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Among The Worst

The Nationals ought to be salivating tonight at the chance to face Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. The guy's five starts this year have yielded outings of 3-2/3 IP, 1 IP, 1-1/3 IP, 4-2/3 IP, and 2-2/3 IP. As a starter, he has a 21.60 ERA; opponents are hitting .507 against him. Overall, in 21-1/3 innings this year, Wang has a 14.34 ERA.

Just out of curiosity, I used the powers of statspass.com to sort through the highest single-season ERAs, over the last 20 years, among pitchers who have pitched at least 20 innings. Wang is worse than anybody.

Here's what my query returned (sorted by highest ERA).

1. Wang, 2009 NYY - 14.34 ERA (21-1/3 innings)
2. Orel Hersisher, 2000 LD - 13.14 ERA (24-2/3 innings)
3. Albie Lopez, 2003 KC - 12.71 ERA (22-2/3 innings)
4. Jim Bower, 2006 Bos-SD -12.15 ERA (20 innings)
5. Paul Abbott, 2002 Sea - 11.96 ERA (26-1/3 innings)

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 3:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow a chance for a win!!! Unlike last night where we had a chance for a win against CC, much more valuable!

Why can't this team bring on an extra coach. One that is a center field specialist to work with Dukes. There is no question Dukes has the talent, he just needs more help/work on how to read the ball off the bat.

Posted by: anyone1 | June 17, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

So either one of two things will happen tonight:

1. The Nats pound Wang into the ground after two innings, but can't hold their lead and the Yanks roar back to win it in the bottom of the 9th.

2. Wang -- as have several other opposing pitchers this season -- rediscovers his mojo by pitching against the Nats and gets his first win of the season.

I would love to predict a win in option 1, but am too gun-shy to do it.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

From Jon Heyman, SI, June 17th.

Nationals president Stan Kasten declined to answer any questions about the current situation (but in characteristic fashion, still felt the need to critique my stories so far). He didn't say, but it's also possible Kasten didn't like me suggesting 1) that the bonus system would not be wrecked by a big bonus for No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, and 2) that they might consider Bobby Valentine at a time when Acta's still in the job.

Kasten won't comment on anything. But one GM said of the idea of the Nationals hiring Valentine, "They should do it. But they won't do it. They're too cheap."

Posted by: JDB1 | June 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

They did. His name is Grissom, and he worked wonders on Lastings Milledge.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Why can't this team bring on an extra coach. One that is a center field specialist to work with Dukes. There is no question Dukes has the talent, he just needs more help/work on how to read the ball off the bat.

I thought that is what Marquis Grissom was here for. Why Rizzo wouldn't be trying to get Keny Lofton or Jim Edmonds as previous posters have suggested I have no idea. If either one had been in place from game one, I think we would be looking at at least 8-10 more wins.

Posted by: chris88 | June 17, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

speaking of ERAs, check this out:

Nats Pitchers 2009:

Under St. Claire: 278 ER in 440 IP, 5.69 ERA

Under McCatty: 50 ER in 113.2 IP, 3.98 ERA

I'm not exactly sure how much can be realistically taken from this, due to sample size and roster changes...but still, it's very interesting.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

So just to recap, Jon Heyman ...

tan:

1) wouldn't talk to you and actually had the nerve to give you some negative feedback about your reporting;

2) wouldn't respond to your offer to help the team out with a suggestion about how much the team should pay its #1 pick; and

3) wasn't enthusiastic about your suggestion about who the team should hire to replace the manager it hasn't fired yet (and indeed, hasn't even said it will fire).

So ... you went to one of the team's competitors to get an (anonymous) comment on your managerial suggestion - one which reinforces a self-serving view that the Nats are "cheap" (and thus, it would seem, free agents and draft picks should sign with another team - perhaps the team for whom our anonymous GM works).

Solid work.

[NOTE: I don't doubt that Stan's rough treatment of the press is contributing to the team's image problem - but with stories like this, can you blame him?]

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 17, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

And of course, by "tan" I mean "Stan" ...

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 17, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If there is ever a game we SHOULD WIN, it should be this one.

Posted by: timb67 | June 17, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Please, let's be careful of the reverse-reverse lock tonight.

Posted by: erocks33 | June 17, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Yankees think of this as a AAAA rehab start for Wang.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Staying positive, the Nats should feel confident because John Lannan is starting, and the law of averages -- the one that says even the worst big league team of all time should win at least 2 of every 10 games -- is the Nats' favor.

Posted by: nats24 | June 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

In line with Heyman's writing, take advantage of the SI Vault online and go back at look at some of the writing they've done in the past, when it comes to baseball phenoms. There's an article on Rick Ankiel titled "The Can't Miss Kid" by Tom Verducci who's now on the Bryce Harper bandwagon (or is it payroll?). Remember, Ankiel was a "can't miss" prospect as a pitcher. There's a nice one on Ben McDonald, too, and how great he was going to be.

I get the feeling I spent more time reading those old articles than Verducci or Heyman did before they started frothing at the mouth about Strasburg and Harper. Of course, I'm not trying to sell magazines or push traffic to a Web site. Oh wait, I forgot, they wouldn't do that, they're journalists. Silly me.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that I still remember being at the park in 2006 when Zimmerman hit his walk-off homer agaings Wang a few years ago.

http://tinyurl.com/q566m

The bad news is, with the way 2009 is going, Wang will probably post a complete game shutout against us tonight.

Posted by: ThatsRich | June 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

agaings=against. Sorry everyone.

Posted by: ThatsRich | June 17, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

diogenes_quixote I don't disagree with anything you stated with the exception of the cheap part. Everything they have done to this point, indicates they're cheap. This is a top 5 market and the fans are being treated like its topeka Kansas. That unacceptable

Posted by: JDB1 | June 17, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

What!?! No Jose Consaco on that list?

Posted by: Batboy05 | June 17, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The Nats do have an outfield coach. The problem is that they don't practice. They may field fly balls during batting practice but there is no organized practice.

Acta has no clue on what needs to be done or how to teach simple things. Despite what you hear the players are disgruntled and don't care anymore. The most glaring example of this was the foul ball into the Nats dugout the other day. It was not the bullpen catchers problem. It was the lazy asz pitchers who sat there and never warned the catcher that a fly ball was coming his way. That is the sign of mismanagement. A well-managed team that cared would all be yelling for him to get the hell out of the way.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of Heyman's column was this: "It's possible Nats management doesn't want the new manager -- foxsports.com reported that Nationals bench coach Jim Riggleman would be the man to replace Acta on an interim basis -- to start his tenure with a series against the Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium. That looked like three potentially ugly losses on the schedule, though the Nats lost only 5-3 in the series opener Tuesday. It's also possible Acta's bosses are being kind and allowing him to manage in New York, where he coached the Mets. But the better theory is that they'd rather not have these defeats on Riggleman's record."

Right, they won't fire Manny now because they're worried bout Riggleman's W-L record. That makes sense.

He may be right about the Lerners being cheap, but a lot of the other stuff he writes is laughable. Does he bother to explain how he knows the Nats are considering Bobby Valentine when Valentine said nobody remotely connected to the organization has contacted him?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 17, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

And we know the pitchers saw the fly ball how? Might they not have been distracted by the task of warming up?

And you can't blame Manny because Dukes just isn't a centre fielder.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

http://tinyurl.com/natsmets

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 17, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

JDB1:

I don't agree that they're cheap, but it's a fair criticism and I understand why people would think they are.

I just think that Heyman wants to make the case that the owners are cheap, he should either state it as his own opinion (or even better, use data to make that point) - rather than do it via an anonymous quote by a rival GM who stands to benefit from the continuing perception that the team won't pay its players market rates.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 17, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, I was going to make fun of the "Jose Consaco" spelling, but I googled it just to make sure there wasn't some pitcher I'd never heard of. There isn't, but there are a surprising number of online posts that misspell Conseco as "Consaco".

I still don't know why he'd be on the list. Did he pitch over 20 innings in any season? Or, was that funny in some way I'm not catching?

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

you can't blame Manny because Dukes just isn't a centre fielder.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 17, 2009 4:48 PM |
------------------------------------------------

This franchise hasn't had a centre fielder since they left Montreal.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"if" Heyman wants to make the case ... GAH.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The most glaring example of this was the foul ball into the Nats dugout the other day. It was not the bullpen catchers problem. It was the lazy asz pitchers who sat there and never warned the catcher that a fly ball was coming his way. That is the sign of mismanagement. A well-managed team that cared would all be yelling for him to get the hell out of the way.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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

That happened in Tampa's bullpen

Posted by: sect104 | June 17, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Who out there does not believe that the Nats bats will go silent tonight?

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | June 17, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

we should just bring up maxwell and keep him here to get him experience. we're not competing for anything anyway and should give up some hitting for better defense. our defense is what makes us lose more than anything. maxwell is also mature enough to not lose composure if he got sent down.

Posted by: ssktigers | June 17, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

the lerners made a run a teix, signed dunn, signed beimel & Macdougal, and drafted strasburg.

im tired of this Lerner's are cheap business. Just because they dont spend money like the steinbrenners (or like you would like them to) doesnt mean they are cheap.

Whoops didnt mean to open that door.

Posted by: sect104 | June 17, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

(Sorry, I got new posted - From last post):
n regards to Manny "signing off" on trades: I really believe that Manny has no real authority to nix trades, nor does he have the authority to get FA's or anyone else. He may be in the loop to the extent of inputting his opinion, MAYBE! The players on the team were acquired by the owners, GM, and Kasten. The manager of this team has very little input into the acquisition of players.

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 17, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Who out there does not believe that the Nats bats will go silent tonight?"

Ooohhh! me me me me me me!

Wang's fastball doesn't move, and he can't locate it. Dunn, Zimm, Dukes, etc., will crush it. I just hope he stays in long enough for us to rack up sufficient runs to outlast our pitching (which of course will pick tonight for a double-digit special like the beginning of the year).

Posted by: joebleux | June 17, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"the lerners made a run a teix, signed dunn, signed beimel & Macdougal, and drafted strasburg."

I only have to assume this is a joke. How much did "drafting strasburg" cost? They knew that Teixera would never ever sign with us so that was a PR move to appease people like you. Looks like it worked. Beimel was a frigging 1 year $2M contract, which is so unremarkable that it makes you bringing it up in your argument even more obvious that they're cheap. And Macdougal was a minor league contract with little or no risk.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 17, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I think we break up the nono in the 5th tonight. Finish with 2 runs on 5 hits. Lose 8-2 after Acta pulls Lannan after the 6th with a 2-1 lead and 91 pitches thrown.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 17, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners aren't cheap ... but they did quail at the rent on the new stadium and paid late as I recall?

They run from frugal to thrifty.

Does that make sense for a top 5 market one in which the competition at the media level down is with cities like NY, Boston, Miami, LA, etc?

NO it does not. But then I suppose they have their own business model crafted through the years from owning things like the Wheaton Plaza.

Call them SS Kresges.

Posted by: periculum | June 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"Does that make sense for a top 5 market one in which the competition at the media level down is with cities like NY, Boston, Miami, LA, etc?"

Miami, huh? Yeah, no cheap ownership group would ever survive in a natural baseball market like that one.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 17, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Right RickFelt,

Plus the Nats had no choice but to draft Strasburg, as he was the clear #1 and no one would let the Nats draft an under-slot guy in place of Strasburg. They couldn't get away with it! The Lerners could get away with it at #10 in the first round, and in the 3rd round, so they did.

And don't forget Dunn is the Nats' ONLY expensive free agent under the Lerners. The only one! And name any other team that has a $20 million guy as their most expensive free agent over the last three years. Maybe you can find a couple teams, not sure, but someone who wants to prove the Nats are not cheap might do the research.

And the Nats have Never under the Lerners traded for a guy who makes big money. The last one was Soriano, pre-Lerners. Sometimes you can get great trades when you agree to take a hefty contract off of a small market team's hands. But the Lerners perceive DC as the smallest market, so that strategy is out!

Pretty good article on Manny from CBSsports.

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/8590096/15597983

Posted by: EdDC | June 17, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Ed, who could they have traded to get a big $ FA - Steve Lombardozi? Maybe Marco Estrada? We haven't had a decent chip to trade up until 2 years ago - and they still ain't that great.

As far as a FA - who could they have signed? Would you have been happy with signing Hudson for one year and giving up pick(s)? And yes, I believe they made a real effort with Tex - problem was the Yanks had a deal with Boras to be the final bidder. Heck, they actually overpaid for Kearns, Guzman, Dunn, Meat, Belliard, LoDuca, etc. Not a ton of money, but for such frugal owners, it was a lot of money not well spent.

Posted by: goexpos2 | June 17, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This franchise hasn't had a centre fielder since they left Montreal.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM |
____________________________________________

Fischy, if only they would have kept Sizemore...

Posted by: goexpos2 | June 17, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Brad Wilkerson could play CF pretty well in '05, fischy.

Why all these negative predictions about tonight? There's enough cynicism in the world without wallowing in it here.

Posted by: nats24 | June 17, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I think fischy was making a good (but subtle) joke based on soundbloke's post--centre vs center:


you can't blame Manny because Dukes just isn't a centre fielder.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 17, 2009 4:48 PM |
------------------------------------------------

This franchise hasn't had a centre fielder since they left Montreal.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 17, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

This franchise hasn't had a centre fielder since they left Montreal.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM |
-----------------------------------------------

Mon Dieu! Must I SPELL out my humor? Une CENTRE fielder. The franchise hasn't had a "centre" fielder since they left Montreal.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

@coverageislacking -- yes. Thank you.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"the lerners made a run a teix, signed dunn, signed beimel & Macdougal, and drafted strasburg.

im tired of this Lerner's are cheap business. Just because they dont spend money like the steinbrenners (or like you would like them to) doesnt mean they are cheap.

Whoops didnt mean to open that door."

Are you seriously usin Mike McDougal as reasoning for them not being cheap? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by: JDB1 | June 17, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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