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Game 14 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Rockies

Ian Desmond has kind of been bopping around the batting order this season. Tonight, he is batting eighth. So far this year, he has also hit sixth, seventh and second. Some of the shifting has come owing to left-handed or right-handed starters, and some came because Ryan Zimmerman had to sit out. Whatever the reason, Manager Jim Riggleman is not worried about it.

"A lot of that stuff, I'm probably not real sensitive to it," Riggleman said. "To me, you step in the batter's box, it's 60 feet, 6 inches away, you're battling that pitcher. I don't think you step in there thinking, 'Oh, my God. I'm hitting sixth or I'm hitting eighth.' You're battling that pitcher. I know Ian would never be affected by it."

Riggleman also acknowledged that when it does seem as though where a batter hits is affecting him, he may make an adjustment. Such was the case last year with Cristian Guzman.

The Nationals tonight will try to get two games above .500 against a Rockies team playing with heavy hearts. Scott Olsen vs. Jorge De La Rosa. Discuss it right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 20, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
 
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Next: Cristian Guzman is hot, and Adam Dunn is not

Comments

Nice 1-2-3 start by Olsen. A little up in the zone, but clean.

Posted by: BinM | April 20, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Nats are for real. Probably not a playoff team, but definitely this year's Most Improved Team.

Posted by: sebsosman | April 20, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Nats are for real. Probably not a playoff team, but definitely this year's Most Improved Team.

Posted by: sebsosman | April 20, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Looks like ol Scotty still doesn't have that velocity. 88 mph straight as an arrow will get you killed every time. 5-0 now as Mora joins the hit parade.

Posted by: Brue | April 20, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Well that didn't take long Olsen's gone and the Nat's trail 4-0 with more to come let's face it Colorado's out for blood tonite in the wake of the team tragedy after 14 games i'll take .500.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 20, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Ouch...that got out of hand real fast. Well, at least it's 4/20, right?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | April 20, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

7-0 when starters go into the 6th.
0-6 when they don't.

That simple. Absolutely pathetic. Either trade for a legit starter or call up Strasburg or something, but this is unacceptable. Why are we conceding this year as a rebuilding year? That is unacceptable, the lineup is ready to win. Add some horses or the attendance is going to keep reaching historic lows.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 20, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Dang, when we are bad we are absolutely horrible. Or should I say our starting pitching is either pretty good or the worst in baseball by a mile, its always either one or the other.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | April 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Scott and Jason, you are flirting with the end of your careers. Get it together - soon - or I hope you have a good pan for a job after your playing days.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | April 20, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Scott and Jason, you are flirting with the end of your careers. Get it together - soon - or I hope you have a good plan for a job after your playing days.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | April 20, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Our staff is too inconsistent; most should be spot starters, not full starters.

Call up Strasburg, this team wants to win. Making them wait until June is unfair to the guys in the field.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 20, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Nats are for real. Probably not a playoff team, but definitely this year's Most Improved Team.

Posted by: sebsosman | April 20, 2010 7:17 PM

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

um, not yet. they've given up 23 runs in the last 21 innings.

Posted by: DCguy7 | April 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

So the home plate umpire is actually having a worse night than Olsen. At least they can get Olsen out of there.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 20, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Scott Olsen and Jason Marqius suck, they need to be cutt. It is sad we pay marquis 10 mill to give up 19 runs already and olsen 3 mill to give up 11 to 12 runs. If Mike Rizzo keeps these two pitchers in the rotation, we will never win a game with them not even against the cubs.

Posted by: coop28 | April 20, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Why does Riggleman have Guzman batting second? why does Riggleman have Guzman in the lineup? We're overpaying him at 8 mil,he's retarding the progress of Ian Desmond yada,yada,yada, Whatever!!! Guzman 3/4 Nuff said.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 20, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

well obviously Scott Olsen still sucks.

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 20, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

what he said.
**********************
Guzman 3/4 Nuff said.
Posted by: dargregmag | April 20, 2010 9:41 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 20, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Read the comments and you pretty much have the story. The precipitous decline from 7:12 EDT to 8:06 EDT is telling.

I don't want to equate the starts from Marqis and Olsen, mainly because the latter is coming off of surgery and the former has no apparent physical issue.

Olsen pitched well in his last outing. One has to expect some speed bumps in his recovery. Marquis, on the other hand, was brought to DC to stabilize the rotation. So far he's been the opposite of a stabilizing force.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 20, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

You go, Guze!! (Sorry to be late on that but I had a dinner engagement. :-))

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 20, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Guzman hit .314 two years ago,slumped to about .285 last year,and many can't wait to criticize him.Someone who's always around .300 is alright with me.And for all those moneyball geeks,I have heard of on-base percentage.

Posted by: seanmg | April 20, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking at the relievers' role in these last two debacles (11-7 on Sunday and 10-4 tonight).
On Sunday, Miguel Batista he gave up 3 runs and 3 inherited runs in 5 IP. He didn't do Marquis any favors.
Tonight, Tyler Walker allowed 4 runs and 2 inherited runs in 3 IP. He wasn't much more help for Olsen than Batista was for Marquis.
Going into Sunday's game, it was said that Batista and Walker needed work. Walker did pitch two scoreless innings immediately after Batista's 5 IP. But Walker did get his needed work.
When I saw Clippard come in and pitch a scoreless ninth inning, I thought (with the help of 20/20 hindsight), "Why didn't Riggleman bring him in the third for Olsen?" My guess is that the Nats would have escaped that inning having given up fewer than 8 runs (only two had scored by that point). Let Clippard try to get through five innings and then turn to the rest of the bullpen.
Does this make sense to anyone but me?

Posted by: bertbkatz | April 20, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that attendance was up to a little over 15,000 tonight. That's over 3,000 increase from Monday night. Think that the Caps playoff game had anything to do with that?

Posted by: bertbkatz | April 20, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"I noticed that attendance was up to a little over 15,000 tonight. That's over 3,000 increase from Monday night. Think that the Caps playoff game had anything to do with that?"

Yes everything to do with it...plus its still pretty chilly out...so probably closer to 20,000 if the weather is nice and there is no caps game.

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 20, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

If Clippard is in for 5, who is going to pitch the 7th if the Nats have a lead the next 2-3 days? I realize Clippard had the game where he pitched 3 innings, but outings like that are going to be the exception because we will hopefully have plenty of leads for him to protect.

As far as Olsen goes, there were plenty of people who were saying Stammen didn't belong in the rotation. I still have some hope that Olsen will be a league average pitcher. If he doesn't get there in the near future, the powers that be can think about replacing him.

Posted by: p-man | April 20, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

The hope is that Olsen (and Marquis, and Stammen) can be not-killing-us for another five weeks or so. And somebody is going to be replaced: Wang is coming, Strasburg is coming, Detwiler is coming. Maybe two of them will stick. ZNN will be ready around Aug-Sept, apparently, if all goes well, and he will get a shot (although the rosters increase then, so he needn't displace anyone.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 21, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, they're paying Marquis for two years, and Wang for the rest of this one, so the worst case is if they are just good enough to not get cut, and stay on the roster, but not good enough to trade. What if Livo is still their most successful starter, come July? I don't think they are going to trade Lannan.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 21, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

@seanmg - OBP is no moneyball concept. It's been used since the 1940's to evaluate players. It's been around longer than almost any of us have.
Guzman's has 10 seasons in MLB, and only 3 with a decent OBP.
Those were also the only 3 years he had a Slugging Percentage over .400 (or is that also too moneyball for you?).

Oh, and 1 of those 3 seasons was injury shortened 2007, where he played about 1/3 of the season. In his full career, the equivalent of 9 full MLB seasons, Guzman's been an above average hitter for 2 1/3 of them.

Guzman has, historically, made outs at a significantly higher rate than his peers. He came into this season with a career .306 OBP. That's pathetic, even if you pretend it isn't.

Posted by: Sunderland | April 21, 2010 4:33 AM | Report abuse

A defense of Cristian Guzman:

Using Sunderland's stats and his own asssessment of them, Guzzie has been an above-average hitter for the Nats in
1 1/3 of his 3 1/3 years with us (not counting this season, which promises to be a very nice chapter in Guzzie: The Washington Years). Using my own very shaky math, Guzzie has thus been a above-average hitter 40% of the time with the Nats. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, looking at the flotsam and jetsam of human life who have played the middle infield for the Nats during that period, I submit that above-average hitting for 40% of the time is pretty darned good. Would that we could same for our RFers, e.g.

Now if there's a hole in my "statistical" argument, let's turn to the subjective side. I was at the game last night. I was angry at the abominable pitching that put us in a 10-0 hole, and imploring the club to show some fight, to make a comeback to make the rest of the game at least watchable. This is the kind of a situation in which you can really appreciate Guzzie. He bears down on every AB, runs out every ground ball, and is always looking to stretch a double into a triple. He no longer has the quick burst of speed needed to steal bases, but he continues to get more than his share of triples and infield hits--just like George Brett in that respect, who, unlike Guzzie, was universally praised for his "hustle." Maybe you appreciate these virtues in a ballplayer more when you're actually at the park watching on a cold night than when you're at home and can change the channel.

No, I'm not saying that Guzzie should start over Desmond at SS. Of course I want to see what Desmond can do. And I don't deny that there are statistical reasons for faulting Guzzie offensively and defensively (although I would ask what were our alternatives in past years). But I sense that there's a lot of hate out there for Guzzie that, unlike Sunderland's arguments, is not based on objective reasons.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | April 21, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Guzman's approach has problems when the game is close, and you have to be more selective at the plate. Pitchers are throwing the ball slightly off the plate so they can get grounders in tough situations, as opposed to raring back and delivering a strike with a big lead so's not to waste pitches. He approaches his ABs the same way regardless of the situation, which shows that he's just plain stoopid. Sure he can hit, but for the number of hits he's had, there's very little production behind it. You get almost 200 hits, and you have around 40-45 rbis, and you're not hitting lead off every night, you're likely not helping the team much. Same goes for the team - this whole thing about scoring all these runs is a ruse, because they're just throwing the ball over and asking you to hit it when they have a big lead. They're not out there to waste pitches and walk people.

Posted by: Brue | April 21, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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