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The Power Game

This might be an avenue I explore with greater depth in the game story for tomorrow's paper -- we'll see how Game 2 goes -- but allow me to start off with a premise.

That is: The Nationals, as currently constituted, finally bear some resemblance to the team management has in mind for 2009. At the start of next season, Jesus Flores will be 24. Ryan Zimmerman will be 24. Emilio Bonifacio will be 23. Lastings Milledge will be 23, about to turn 24. All of those players started today against the Rockies. All will probably start next year in late March/April. Count Elijah Dukes in the mix (he'll be 24) and there, that's your nucleus.

For good reason, the Nats like that.

But even with that nucleus, the Nationals need more of one thing in particular: Power.

The weakness in power numbers we've seen this season only somewhat reflects on the aforementioned. (They are young, and their power numbers presumably will improve with time. Plus, several have missed months due to injuries.) Nonetheless, the '08 Nats are 14th in the NL in homers and last in the majors in OBP + SLG. Entering today, only one other team in the majors (San Fran) had nobody with more than 10 HRs.

Now today, in Game 1, we've seen the benefit of the quick strike. Lastings Milledge has hit two homers. The Nats had two doubles and a triple among their first nine hits. Each of the Nats' first five runs scored because of an extra-base hit.

I asked Manny Acta today if he believed his team could contend without adding more power. He thinks the lineup needs more power before his lineup can become legit.

His words: "We do need more power. We need probably a big power threat in the middle of our lineup, preferably that can hit from the left side."

By Chico Harlan  |  August 7, 2008; 5:07 PM ET
 
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Next: Now, on to Game 2

Comments

I'll take power hitters for $10,000, please.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

A nice standing-ovation for Mr. Bergmann, ladies and gentlemen.

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

By the Denver fans? Classy, if so.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

His words: "We do need more power. We need probably a big power threat in the middle of our lineup, preferably that can hit from the left side."


Mr. Lerner, Mr. Kasten may I introduce you to Mark Teixeira? Please?! Make Manny happy ...

Posted by: e | August 7, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

No, no - a virtual standing-O I should have said. :)

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing, e. Maybe we need to start a petition like the O's fans have?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my mistake, Patty. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The power outage is obvious but the Nats can be competitive without it.

Chico's line-up ought to force Manny to play classic small ball -- get guys on base with good plate discipline, singles, good team speed . . . we can create runs that way, and win with solid pitching and a bit of defense too.

Power seems less reliable. And power tends to whiff, a lot (I'm looking at you, Adam Dunn).

Plus, if you really wanted to develop team power, you need more than one power guy -- you'd need to protect that guy in the lineup somehow, or else it's too easy to pitch around power.

So let's go with small ball for now. I'd rather add a high OBP guy than a boomer who whiffs all the time.

Posted by: You are what you are | August 7, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my mistake, Patty. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Shell? Are they saving Hanrahan for the second game?

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

D'oh - I posted into a double play!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Power seems less reliable. And power tends to whiff, a lot (I'm looking at you, Adam Dunn).

Posted by: You are what you are | August 7, 2008 5:31 PM


ARRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sabermatricians Everywhere | August 7, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan up and throwing per Charlie.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

And now it's a save situation.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

John Feinstein said it in his new book--"The immortal Jason Bergmann"

Posted by: NatsNut | August 7, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I've got to check whether my local library has that.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

This feels at little like the old days with the Chief.

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

shudder (love ya, Chief)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

OK - one more to go. Breathe.

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Whew...a Bang Zoom. Gotta go get some dinner.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

And now a little Johnny and Ray to bide the time. 20 minutes is about the right amount of Ray.

Posted by: mjwies11, washington, d.c. | August 7, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

*sheds tear for Cordero

Posted by: Offense/offensive | August 7, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Win #43 means the '62 Mets record is safe for another year. Hurrah

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | August 7, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn is a force on offense. Even Stevie Wonder can see this.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | August 7, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile, FLop goes 0/3, but gets on base, down three in the 9th and gets an SB that probably should have been fielder's indifference.

...but Manny hits another bomb and drives in 2 more in an LA win. I hate what he is and I hate what he did to get there, but there's no denying how good that guy is when he wants to be.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 7, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

LOOK AT ADAM DUNN'S OBP

Posted by: Hot Carl | August 7, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can all start a fund to get Teixeira. Well, maybe a small fund.

I love seeing Mr. Bonafacio leg out those triples. I get little warm fuzzies whenever he comes up in the lineup.

Posted by: Dale | August 7, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody seen the numbers the Rockies lineup has put up lifetime against Perez?

This could be a very different game...

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 7, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

This feels at little like the old days with the Chief.

Posted by: Patty | August 7, 2008 5:36 PM

shudder (love ya, Chief)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 5:38 PM

*******************************************

Specifically, August 24, 2007, Nats 5, Col 1, bottom of the 9th. Chad Cordero facing 2-3-4. Tulowitzki singles. Holliday homers. 5-3. Helton singles. Atkins doubles Helton to 3rd. Hawpe walks. Bases loaded. Rauch comes in and gives up 2 run single to Torrealba. 5-5. Reached on E6 (Ground Ball to Weak SS); Kaz Matsui grounds to D'Angelo Jiminez, E-6, 6-5 Rockies win, and that's as sick as I've ever been watching the Nats, and I thought it was going to happen again! Oh, did Hanrahan live dangerously? Everything he served up was hit hard until that last pop-up, but, NATS WIN! NATS WIN!

Posted by: flynnie | August 7, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Look at me!

Posted by: new post | August 7, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

But can hitters learn to improve in OBP? It seems that some guys have it, and others just do not.

Posted by: Tony D | August 7, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I was just saying that to my hubby, GRIP.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the recap, flynnie. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira? Please!

Posted by: NatsFanMA | August 7, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

yes, we need power--badly. I think Holliday is ideal: young, great OPS and can actually play the outfield well. He'll be a free agent in 2010, I think. Most of the other outfielders who will be free agents in the next year or two do not have those three things going for them simultaneously. In the meantime, we can see if Willy Mo changes from Willy Less in 2009.

Posted by: johnDC | August 8, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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Peace!!

Posted by: jackie Obrian | August 12, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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