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Needed: Cordero

Chad Cordero, if you're wondering, is still in Florida at the team's spring training complex. He's throwing, and has been for weeks, but hasn't yet begun a rehab assignment. I mention this for a simple reason: For as long as Cordero is gone, the Nats bullpen will continue to feel the strain of his absence.

Without Cordero this season, the pen has endured plenty of rough patches. Enough that the it's probably lost its reputation as a bedrock of reliability. That's what you saw in each of the previous three years, when relief pitchers' roles were well-defined, and when the team had just enough quality arms that nobody was counted on too much.

Counting yesterday's mess -- the Nats bullpen first extended a deficit, then blew a tie -- the bullpen this year now has a 4.62 ERA, worst in the NL. Last year, the pen had a 3.81 ERA, fourth-best in the NL.

We've seen a precipitous drop in performance, especially, in the last month. There are a few theories about why (pitching coach Randy St. Claire suggested that his pitchers "all want to do well, so they start pressing, and the ball starts elevating, and they aren't getting through their breaking ball"), but I think the best line of reasoning points back to Cordero. Everybody is overextended.

If and when Cordero returns not just to the team, but also to the form that made him one of the league's best closers, the entire Washington bullpen will feel the boost. The team will have to decide how to split the eighth and ninth innings between Rauch and Cordero.

But the trickle-down benefits will reach the sixth and seventh, too.

In those innings especially this season, the Nats' bullpen weaknesses have been exposed. I think we've learned this season that a surplus of relief pitchers with good track records is not just a luxury (usable for trade bait), but rather, a necessity.

A few links, to close here.

The gamer from yesterday, which took a close inspection of John Lannan's luck. (Or lack thereof.)

The notebook.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 23, 2008; 8:33 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lannan update
Next: Two injuries: one minor, one major

Comments

John Lackey, Jon Garland, & Ervin Santana

This should be fun

Posted by: Angels Probables | June 23, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Here is novel solution. Don't automatically pull the starter after 6 innings. If he is doing well, or better than the bullpen has been doing, leave him in the game!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Don't overstate the importance of Cordero.

He's not the reason that Ayala and Rivera have gone from locks to stinking up the park.

The only thing having Cordero back would do would free up Rauch to throw a few more innings than he already has, and kept a mediocrity like Sanches out of the bullpen. But he really wasn't pitching in too many high leverage situations anyway.

That's the kind of logic that leads to someone saying that Rauch is untouchable in terms of trades.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

SEA 26-49
WAS 30-47 (3GB)
SDP 32-45 (5GB)
COL 32-44 (5.5GB)
SFG 32-44 (5.5GB)

Posted by: The Drive for #1 in 2009 | June 23, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Its Christmas time in June! Woke up extra early today with excitement. Almost felt like running downstairs to see what was under the Christmas tree.

Hold all calls. Cancel all appointments. Baseball. Angels. Nats. I couldn't be happier.

P.S. - Please don't rain.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | June 23, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Here is novel solution. Don't automatically pull the starter after 6 innings. If he is doing well, or better than the bullpen has been doing, leave him in the game!

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 8:40 AM

-----

...unless it's for a Willie Harris pinch hit home run?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"...probably lost its reputation as a bedrock of reliability."


Probably? hrrumph.

I agree with Chris: Don't overstate Cordero's importance (except in sales of defibrillation equipment).

And don't understate how the bullpen has disappointed so far this year (NOT "probably"). It is on par, in fact, with the disappointment of the bats: Rarely outstanding, usually terrible.


I'm still here rooting for my team even when they stink. I understand all the reasons why, how we've caught so many bad breaks (no pun intended) this year, and how we've inherited a squad bereft of true stars. But I'm at a loss for polite descriptions of how sick I am of losing. Seriously.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 23, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

When Cordero comes back, just please keep Rauch for the 9th. Please.

Posted by: Rauch fan | June 23, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

And, really, we wouldn't nearly be noticing the pen as much if the bats were doing there job.

FIRE LENNY!!!

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

506, you were being sarcastic about this, right? If not, here's a link to Chris Carter's Baseball Cube page: http://tinyurl.com/59x4yp

* * * * *
Hey, at least no one can hate on Bowden for what we gave up to take Wily Mo!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 12:14 AM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 23, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of leaving starters in, nice article on Tom Cheney in the magazine:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/19/AR2008061902831.html

Posted by: CE | June 23, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Why we miss Cordero:

Not because he won't walk three men with two outs so that the winning run is on first and give us all a heart attack.

No, it's because he won't CARE that he walked three men with two outs so that the winning run is on first and will get a deep fly out to snag the save.


Hanrahan, Colome, Manning, and Ayala all will freak out. Colome and Hanrahan especially will throw a wild pitch trying to get two strikes with one arm motion.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I see. The bullpen sucks this year because Cordero's on the DL. I can sort of see that argument in the case of Rauch, Ayala and Rivera, since their roles have been shifted from what they were last year. But really, except for Ayala lately, those guys have performed well in their revamped roles. It's the other guys who are sucking up the joint. Will Cordero's return help Joel "The Wild Irishman" Hanrahan get the ball over the plate instead of bouncing it off the stone wall while the runner advances? Will it do anything for Jesus "Jimbo prayed for my buttocks and my family, but maybe he should have asked God to lay the gift of control on me instead" Colome? Will it turn Charlie Manning 2008 into Ray King 2007? I think it would be a real stretch to think that having Cordero around would do anything to help those guys. And which Cordero will we get back after his rehab is done, the thrilling and largely successful closer of 2005-2007, or the guy who could barely throw an 80 mph fastball the beginning of this season?

Thinking that the return of Cordero will heal the bullpen is as foolhardy a hope as was thinking that a healthy Patterson would solve all problems with the rotation. Just get some guys who can pitch. Enough with the projects already.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

2007 Bullpen: 1.34 WHIP; 3.81 ERA; 6.6K/9; 3.4BB/9; 253/321/386
2008 Bullpen: 1.47 WHIP; 4.62 ERA; 7.5K/9; 4.5BB/9; 255/342/388

Posted by: The Numbers Don't Lie | June 23, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

So Chico, DO they need a ballgirl?

(it's in the url)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 23, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The Los Angles Angels of Anaheim. Might they be set for a let down after blitzing the Phillies this past weekend. I guess its come to this, hoping the opponent is looking past us. Thats the state of affairs the Nats are seemingly in right now. I hoped for better than this. I think this might be the off season to look for help. As the trade deadline approaches perhaps the front office should re-examine the goals. Change some priorities to speed up the building process. No, don't change the plan as far as the farm system goes, that may be the bright spot. Get a couple of free agents, young in age and flush with talent. Milledge and Dukes were a nice start to building the current roster. This infatuation with ex-Reds must end. Willy Mo, no. How long is his leash? It's time to open the wallet and use this beautiful new ballpark as a drawing card before the tag of perennial loser sets up like concrete. George Allen once said it...the future is now.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 23, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

2007 Bullpen: 1.34 WHIP; 3.81 ERA; 6.6K/9; 3.4BB/9; 253/321/386
2008 Bullpen: 1.47 WHIP; 4.62 ERA; 7.5K/9; 4.5BB/9; 255/342/388

Posted by: The Numbers Don't Lie | June 23, 2008 9:55 AM

-----

WOW! Look what a difference the walks make. Average of one more walk per 9 changes a bullpen from fourth best to dead last.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if some of the problems of the bullpen do not stem from overuse this year, but overuse for the past few seasons.

Last year Saul Rivera pitched in 85 games. He has pitched in 38 so far this season.

In the last two years Rauch has pitched in 85 and 88 games respectively. He has pitched in 37 this year, mostly in the closers role.

Colome pitched in 61 games last year. This is not an overwhelming number unless you consider his DL time and realize that if he was healthy all year he would have thrown in close to 80 games.

Ayala threw in 68 games in 2006. Last year in about half a season he pitched in 44 games. This year he has pitched in 41 games already.

The nationals bullpen as a whole has been at or near the top of baseball every year in innings pitched and appearances since the move to the district. While there can be no argument that Chad Cordero is better then Brian Sanchez, does anyone really believe that he makes the bullpen a full run better. This should show everyone how fickle a reliever's talent can be from year to year. The job puts a considerable amount of stress on a pitcher's arm and this can cause quicker declines then in any other pitcher in baseball. Relievers suffer from a systemic case of small sample size and low margin for error. Think about how many great relievers last for an extended career. For every Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman there are a hundred Jesus Colomes.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | June 23, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Chard Cordero -- even last year's version -- would be enormously helpful. I'm very hopeful about Shell too. I really would like to see what he can do as a long-man. If he can go 2-4 innings 2-3 times a week with a sub 4 ERA, it could have an enormous impact. I saw Mock pitch Saturday night and though he was a little uneven, you get the sense that he could develop into a decent starter someday, but its certainly not a sure thing. Ayala is barely mop-up capable right now.

It seems likely that the main reason the relievers are struggling this year is the cummulative effect of too many appearances over the past 3 years. Ayala in particular seems tired. And I'd still like to see what Bergmann could do as a reliever.

BTW, Milledge continues to improve in the field and the enthusiasm with which he plays is really impressive. I have not seen him take plays off. Sometimes he's too aggressive at the plate, but he has a clue. It seems like he has a little trouble on the outside of the plate sometimes. If he can learn to lay off those pitches he might force the opposition to throw a few more stikes in his zone.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 23, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

2007 Bullpen: 1.34 WHIP; 3.81 ERA; 6.6K/9; 3.4BB/9; 253/321/386
2008 Bullpen: 1.47 WHIP; 4.62 ERA; 7.5K/9; 4.5BB/9; 255/342/388

Posted by: The Numbers Don't Lie | June 23, 2008 9:55 AM

-----

WOW! Look what a difference the walks make. Average of one more walk per 9 changes a bullpen from fourth best to dead last.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 10:04 AM

-----

ahem.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb/stats/2008/pitching/ml_0_byGAMES_PLYD.html

OVERUSE!!! We have 3 guys in the top 19 (AL & NL). Of course, ATL is almost as bad.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Yessirrie, I thought of you. I hate walks, indeed.

Our problem isn't our bullpen blowing out their arms and unable to throw fastballs (except Chad), which is the usual result of overuse.

No, our problem is our pitchers being unable to find the strike zone. It's repeatedly going 3-0. That's usually more of a mental problem than an overuse problem. Our relievers are going crackers out there, thinking that they can't give up even a single run (possibly true) and consequently try to paint the corners and instead paint the backstop.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

i hate walks: I'm totally with you. I want this team to win, but I'm so disgusted with how lifeless they look. I'm dazzled by WMP's ability, but he's just not getting it done. Maybe some brilliant coaching can help, who knows?

One thing I don't understand is why the Lerners don't open the wallet for a good medical staff. These guys are $5 million investments, and when they get hurt, that money's gone. For a few hundred K more, they might prevent some of that stuff. They have run big enough businesses to see that math, haven't they??

Posted by: Section 303 | June 23, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

If you're curious about the ballgirl thing in the URL, it's because I initially included in my post a link to this video, then edited it out. I'm not sure if this is a well-edited hoax, a commercial, or some biblical catch that Wily Mo Pena could only dream of. But I know that it's cool to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SqJz0NgnnE

Posted by: Chico Harlan | June 23, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

A portion of the NL Closers of the Future feature:

Washington - Nationals GM Jim Bowden maintained an extremely high asking price in trade talks for Chad Cordero and never did find a taker. Now he'll probably have to wait until 2009 in order to get anything back for the former first-round pick. With Cordero sidelined due to a muscle tear in his shoulder, the Nats have turned to Jon Rauch in the closer's role and gotten nice results. Bowden will have another tough call next month when the offers for Rauch come rolling in.

The Nationals have Cordero under control through 2009 and Rauch through 2010. If Cordero can make it back next month, even if he's not what he was, it would allow the Nationals to cash in Rauch for a prospect or two. They could then ease Cordero back into the closer's role, which is where he'd have the best chance of rebuilding his value. Cordero, though, will need to show more than an 83-84 mph fastball after returning. It might not happen for him until next year.

Regardless, moving Rauch is the right move, if only because right-handed relief pitching is the deepest area in the organization. Joel Hanrahan and Jesus Colome both have great fastballs, and though neither still has youth working in his favor, it's possible things will click and one of the two will emerge as a viable closer. Chris Schroder has used his slider to fan 85 in 78 2/3 innings as a major leaguer, though he's still trying to establish himself at age 29. Also, Luis Ayala can't be forgotten about, even if he has had a disappointing first half. With a career ERA of 3.11, he remains a reliable setup man.

The organization also possesses some of the game's most notable relief prospects in Martin Beno, Adam Carr and Zech Zinicola. The 21-year-old Beno has fanned 39 and walked 27 in 28 2/3 innings this season. He has big-time stuff if only he can learn to harness it. Carr, who was a teammate of Beno's at Oklahoma State, is still learning how to pitch after being more concerned with his offense in college, but he's fanned 140 in 117 1/3 innings as a pro. He just moved up to Double-A. Zinicola has a low-90s fastball and a plus sinker. He's the best bet of the trio to have a lengthy career in the majors, but he also has the lowest ceiling.

2009: Cordero, Rauch, Hanrahan, Colome
2010: (Free agent), Hanrahan, Carr, Zinicola
2011: (Free agent), Carr, Hanrahan, Beno


For the rest of the league, the link:
http://www.rotoworld.com/content/features/column.aspx?sport=MLB&columnid=2&articleid=30597&pg=1

Posted by: Rotoworld | June 23, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Our problem isn't our bullpen blowing out their arms and unable to throw fastballs (except Chad), which is the usual result of overuse."

1. Or their arms are sore, tight, numb or about to blow out and therefore they aim the ball --- pitches become straight.
2. Their elbows are sore and/or shoulders are tired and therefore drop their arm angles --- pitches get up in the strikezone.

Not only are their "Appearance" numbers very high, but there are also days when they warm in the bullpen but aren't used.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The ballgirl the bouncing off the wall to gain elevation *is* a cool little parkour move.

But it's all Pepsi: http://tinyurl.com/4jont9

Posted by: i hate walks | June 23, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I would believe that 756*, except for the numbers. If what you say was true, we'd expect a much higher batting average against and slugging percentage against.

2007 Bullpen: 1.34 WHIP; 3.81 ERA; 6.6K/9; 3.4BB/9; 253/321/386
2008 Bullpen: 1.47 WHIP; 4.62 ERA; 7.5K/9; 4.5BB/9; 255/342/388

They're virtually identical. The only difference isn't when the ball's in the strike zone, it's when it's NOT in the strike zone.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Joel Hanrahan and Jesus Colome both have great fastballs, and though neither still has youth working in his favor, it's possible things will click and one of the two will emerge as a viable closer."

If by "viable closer" they mean someone who will end the game immediately by loading the bases and then walking or wild pitching in the winning run, then yes I'd agree that these two guys are viable closers. Under any other definition of that term, um, no. Please God, no.

And an even worse aspect of Colome as a closer would be that he'd drag the game on by an extra 20 minutes while he's blowing the save. Again, no. Please God, no.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Tired pitchers lose command and feel. Some of the walks are because of that.

But you can't look at the blanket bullpen and say that that's it. Look at the indivdual pitchers. Rivera and Ayala were worked hard, and they're stinking this year. That's pretty likely a direct result of them having been ridden like a grand canyon mule.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Rivera is not stinking this year.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Well the team might be on a losing streak, but the bloggers are on a roll. Lots of great points above. I think a healthy Cordero would have made a difference, though I agree with Chris that his absence doesn't account for Ayala and Rivera's recent suckitude. I do think overuse might be a factor, this year and in past years, and I also think the entire 'pen might be pitching "tight" because there is rarely any room for error given the total lack of offense. It's just like everything else involving this team -- everything seems to go wrong all at once.

The title of this post should read:

Needed: Cordero (with an 89 mph fastball). A .300-hitting, base-stealing, strong defensive CF batting leadoff. A .300-hitting, .400 OBP second baseman batting second. A healthy Ryan Zimmerman. A healthy Nick Johnson. A healthy second-half-of-2007-hitting Austin Kearns. And a 40-homer-hitting left fielder. And a true #1 starter.

And I nominate NatsNut for the ballgirl slot.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, he's slighty worse than last year. He was pretty terrible up until a few weeks ago, so, yeah, he's turned a corner -- for now.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"There are a few theories about why"

Here's a theory: Jon Rauch is being wasted by being used as the closer and could help out far more if he were used at points of the game that mattered.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | June 23, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"If what you say was true, we'd expect a much higher batting average against and slugging percentage against."

I disagree. Overuse causing undue strain in the elbow and shoulder cause wildness too. Aiming the ball, elevating the ball, and not hitting your spots, in general, doesn't mean that you're still in the strikezone.

If you can pull them, please pull the stats for Ayala, Rivera and Rauch.

I also want to make it clear that I'm not saying or speculating that anyone is injured. Pitching is a complex science. I just hate to say that something is mental when the feel (arm tiredness, mechanics, etc.) doesn't feel right. There are tons of factors that go into this, but I veenture to say that frequency of ise is the most glaring issue when you talk about the Nats bullpen.

How many times does a hitter slump for a couple weeks and we think it's something mental, but instead that land on the DL later and we find out that their hamstring or back has been sore?

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"If by "viable closer" they mean someone who will end the game immediately by loading the bases and then walking or wild pitching in the winning run, then yes I'd agree that these two guys are viable closers. Under any other definition of that term, um, no. Please God, no."

Are you sure you're nota talking about Cordero?

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ayala wasn't stinking this year either, until recently. The whole "overwork" argument for why the bullpen isn't up to par this year falls apart when you consider that the overworked pitchers are the ones that have performed the best this year, more often than not. The spectacular blowups have come from the likes of Hanrahan, Colome, Sanchez, Manning, even Bergmann and Chico when they've been in the pen. Every pitcher is going to have a bad outing every now and again. It's the ones who have the bad outing every other time they pitch and not every fifth or sixth time they pitch that you don't want in your bullpen under any circumstances - if you hope to win any games, that is.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Also I agree with 506 about the walks. That's the movie I've been seeing all year. Free bases and extra outs.

And from NFA, the most unkindest cut of all:

"Friday night saw RHP Tyler Clippard matched up with top Red Sox prospect Clay Buchholz. Clippard was touched up for five runs on six hits and three walks over six innings of work, most of the damage on a three-run home run by Pawtucket 1B Chris Carter (who the Nationals acquired from Arizona and sent to Boston as part of the Wily Mo Pena trade)."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"Are you sure you're nota talking about Cordero?"

Read what I just wrote about how every pitcher is going to have a bad outing every now and then. Sure, Cordero has blown saves, and when he does it's usually in spectacular fashion. But he'll do it maybe three or four times a season. Hanrahan and Colome, if they were closers, would do it three or four times a WEEK.

(Of course the Cordero I'm referring to here is Cordero v2005 through Cordero v2007. Cordero v2008? All bets are off.)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The argument is almost futile. Is the bullpen performing poorly because of overuse or because they are pressing?

Is there an eminent solution to either problem?

The offense doesn't look poised to offer the pen any comfortable margins with which to work, and Cordero is still rehabbing in Florida. They will continue to press.

Starters cannot go as deep into games when the game is tied, close, or the team is losing. Again, since the offense doesn't look like it's about to remedy this problem, the pen will continue to be overworked.

I mean, I can tell you why the sky is blue, but knowing won't mean you'll be able to do anything about it.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 23, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

That's a bit of revisionist history on Ayala.

Not sure if the link'll come through, but here's his gamelog this season:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl.cgi?n1=ayalalu01&t=p&year=2008

Where's the good stretch? Mid-May to the end, maybe? He's been highly unreliable, especially in comparison to his past performances.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"most of the damage on a three-run home run by Pawtucket 1B Chris Carter (who the Nationals acquired from Arizona and sent to Boston as part of the Wily Mo Pena trade)."
-----
Ha! Brilliant!

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Cordero's saves have always been shaky '05-now. Walks, hits... but yes, almost all of the time he got them. They were still ugly though.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Lots of Guzman's hits are awfully ugly, too -- bounding grounders through the infield and flares that fall in front of the outfield. Do they not count?

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Not able to pull stats today, sorry, but I agree it would be good to check them out. Someone?

Let's not forget that the two-run deficit happened to be two men that had been walked, one by Ayala, one by Hanrahan. Ayla's on a 4-0 count. There wasn't even a chance for an out. At least make THEM beat you.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Chico-It's a Gatorade commercial. She's a stunt-woman who is hooked up to three wires to get that high on the wall. The same director did one for Powerade a few years ago with a woman in the stands throwing back a homer in disgust all the way to the catcher.

Posted by: flynne | June 23, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

John, why is the sky blue? I've often wondered. Water vapor?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, the eminent solution to the bullpen problems is Ray King.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@IHW: I gave you a shout out today on the Fire Jim Bowden blog. Just fyi, in case you're interested:

http://firejimbowden.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 23, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Posted by: SPAM ALERT | June 23, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Cordero's saves have always been shaky '05-now. Walks, hits... but yes, almost all of the time he got them. They were still ugly though."

I'll take an ugly save over an ugly blown save any day. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

It's the Tyndall effect. Blue has a shorter wavelength, so it is scattered more easily when passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Kind of like how Manning's pitches are easily scattered throughout the outfield bleachers.

It's the same reason the sunset is yellow. The sun is further away, and all the blue has been scattered by the time it reaches our eyes. Kind of like how a Hanrahan pitch bounces in front of the plate.

-----

John, why is the sky blue? I've often wondered. Water vapor?

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 23, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Starters not going deep into games is an issue, esp. when the team doesn't have a designated long reliever who can eat up 3-4 innings at a time. Then you get 2-3 guys going 1-2 innings each, another contributor to overuse.

I was going to go back and pick some pitching box scores to illustrate my point, but all of the lines were terrible and couldn't look at such horrible stats anymore.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

From Ad Age, June 8, 2008:
It's certainly an amazing fabrication of an amazing play. The ball girl is a stuntwoman who was lifted by cables as she planted her feet against the wall, a sequence cut into actual game footage and enhanced with a bit of CGI and a perfectly natural-sounding announcer track. This guy is the quintessential play-by-play man, very much like Bob Carpenter of the Washington Nationals, especially with his postscript as the ball girl resumes her folding chair with the bottle of Gatorade at her feet.

Posted by: flynnie | June 23, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"I'll take an ugly save over an ugly blown save any day. Wouldn't you?"

I would prefer to have neither, but these days, I'd take any I could get.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Starters not going deep into games is an issue, esp. when the team doesn't have a designated long reliever who can eat up 3-4 innings at a time. Then you get 2-3 guys going 1-2 innings each, another contributor to overuse."

This is good point, and shows two problems Manny often has with the pen.

1) He occasionally yanks the starters too early. I rarely have a problem with him pinch-hitting for a starter (the value of that extra AB is generally worth more than the extra IP). But often, he yanks the guy just because he's put in his five innings

2) He rarely uses a reliever for more than one inning at a time, unless it's something like Rivera's emergency appearance last week. Of course, given how he tried to stretch Ayala yesterday and it backfired, maybe that's not an optimal strategy either!

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I posted the following on another thread by mistake.


Well we had more of the same yesterday. Perhaps Acat can experiment with this train wreck. Hey he is not going to mess anything up. I might try Pena in the four spot and move Young to the three. Milledge is not a three hitter. I think Acta should bat him fifth or sixth. I know Pena can't hit a lick but he might see better pitches in the 4 spot. The two spot helped out Dukes. The line - up could be as follows:

Guzman
Dukes
Young
Pena
Flores
Milledge
Belliard
Lopez
Pitcher

I wish Acta would try experimenting. He sends the same wreck out every day. For God's sake man try something new!!

On a different topic, I saw some poster named Ray Kings Gut (RKG) took exception to some posters critizing the team. He referred to us as Red Sox wannabees or interlopers who do not live in the Washington but criticize the team. Just because he lives in Washington does not make it his team. I do not consider myself a Red Sox wannbee or anything but a fan of the Nats. You see unlike RKG I would have cheered for the team if they had moved to Charlotte, Las Vegas or San Juan. I have followed this team since the days of Parc Jarry in Montreal. I saw Jim Mudcat Grant, Coco Laboy, Don Clendenon, Rusty Staub and Bill Stoneman play for this team.

The Expos were the first team to recognize the importance of developing their own talent. They could not afford FA's. Even if they could, they knew they could not convince them to come to Montreal. They developed such players as Steve Rogers, Scott Sanderson, David Palmer, Delino Deshields, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Larry Parrish, Warren Comrartie, Tim Raines, Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Vlad Guerrero, Javier Vasques, Orlando Cabrera, Andres Galarraga, Cliff Lee, Brandon Philips, Grady Sizemore, etc..They traded for such players as Pedro Martinez and Jonh Wettland. They reclaimed outcasts such as Dennis Martinez. The Expos were also a training ground for GM's. Guys like Dave Dombrowski and Bill Stoneman got their start there. I can assure you the crowd running the Nats (Jimbo) cannot hold a candle to the former Expos GM's.

Unlike RKG I do not care where this team is located. I will always follow them. I will always support them regardless how the play. I will cheer them and I will criticize them if they play as they are now. Bowden's job is to do two things. Develop the farm system and uncover potential major league players. Bowden has not done a good job with the latter. He let Brando Phillips slip by when Cleveland released him. He could have traded for Cliff Lee when the latter was demoted last year. He was no where to be seen when Dan Uggla and Josh Hamilton were available.

Actaully the team that maximizes it resources are the Marlins. You should note that the Marlins FO is the former Expos FO prior to MLB purchasing the Expos from Loria. When Loria purchased the Marlins he took the Expos FO, including scouts, etc. If Kasten was smart he would go after Benefest.

RKG - The Nats do not need fans who accept mediocrity. This team has higher standards and a history to live up to.

In the meantime Acta should earn his salary and start experimenting with this lineup. I think he can improve the three and four hole positions.


Posted by: mjames | June 23, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Ten reasons to love the Nationals:

1) They are here.
2) Ryan Zimmerman
3) Dedication to building from the Farm System
4) Refusal to spend wastefully in the FA market
5) The hustle of some of the players like Dukes, Milledge, Flores, Zimmerman, and Guzman
6) The stadium
7) The radio announcers
8) The willingness to give second chances to players
9) Jon Rauch
10) Manny Acta

Ten reasons to be frustrated with the Nationals:

1) Hitting philosphy and execution
2) Frequency of injury problems
3) Declining customer service at concession stands
4) WMP
5) FLOP
6) Third Base Coaching (not as bad recently, but too frequent)
7) Baserunning errors
8) Failure to find productive inexepensive free agent parts
9) Failure to throw first pitch strikes
10) Failure to take pitches (see also #1 batting approach)

I didn't put an overabundance of analysis into this, so I'm sure I am missing some important things on both sides.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 23, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"8) Failure to find productive inexepensive free agent parts"

Odalis Perez, Dmitri Young, Ronnie Belliard, Aaron Boone, Tim Redding, Jesus Colome (last year's version) and Wil Nieves would disagree. That's this year's version. We've got lots more examples from the last few years.

Any of 'em truly impact players? nope, of course not. but then they wouldn't be inexpensive if they were.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

mjames- What a magnificent post!

Posted by: flynnie | June 23, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

mjames,

I suspect RKGF was more referring to the hordes of Nationals fans who live around, but not inside the D of C. For some reason, people inside the line get confused about the Nationals and this is just one evidence of that. I further suspect the Red Sox comment stems from the tides of collegiate popped-collar "B" hats seen all over.

For me and you and a select few this team is our first-favorite. For many, many people in the area who have moved here from other teams' markets and, not surprisingly, haven't embraced a last-place team, the Nats are just a second favorite team. That's fine by me, but it does raise the heckles of some folks.

Don't worry, mjames, we're glad to have you as part of the bedrock of Nationals Nation. ;-)

Posted by: i hate walks | June 23, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"He was no where to be seen when Dan Uggla and Josh Hamilton were available."

Not to nitpick too much, but Bowden could not have selected either player. In 2005, the Nationals did not have an open spot on their 40-man roster in time for the Rule 5 draft, so they could not have selected Uggla (the Alfonso Soriano deal had not become official yet). And Hamilton was selected three picks before the Nationals grabbed Jesus Flores in 2006.

Posted by: Brian | June 23, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"But often, he yanks the guy just because he's put in his five innings"

chris, believe it or not, there's some decent logic in doing that with several of our pitchers, but most notably redding. if you look at his box scores, it's usually in the 6th inning where he gets knocked around (generally the third time through the lineup). he's been relatively consistent with that. i'm pretty sure some of our young starters have been in the same boat.

so... the question is... do you leave someone like redding in for the 6th where he's likely to get hit hard (as past performance would tell you) or do you go to the bullpen *before* that happens?

it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Posted by: 231 | June 23, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

How often does Manny really yank a pitcher when it's not to put in a pinch hitter? And given the Nationals offense, doesn't he have to bet on that 20% chance with Willie Harris?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The last time I checked, the Nats have a larger fanbase, higher revenue, and a brand-spanking-new-stadium, so I think that we can (eventually) shoot a little higher than the Marlins.

Since when did winning a championship with a medium to high payroll become less valid than winning with a rock-bottom payroll?

I, for one, am quite worried about Boswell says in his last chat...http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/06/02/DI2008060201702.html

Tom Boswell: I have had this exact "discussion" with Kasten __whom I consider excellent__ since the first day he arrived with the team. I make it very clear that I understand his motives. He wants to TOP what he did in Atlanta __build the perfect team in the perfect way and make the Nats a monument to his methods. So, he is trying to "shoot the moon." I have been very blunt and said, "This team is not your experimentral toy. It's of enormous importance to Washington. This team can provide enormous pleasure to people and economic benefits to the city EVEN IF IT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING to enhance Stan Kasten's Hall of Fame plaque."

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"if you look at his box scores, it's usually in the 6th inning where he gets knocked around (generally the third time through the lineup)."

Sure. But it's not like there's a switch that flips that turns Redding into mush once that inning changes. There's a middle ground there. It's obviously a case-by-case, game-by-game adjustment.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Mark Zuckerman, of that OTHER paper, hits the nail on the head here:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/23/so-how-longs-the-wait/#comments

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

"Devoted seamheads are willing to put up with a poor product on the field if their favorite club appears to be making a reasonable effort to improve said team.

There is one caveat: Fans need to see at least a few encouraging signs that their team is taking steps toward becoming a legitimate contender. Young players must be given a chance to learn and grow. The organization must have a plan and must execute it. "

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

that describes me, in a Nutshell.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 23, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget you NL teams are in the 1800s and have to consider batting when deciding to change your pitcher, not just the huge amount of stress pitching takes on their poor minds.

Posted by: Hank Steinbrenner | June 23, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

So the only legitimate Nationals' fans are ones that a) followed them since they were in Montreal, or b) didn't follow the game or support a team until the Nats came here, at which point they adopted the Nats as their favorite team.

That would explain a lot of the idiocy around here. Not to mention mutual (four syllable word I shouldn't use or I'll get yelled at by a thread nanny).

Posted by: natty lite | June 23, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

mjames suggests the following:

"Perhaps Acat can experiment with this train wreck."

I concur. Toonces is driving up from Columbus now.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Natty Lite - if you are referring to my post then you completely missed the point, and you'll only get it if you read the whole article.

if not, then my bad.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 23, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Toonces is driving up from Columbus now."

It's too bad LoDuca's not in the car with him.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Sure. But it's not like there's a switch that flips that turns Redding into mush once that inning changes. There's a middle ground there. It's obviously a case-by-case, game-by-game adjustment."

no, there's no "switch." just a fairly consistent circumstance that can't be ignored. redding consistently runs out of steam in the 6th, whether it's because he's going on his third turn through the lineup or because he's thrown too many pitches. he may never be a 100+ pitch guy. but when it happens consistently like that, you can't ignore it.

and, once again, the damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. leave him in, he gets hit hard. pull him, your pen gets overworked and eventually gets hit hard.

before the livo folks chime in, livo's been averaging 6 innings this season, so he's not the horse he once was...

Posted by: 231 | June 23, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't if you're focusing on generalities with one specific pitcher. Don't make me go back through the game logs with all of 'em!

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Redding's not a good example of that anyway.

Looking through his game log, there's only one start where he left pitches on the board (ie not 90+ or getting bombed), and he was PH for in the 7th in that one. (5/14 against the Mets)

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Don't make me go back through the game logs with all of 'em!"

Oh come on, Chris. You know you want to.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 23, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

why is schroder in aaa? why?

Posted by: theraph | June 23, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

A little late, but from yesterday's gamer:
"During the next half-inning (after getting hit with the line drive], [Lannan] treated his right hand with ammonia."

Ammonia?? Why ammonia?

Posted by: CE | June 23, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Because Manning and Sanches were pitching better in AAA and we wanted to stabilize the bullpen.

Seriously.

No, really!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

A theraph sighting! Schroder is on the DL.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Ammonia?? Why ammonia?"

Doctor's orders. That would be Dr. Nick from The Simpsons, of course. (Dr. Hibbert costs too much.)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Ammonia = better than Moises Alou's method.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about the ammonia, too, unless there was a cut?

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 23, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Jellyfish sting.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"Ammonia?? Why ammonia?"

Added benefits...the smell...low-budget smelling salts. Yes John, wake up...it wasn't a nightmare...you DO pitch for the Nationals.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure any 23 year old pitcher is going to be sad about being on the Nats. More like "heh, heh, heh, with these guys, I'm guaranteed a spot in the show"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Yep, 506, that's what all of the draft picks say, arguably the quickest route to the show in all of the majors.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, I love this Bowden quote from the Times. Bowden on Marrero's broken fibula:

"When you have a setback like this, it obviously affects your timetable to the big leagues," Bowden said. "When you miss three months, or five months, depending on how you look at it, it sets you back five months. But long run, he'll be fine. We'll get him healthy. And luckily at first base, if you're going to have a broken leg somewhere, first base is probably the best place for it to happen."


Geez Jimbo. Please don't mention broken legs and first basemen. I can't get that image out of my head!

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

yeah, ive been out in the woods for a while. schroder is on the dl? when did that happen? what kind of injury?

i havent been following the team for a few weeks, other than the box scores, so forgive my ignorance on the matter

Posted by: theraph | June 23, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

mjames suggests the following:

"Perhaps Acat (sic) can experiment with this train wreck."

I did a little homework of my own because it was my impression that Manny was doing nothing *but* experimenting.

Since June 1 here have been the lineups

1:
Lopez (2x)
Guzman (18x)

2:
Guzman (2x)
Dukes (18x)

3:
Boone (1x)
Milledge (19x)

4:
Young (14x)
Boone (6x)

5:
Milledge (1x)
Boone (3x)
Casto (3x)
Flores (10x)
Belliard (2)
Pena (1x)

6:
Flores (5x)
Lopez (2x)
Boone (1x)
Casto (4x)
Pena (1x)
Belliard (7x)

7:
Pena (2x)
LoDuca (1x)
Lopez (11x)
Boone (1x)
Belliard (1x)
Nieves (1x)
Casto (1x)
Langerhans (1x)
Dukes (1x)

8:
Pena (8x)
Langerhans (2x)
Nieves (2x)
Harris (4x)
LoDuca (2x)
Lopez (1x)
Orr (1x)

Granted, Manny doesn't fool much with 1-4, but who else would he put up there?

Boone has the most lineup spots at 5. But guess who ties with 4 different lineup spots this month? Pena and Lopez. You can't say he's not trying everything for those guys.

The only player who has not been in two or more spots is Young, who sticks at 4 (14 out of 20).

Have you got any other experimental ideas that hasn't been tried?


Posted by: NatsNut | June 23, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Another week and at least another 5 games down the drain. The dark side is only 27 days away! Manny and JIMBO (tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock).

Posted by: tippy canoe | June 23, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

From a fan's point of view the most frustrating thing about THIS bullpen is watching them routinely let inherited runners score. It does not show up on the bullpen ERA but it sure sucks for the poor starter who deep inside knows that he had a better chance of finishing the inning than the guy brought in "relief". I thought there was some poetic justice in yesterday's Ayala's ERA skying due to Hanrahan letting the walked runner score. Just to be nice, Hanrahan also let his own runner in as well.

What this bullpen lacks is a reliever who can come in and get a strike out when nothing but a strike out will save the inning. We seem to have too many "contact" relievers, kind of in the Cordero mold. The blend of "contact" relievers and poor control just makes for some excruciating watching in the late innings.

Posted by: Dale | June 23, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Have you got any other experimental ideas that hasn't been tried?"

Send up a pitcher as a pinch-hitter. Oh wait...

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"What this bullpen lacks is a reliever who can come in and get a strike out when nothing but a strike out will save the inning."


I have FEELING in my GUT that I know who you're talKING about.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 23, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

before the grammar lady shows up:

Have you got any other experimental ideas that *haven't* been tried?

Posted by: NatsNut | June 23, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What we lack is a bullpen that can not walk people.

Like I said, I don't have time to run stats today, but the amazing NatsNut has wowed us once today with some great digging (I copied it to analyze on the metro home -- hahaha, yes, I did) maybe she could check on how the Nats bullpen ranks on K/9?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Meant BB/9, of course, though K/9 would be valuable, too.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

ooo, I just realized something: Steven is wasting his time (I know, but a reason why): Any team that gets swept by the Nats is penalized one GM or one manager, and depending on severity, maybe both. Sometimes even a whiffing coach, too.

But there is no one for DC to get swept by to invoke such a sanction here. Therefore Jimbo CAN'T be fired.

Wow, that's depressing.

*************
Another week and at least another 5 games down the drain. The dark side is only 27 days away! Manny and JIMBO (tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock).

Posted by: tippy canoe | June 23, 2008 1:35 PM

Posted by: Section 3 of my couch | June 23, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Looking through his game log, there's only one start where he left pitches on the board (ie not 90+ or getting bombed), and he was PH for in the 7th in that one. (5/14 against the Mets)

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 12:42 PM "

chris, i think that illustrates my point perfectly. if redding is already at 90+ pitches and on his third turn through the lineup, leaving him in is a prescription for disaster. if you look at those games in which he gave up 4+, with the exception of pitt, he gave up multiple runs in the 6th as he was nearing/breaking his 100th pitch. and in three games that he gave up just 3 runs, he gave up 1 in the 6th against arizona, 3 in the 6th against atlanta, and 1 in the 6th against the mets.

my point is that if you left him in to finish the 6th or even go into the 7th, you were virtually guaranteed to give up more runs. it's a pattern with him, combination of pitch count and going thru the roster too many times. manny has to go to the bullpen to attempt to hold the opponent where it is. redding is a guy that'll give you 5 to 5 2/3 innings. that's who he is.

thus damned if you do (leave redding in to give up more runs as he runs out of gas) or damned if you don't (and put in the bullpen who's probably overtaxed and will likely give up inherited runners). it's been mentioned here before that people think acta leaves in redding *too long*, knowing that he has this fairly consistent pattern.

Posted by: 231 | June 23, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I am usually very pessimistic when it comes to this team, but I've been staring at the standings (contemplating how worse it could get, if possible) and then it hit me!

We have 30 wins (2nd worst in all of baseball). Yet look at who is just above us with 32 wins... The Rockies and Padres! Two teams who were supposed to be competing for the wild-card. And just above them at 35 wins are the Dodgers, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The Dodgers and Cleveland were supposed to be major forces this year, Cinny has the MLB ERA leader, 2 hot rookies, and a guy who just hit HR 601. And yet we only have 5 wins less than them!

Last year, we were just at of above this tier of garbage and were rewarded with the 9th pick. This year, surely, slightly below all of these teams, we'll still be just about the same as them, only we will draft even higher. Pure genius, Nats mgmt!

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Section 3, you're a riot. An irreverent riot.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Stealing from Stark's chat today on ESPN, if he never throws another ball, is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer? My answer later.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If Bowden doesn't can Acta for apparently not giving a damn about results, then he should at least sack Lenny Harris. That's his job, and he's neglected it badly. The team hits in the .230's, that's down to Harris, because it's far and away the worst in the bigs. It's Acta's fault for putting a 22 yr old in the third spot. Milledge in that spot is absolutely killing the offense. You could get more out of Belliard or Guzman in the 3rd spot. What's the use of getting on when there's no one to knock you in? Milledge will be fine over time, but he's lacking even moderate familiarity with opposing pitchers. He's still seeing people for the first time. There's just no way, logically, that having him learn how to hit in the big leagues, and at the same time be put in the most highly productive spot in the order is anything but death blow to the team's results. There's just no way around it anymore. There's no way this team is as bad as they're playing. If they get blown out this week, (Lackey, Garland, Santana the next three days), and the O's do their new comeback thing every night, they'll be 25 games under .500. I guess when it gets that bad, then they look for someone to whack. I know I would. And I consider myself an objective observer.

Posted by: Brue | June 23, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Pure genius. Look at the 07 season. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/alltime/season

We were the best (in the NL) of the crap teams and quite a wide margin from the next tier up.

Posted by: 756* | June 23, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

We're all wasting our time. Isn't that what this is? A pastime?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 23, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Stealing from Stark's chat today on ESPN, if he never throws another ball, is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer? My answer later."

How about if he never throws another strike? That make any difference?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 23, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

But there is no one for DC to get swept by to invoke such a sanction here. Therefore Jimbo CAN'T be fired.

Posted by: [cough] Mariners | June 23, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

But there is no one for DC to get swept by to invoke such a sanction here. Therefore Jimbo CAN'T be fired.

Posted by: [cough] Mariners | June 23, 2008 2:13 PM

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

nope! you guys had your chance!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

What about being swept by ourselves? The way we give away outs (and now, home runs!) I bet we could do that! Actually, I bet we already have.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 23, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

So Brue --- what would your lineup look like with Guzman or Belliard in the three hole? Who's leading off? Lopez? While I agree that Milledge should not be the #3 hitter, he's there basically because of Zim's injury. Personally, I would like to see Milledge and Dukes flip places, have WMP DFA'd (and hope he makes it through waivers so that he can get his swing back in the minors), then just go balls to the wall and bring up Rog Bernadina from AA H'burg. He's hitting .333/.392/.494 with 25 SB's so far this year. He can play all three OF positions, he could lead off (or could be placed lower in the lineup to give some speed down there). Currently, WMP, Casto, Langerhans or Harris aren't going to get it done. Why not let Bernadina (or Daniel) come up and get some experience. Sometimes all it takes is some new blood to spark a team ... (of course it could totally blow up in our faces, but I'd rather take a chance than continue on with this status quo).

Posted by: e | June 23, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'll rush to stand by Manny Acta as manager, but I agree with the Lenny Harris thing. There are at least four people in the organization who should be able to insist on the firing of Lenny Harris: Ted Lerner, Stan Kasten, Jim Bowden, and Manny Acta. If any one of them will take a stand on the issue then perhaps we can get a decent approach in place before next year. There are numerous candidates available. This has gone on long enough.

I just can't see blaming Acta though. Milledge may actually be gaining valuable experience in the 3 spot. And we're not going to the playoffs anyway.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut

Look at my suggested lineup. Try Young in the three spot. He is our best hitter and Pena in the four. Acta should just try it for awhile. He has not fooled with the 3 and 4 yet. By keeping Milledge in the 3 , he is killing the kid. At the end of the year Lastings will be talking to himself and asking if he can be the captain of the golf team.

Posted by: mjames | June 23, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"At the end of the year Lastings will be talking to himself and asking if he can be the captain of the golf team."

I don't know about Lastings, but I do recall a great golfing performance on the part of Elijah Dukes...

Posted by: that, my friends, is very broke | June 23, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This series would be a lot more fun if Jose Guillen were still here...

Posted by: Jason | June 23, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This series would be a lot more fun if Jose Guillen were still here...

Posted by: Jason | June 23, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Brue, nice to see you made it over here.

question though.

is Milledge in the 3 hole, your only gripe with Acta?

just as a note, Zimmerman is only 23, and he's been in the 3 hole for 2 years now. so it isn't just a matter of "putting a 22-year old in the 3 hole". Because we've had that already, and it worked out somewhat. the problem is a little deeper than that.

I agree that he shouldn't be batting 3rd though, he should be batting 2nd, imo. I think the team is trying to make Milledge into something he's not (a Power Hitter, RBI threat), instead of letting him be what he *can be*(a table setter, with speed and a little bit of pop). when he was settled in the 2-hole earlier in the season, he did well with the approach of simply getting on base, and without being relied on as a major rbi-producer.

Dmitri should be batting third. Dukes or Flores should be batting 4th until Zimmerman returns.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 23, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Recommendation: Go Tuesday.
___________________

"John Lackey, Jon Garland, & Ervin Santana

This should be fun

Posted by: Angels Probables | June 23, 2008 8:40 AM "

Posted by: PTBNL | June 23, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Recommendation: Go Tuesday."

Worst comes to worst, at least you get a free t-shirt.

Posted by: glass half full? | June 23, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

506, does "getting swept by ourselves" mean that we've been outscored by the number of unearned runs + inherited runners scored + walks that come around to score + runs scored on ridiculous plays like HRs by opposing pitchers batting for the first time (in each case, without duplication)?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 23, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JMad.

You hit the nail - too much pressure, and too much rbi pressure for Milledge. Acta's let it go on for way too long, imo. I also think that Zimmerman in the 3-hole has hurt the team overall, because even if he did fairly well last year, the toll it takes eventually wipes out any progress they may see. It's a mental strain, and like you said, Milledge is much better at the top of the lineup where's he's simply causing trouble, and not trying to clean it up. Let's say you flip Guzman and Milledge. That way, Guzman has the chance to knock Dukes AND Milledge in, whereas before, he's got the pitcher in front of him. Guzman will see many more pitches from the stretch too.
You don't put guys in positions because you want them to do it, you put them there because it's the best place for them. There's no way Milledge's development curve would be any more acute by hitting third as opposed to 1st, 2nd or 6th. No way. Not if he's in the lineup everyday, and he is. That's all he really needs is at-bats, and it doesn't need to cost the entire team to get them. Veterans in the 3rd and 4th slots, and work out from there.

About Acta - I really think he's in over his head. The lack of emotion is just another way of expressing fear. I don't think he really knows his team. He doesn't like to bunt in certain situations, which seems rigid to me - and announcing it to the press as such is a tactical blunder on top of that. He also made a comment the other day referring to reporters and saying 'nobody picked us to do that well anyway' or something to that effect. It's one thing to think that, but it's entirely another thing to say it.

Posted by: Brue | June 23, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Brue,

I don't like the idea of Guz in the three hole. The way he tends to slap balls through the infield, the two-thirds-plus of ABs where he doesn't get a hit, he's hitting a tailor-made GIDP.

Posted by: Guz != RBI man | June 23, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

i have to disagree that "lack of emotion is just another way of expressing fear." that's a very narrow view. some guys just aren't lou pinella. now, if you want to argue that's not the best kind of manager for this team right now, i think that's a fair argument (not sure i agree, but it's fair). but i don't think it's fair to say that acta is managing from fear, which is how i interpreted your comment.

Posted by: 231 | June 23, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm up.

Posted by: New post | June 23, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Guz slaps some balls. He also has more hits than anybody in the league, if I'm not mistaken. How bad could it be, like I said, he gets more opportunities to hit against the stretch, plus Dukes and Milledge are steal threats, which increases the likelihood of him getting fastballs to hit.

Posted by: Brue | June 23, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Brue - I'm with you on the Milledge #1, Guz #3 experiment. I want Milledge just focusing on the skills a lead off guy should possess, like working the count and getting on base. His pitches per plate appearance is 4.0, while Guz's is 3.1. I think Guz's game is less working the count than driving the ball. He's .365 with RISP. He does hit his fair share of ground balls, but at least we'll get to see ED taking out a few 2d basemen trying to turn double plays.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

About the fear comment, when a manager goes off on a guy like Dukes (the biggest and the baddest) in front of the whole world, then I think you're operating out of fear. That's generally a way of showing how tough you are in a safe circumstance. Dukes and his emotion just show Manny up anyway, he wants this controlled environment where his coaches are asleep along with him, and when somebody acts like they want to win, it's like the player supercedes them somehow, and he punishes them. That's what guys who coach little league do. I'm just going by what I see. Manny's probably a helluva coach, but managing is a whole different deal where you have to manage 25 professional expectations every day. Maybe he's too young right now, I don't know.

Posted by: Brue | June 23, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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