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On patience, Ryan Howard and a strange Nationals trend

While heading to the park and waiting for Kendrick-Stammen II, three quick thoughts:

-The Nationals should take Adam Dunn's lead in terms of patience at the plate. The Nationals have seen 3.72 pitches per plate appearance, 25th in the majors. Dunn has seen 4.38, which ranks 25th among all hitters. Ian Desmond (4.36, 30th) is the only other National in the top 100.

-Ryan Howard has just killed the Nationals this season. He has two hits in all four games and in total is 8 for 19 with one walk, two doubles and two home runs. The Nationals at least have some recourse against Howard for late in the game. Jesse English has pitched in three of the four Nats games against the Phillies and in each one has faced Howard. In those at-bats, Howard is 0 for 3 with two groundouts and a fly out. Howard went 1 for 3 with an RBI single in his match-up against today's starter, Craig Stammen.

-At this point in the season, I think this is probably more odd than telling, but the Nationals have really not produced against relief pitching. They are 14 for 81 with 17 strikeouts and 11 walks with five doubles, a triple and no homers against opposing bullpens. That's led to this stunning figure: Past the fourth inning, the Nationals have scored only two runs this season, and they have yet to score in the fifth, sixth or ninth inning.

In the fifth inning, the Nationals are 1 for 21. I am sure that's just the randomness of only having seven games. Plus the fifth is a likely inning for the pitcher to bat. Any other guesses as to what's going on there?

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 1:42 PM ET
 
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Comments

The ineffectiveness against relievers is not telling at this point, you're right. But if you're looking for reasons the team is 3-4, that's one of them right there.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 14, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Adam!

Posted by: Section506 | April 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Going back to the last thread, I don't know anything about the GaTech pitcher beyond what was reported and hold it against Drew Pomerantz that he attends Ole Miss(despite the Byrd part of my screen name, I'm actually an LSU fan).

So, I do have some comments on Ranaudo. First, at this point the scope and severity of his early season injury remains a question mark. He's now "back," but we've seen in the majors that doesn't mean he's really fully recovered. I sincerely hope he is, and LSU's chances at a repeat may depend on it. But we really don't know at this point.

Plus, I'm virtually certain that Anthony is represented by Scott B. as well. I'll try to confirm that later toda.

Posted by: NatsPark408Byrd306 | April 14, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the reason Dunn & Desmond are seeing more pitches is that they are being pitched to a little more carefully than all the other Nats.

Posted by: shanks1 | April 14, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What's going on is that we are looking at a sample size that is so small as to be irrelevant. Actually, no Nats pitcher has batted in the fifth inning so far this season. They have just been randomly unproductive in that inning so far. On the year, the Nats have failed to score in 48 of 63 innings. The fact that all 7 fifth innings fall within those 48 is indicative of absolutely nothing.

Having said that, I'm (obviously) not opposed to discussing irrelevant early season stats, they're all we have at this point, and it's part of the fun.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 14, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Voodoo?

Posted by: WrongDog | April 14, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

In answer to your question. Riggleman is replacing guys, substitutions far earlier in the game than last year. It can take a few at bats to get into the rhythm of a game and pitching. All to accommodate both Desmond's development and Guzman's veteran pride. But also to shore up the defense. We've seen Dunn, Willingham and any question mark in right field replaced very early as a result.

So far pitching and defense have led to a better record than last year. And that is the current trend in the MLB: youth, defense along with good pitching and then offense in that order.

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually the Nats have sent reasonably good hitters up in the fifth inning so far. Opening day Desmond walked, Gonzalez GIDP and Morgan grounded to short. In game 2 Dunn walked, Willingham flew out to center, Pudge flew out to left and Morse struck out. Game 3 Morgan flew out to center, Guzman doubled, Zimmerman grounded out to the pitcher and Dunn grounded to second (ouch). Game 4 Harris bunted a groundout to second, Zimmerman flew out to center and Dunn fouled out. Game 5 Morgan and Guzman grounded out and Zimmerman struck out. Game 6 Taveras and Guzman grounded out to the pitcher (ouch) and Dunn struck out. And in Game 7 Taveras grounded to short, Guzman flew out to center and Dunn grounded to second.

Actually that is a pretty futile list. Never mind my logical analysis above, the Nationals are obviously cursed in the fifth! Somebody get out the goat and the chicken bones!

Posted by: BobLHead | April 14, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Go do that voodoo that you do so well, Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 14, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Classic....

By all accounts, the sample size is too small to render a reasonable opinion on anything Adam mentioned.

Yet Periculum is somehow able to present a definitive answer.

Classic.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Howard needs to eat some batter's box dirt tonight . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | April 14, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

1a, I was all set to correct your lyric to the Cole Porter version.
But nevermind.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoM-ZC7uNnc

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 14, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Replacing guys in the middle of the game was a reasonable hypothesis, sample size notwithstanding, but did they in fact do that? The small sample size should make it easy to check box scores for it.

Not that I'm going to do that. I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 14, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

You got it, sec3. (and it's Headley) ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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