Nyjer Morgan is getting caught up
Nyjer Morgan is not going to stop trying to steal bases. It would betray how he approaches the sport. "Hell, no, I'm not going to stop," he said. "That's part of my game."
But Morgan recognizes he needs to start stealing with more success. Morgan was thrown out Sunday, bringing his success rate for the season to 5 for 9. Only Matt Kemp has been thrown out more often than Morgan.
He couldn't quite explain what's going on, other than to guess his new sliding technique has something to do with it. Since Morgan broke his wrist sliding into second last year, the Nationals mandated he slide feet-first this year. After working in spring training, Morgan has slid feet-first all year -- and he hasn't had nearly his usual success.
"I ain't never been through a streak like this," Morgan said. "I ain't got no answer for you there. I just got to get it done. I'm about to go head back headfirst. It's just one of those things where I ain't got nothing for you guys, other than I better start getting it, because they're wearing my [butt] out."
Against the Rockies, Morgan was thrown out by Miguel Olivo, who has one of the best arms in the game. Morgan knows he's costing the Nationals runs. But how many? Let's use Baseball Prospectus' widely accepted system, which says a stolen bases is worth .25 runs while a caught stealing is worth -.64 runs. Morgan, by that metric, has cost the Nationals 1.31 runs this year.
"I got to start figuring it out," Morgan said. "Basically, I'm running into outs. It's one of those things where I got to make the adjustment. I got to keep going. I'm not going to stop. It's part of my game. I got to understand a little bit more when I should run and try to get there."
Morgan, as ever, remains confident. It would not help the Nationals if Morgan ceased swiping. The stolen base is a huge part of what Morgan brings to the team. His speed and his swagger were so pivotal in turning around the Nationals once he arrived last season.
Morgan spoke to Jim Riggleman about his steals, and Riggleman implored him to stay aggressive. "He believes in me," Morgan said. "He told me to keep going." Last year, he stole 22 bases in a row at one point without being caught. He sees a similar streak on the horizon.
"Once they start coming," Morgan said, "they're going to come in bunches."
FROM THE POST
Scott Olsen led the Nationals to a 1-0 victory Sunday, a win that concluded their convincing homestand.
Boz writes that when these Nationals lose, they take it personal. He thinks they're for real.
In case you missed it this weekend, Sheinin, Bard of Strasburg, crafted some kind of story about The Phenom's first weeks in the minor leagues. A complete must-read. Sheinin chats about it Monday at 10 a.m.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse 4, Rochester 2: Roger Bernadina went 3 for 6 and is batting .393. Andrew Kown allowed one run in six innings on four hits and three walks.
Harrisburg was postponed at New Britain because of rain.
Potomac 6, Lynchburg 4 (10 innings): Jose Lozada hit a two-run walk-off home run. Robert Jacobsen went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a walk. Brad Peacock struck out nine and allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Hagerstown 8, Delmarva 6: Destin Hood went 2 for 4 with a double and four RBI. Glenn Gibson allowed two hits and struck out three in two innings.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
How do know this is a different Nationals team? They won 1-0, writes Nats Insider.
Goessling Game agrees with that and goes into some of the game's crucial moments.
Before John Lannan starts Monday night, examine his slow start to the season.
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