality.

Philosophically, Bowden is clearly a "two birds in the bush" kinda guy. Two toolsy birds, especially.

Posted by: it's a big couch | May 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

That said, I think you have to stick with Lastings for the whole year, and Dukes, too (with the obvious exceptions). Nook and Church both got at least that much, and these guys are supposed be better, no?

Posted by: Leather, too. With drink holders | May 26, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Although I thought it was pretty snarky for Jack Hicks to play the theme from Mission Impossible between innings, after the Brewers scored in the 8th.

****************
But I noticed something different about losing this one. Even without a man on, I still felt like the Nats might be able to pull it out. It's been awhile since I felt that way in late innings.
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 26, 2008 11:05 PM

Posted by: Sec. 3 with a tv tray | May 26, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

My only complaint, well my MAIN complaint from yesterday was the handling of the relief pitchers by Manny. Rivera looks spent. He got rocked hard in the tenth inning but lucked out on the deep shots. By the eleventh he was just fodder for the Brewer hitters. I can not figure why Manny would pull other pitchers for the smallest mistakes yet leave Rivera to rot out there on the mound.

Posted by: Dale | May 27, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Dale, it's because by the time Rivera got there the only other pitcher he had available was Jesus Colome.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 27, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Nick from Germantown! Feel better and imagine those joints getting better, because if you have a mental picture of what's wrong with them, it's generally inaccurate and will impede recovery. Anyone foresee that the two Florida teams and the two Chicago teams would be in 1st place on Memorial Day? Or that the $22 million Marlins would be drubbing the $140 million Mets? Or that Andruw Jones would forget how to hit? What I have learned from the Mets: 1) When JimBow said "Pitching, pitching, pitching," he meant develop your own if you want to hold onto your job as a GM. Relying on aging, creaky veterans is perilous. See Yankees, Mets. 2) Great young pitching can get you to the playoffs even without much offense. See last year's Arizona Diamondbacks. 3.) It's better to be a low-budget bust than a high budget bust.

Posted by: flynnie | May 27, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

New post, with moon shots.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 27, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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