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The Nationals' bullpen holds steady

Morning roundup

The great shame of this Nationals' season, now stuck 20 games below .500, is the wasted excellence from their bullpen. Their bullpen threw another four innings last night, bringing them to 414 1/3 innings for the season, less than two behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for most in the major leagues. Only three teams have gotten 400 innings from their bullpen.

The inverse correlation between workload and performance for a bullpen is typically strong, but the Nationals' relievers have been prolific and effective. Last night they threw four one-hit, scoreless innings. Their Nationals' bullpen ERA for the season is 3.51, seventh in the majors.

The Nationals have used 13 relievers this season, four of them accounting for saves. Without Matt Capps, the Nationals haven't slowed a bit from the bullpen. Even as the relievers have kept the Nationals in games, the starting pitching has either created too wide of a gulf or the offense could not take advantage.

Since the Capps trade, Nationals reliever have combined for a 3.36 ERA and a .227 batting average against. That's translated into a 9-15 record for the Nationals. It might get another workout tonight with Jason Marquis on the hill.

A lot has gone wrong for the Nationals year, but the one place you can't blame is the bullpen.

FROM THE POST

The Nationals didn't roll over in the ninth, but they still lost, 5-4, to the Cubs.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 5, Lehigh Valley 4: Brian Bixler went 4 for 5 with a double and a triple. Michael Martinez went 2 for 4 with a home run. Josh Wilkie allowed no earned runs in 1 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.66.

Harrisburg 6, Portland 3: Chris Marrero went 2 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Jesus Valdez went 2 for 3 with two doubles and a walk. Tom Milone allowed three earned runs in six 6 1/3 innings on four hits and one walk, striking out seven.

Wilmington 4, Potomac 2: Trevor Holder allowed four earned runs in five innings on five hits and two walks, striking out five.

Hagerstown 5, Lakewood 3 (Game 1, 9 innings): Adrian Sanchez went 4 for 5. Graham Hicks allowed no runs in 5 1/3 innings on five hits and no walks, striking out three.

Lakewood 2, Hagerstown 1 (Game 2, 7 innings): Paul Demny allowed no earned runs in 4 2/3 innings on six hits and two walks, striking out four. Rick Hague made his 13th error.

Vermont was canceled.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Joe Posnanski details just how familiar the injury to Stephen Strasburg is and, since he wrote about the Nationals, stoked inadequacy within your humble beat writer.

A meaningless game turned dramatic last night, Mark Zuckerman writes.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 25, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  bullpen  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 126 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Cubs
Next: Today's lineups

Comments

BTW, in that wild Phillies game last night, Roy Oswalt had to play LF because Ryan Howard got tossed after flipping his bat in disgust after being called out on a borderline checked swing? Guess who tossed him? Ryan Zimmerman's old friend, Scott Barry.

Barry is apparently a big game hunter when it comes to ejections. Nothing but the best for him.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 25, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

"Vermont was canceled."

I guess they'll have to change all those "Welcome to Vermont" road signs then?

Posted by: TimDz | August 25, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Scott Barry = Angel Hernandez Jr.

Posted by: VaNat | August 25, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

While the number of innings the bullpen has thrown might not correlate to the relievers' ERA, it still speaks to the Nats' need for SP's who can pitch 200-plus innings per season.

The only SP the Nats have who is proven in that capacity is Livan Hernandez. Marquis did until this year, but even with both of them they need at least one more reliable starter. Playoff teams have at least three 200-inning SP's.

That means the Nats ought to re-sign Livan, because otherwise they will be in the same boat next year as they have been the past few seasons.

Posted by: ericp331 | August 25, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

it is a shame after the terrible bull pen of 2009. When do the starters pitch long enough that they aren't overused even more

Posted by: gengreen17 | August 25, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Waiting these three days for the arthrogram has got to be very hard on Strasburg. I know it's not great for Nats fans.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 25, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Someone here posted in another thread that the dye-injection arthogram is extremely painful. I had my frozen left shoulder arthogrammed (if that's a word) three-and-a-half years ago. There was nothing particularly painful about the injection (any more so than the steroid shot I got for the shoulder). Having my shoulder in an uncomfortable position inside that MRI tube for what seemed like a long time: now that was painful! The dye shot had nothing to do with THAT.
My shoulder might have been more comfortable in one of the "open MRI" set-ups. I believe they consist of two large planes, rather than a cylinder, but I haven't actually been in one. If anyone wants to contribute their intelligence on this question, please feel free.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 25, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The bullpen like everyone else is competing for a job next year they have been pretty much solid the whole season.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 25, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"While the number of innings the bullpen has thrown might not correlate to the relievers' ERA, it still speaks to the Nats' need for SP's who can pitch 200-plus innings per season."

They HAVE starting pitchers who can pitch 200 innings per season. Hernandez, Marquis, Lannan and Olsen all have done it. But in order for pitchers to pitch 200 innings in a season, not only do they have to be capable of doing it, they have to have a manager who will LET them do it. Leave them in to work out of their own jams. Let them pitch deeper into games when they may have made a mistake or two early on but have managed to right themselves. When has Riggleman ever shown a willingness to do that, except maybe with Livo? Look at last night. There was no reason Lannan needed to be pulled after only five innings. He'd only thrown 83 pitches (less than 17/inning). He wasn't struggling, and he wasn't tiring. He seemed to be recovering after making a couple of mistake pitches on the home run balls. He could have gone another inning for sure, maybe two. It wasn't his fault the bullpen was overworked last night, it was Riggleman's fault.

Multiply this type of managerial incompetence over the course of a season and you end up with no 200-inning starters and a burned-out bullpen. Plain and simple.

Posted by: FeelWood | August 25, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

We have 1 starting pitcher. Livan Hernandez.

Posted by: 6thandD | August 25, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Marrero is mashing the ball. Any chance we get to see him next month, or is he still another year away from a September call-up?

Posted by: Kev29 | August 25, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

As long as Gentlemen Jim is in the dugout, 5 innings will be the industry stnafard in NatsTown for the starting 5. Pathetic

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 25, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Marrero's had a great week for sure (13 for 29, 3 HR, 9 RBI).
One thing that complicates the call-ups is whether or not they are on the 40 man roster.
Marrero is not.
Espinosa is not.
El Duque is not (he obviously is trying to get to MLB).

Unless Rizzo is willing to start DFA'ing people like Harris, Maxwell, Mench & Nieves, I think it's unlikely we'll see Marrero and Espinosa.

Posted by: Sunderland | August 25, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

>As long as Gentlemen Jim is in the dugout, 5 innings will be the industry stnafard in NatsTown for the starting 5. Pathetic

Posted by: TippyCanoe

You got that right. I was watching the O's game, and I think it was Guthrie pitching, and it was 2-2 in the 7th, and he gave up a 3-run homer. Showalter left him in after that. Riggleman probably would have taken him out at the first sign of pressure and handed it to the bullpen and put the pressure on them. He definitely would not have left him in the game after the damage was done. Showalter left him in because he still had some pitches left, and he knows that Guthrie has four days to get his arm back. Point is, some games you're going to lose, and you might as well not burn your bullpen up during these games so you don't lose even more games down the road. I mean, let the starters get their asses beat - at least they'll build up arm strength for future starts. As it stands, they have a bunch of nibblers who know they'll be yanked after they reach their pitch limit whether they throw strikes or not. If these starters can't pitch - let em get humiliated and get them out of there instead of trying to rescue their ERAs at the bullpen's expense and then talk about how the starter did so well when he threw 100 pitches in 5 innings and left with men on base. This all harks back to Riggs not wanting to show up the front office because they didn't give him any starting pitching, because if they would leave the starters out there like they're supposed to, they'd get blown up. I also get the feeling that one reason the bullpen's ERA isn't higher is that the game's already over when they come in and the other team is just coasting.

Posted by: Brue | August 25, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Boy I hope someone leaks the Nats financials to the public. This is just too much fun. Small market team? Doesn't exist.

Marlins’ profits came at taxpayer expense
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
8/24/10

The swindlers who run the Florida Marlins got exposed Monday. They are as bad as anyone on Wall Street, scheming, misleading and ultimately sticking taxpayers with a multibillion-dollar tab. Corporate fraud is alive and well in Major League Baseball.

A look at the leak of the Marlins’ financial information to Deadspin confirmed the long-held belief that the team takes a healthy chunk of MLB-distributed money for profit. Owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson for years have contended the Marlins break even financially, the centerpiece fiscal argument that resulted in local governments gifting them a new stadium that will cost generations of taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion. They said they had no money to do it alone and intimated they would have to move the team without public assistance.

In fact, documents show, the Marlins could have paid for a significant amount of the new stadium’s construction themselves and still turned an annual operating profit. Instead, they cried poor to con feckless politicians that sold out their constituents.

Posted by: Brue | August 25, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Look at it this way - if Loria would have been the owner here, and at least we would have had a good team here run by swindlers instead of a stinkin perennial last place team run by swindlers.

>It brings to mind the famous quote from Paul Beeston, the former president of MLB who now runs the Toronto Blue Jays: “Under generally accepted accounting principles, I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss, and I can get every national accounting firm to agree with me.”

The truth of big business is ugly, and while a peek inside baseball’s sausage factory is fascinating, it’s also sobering. A 37,000-seat, baseball-only stadium is going up in Little Havana right now, and the team that procured it systematically hid the truth from the people whose money they’re using to build it.

During the county commissioners’ stadium tete-a-tetes with the Marlins, they asked time and again for the team to release its financial statements. It was only fair, right? The county was willing to pledge billions of dollars. It deserved to know who would reap the bounty.

The Marlins never budged. They kept everything a secret and set themselves up for a bountiful future and had the gall to grow angry when documents surfaced that should’ve been made public in the first place. They were shown for the swindlers they are.

Unfortunately, it was $2.4 billion too late.

Posted by: Brue | August 25, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nats make good profits too:

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/33/baseball-values-09_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html

Unfortunately, it is a nice formula to keep budgets low, even if attendance is low as well (because of lack of fan interest in the Nats' case). If you can get 20,000 people out to the park, that's all you need to turn a very respectable profit. Fortunately for the Nats, they have lots of "enablers" in their low-budget approach to team-building, so they can indeed "get away with it." A region this large will still turn out the fans, no matter what.

Meanwhile, the Nats are often considered small market. You see that on this blog and in yesterday in Boz's chat. But take a look how large our great market is in this region:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

Now, please compare that table, above, with the team payroll data below. The Nats are way below lots of small market teams in expenditures:

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/salaries/teams

Maybe the Nats will improve. That's my hope, especially as Mark Lerner becomes increasingly influential.

Posted by: EdDC | August 25, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Brue, in that Orioles game, Guthrie did stay in in the 7th inning after giving up the homer to make it 5-2 (not sure what that score guarantees a loss, but...). He put two more guys on and then a reliever allowed a hit in that inning to make it 6-2.

The Orioles gave up another run to make it 7-2 in the ninth and they then rallied to cut the lead to 7-5 with the tying run at the plate before losing.

How was that a "game you're going to lose" when it's only 5-2? If Showalter pulls him after the homer, maybe the O's only give up one more run instead of two and it's a different situation during the comeback in the ninth.

Everybody keeps pointing out how much work the bullpen has gotten, but they ignore the fact that Riggleman has balanced out the work so nobody is getting that burned out. With all of those innings, the Nats only have one pitcher in the top 10 in appearances in the league (Clippard); the Reds have three. Guys like Peralta, Batista and Slaten have gotten just as much work as the core of the bullpen.

Finally, it's crazy to pick on Riggleman's use of the bullpen when his use of the bullpen last night gave his team a chance to come back from a 5-0 deficit to having the winning run at the plate in the 9th inning. Would it have been better to leave Lannan out there to "humiliate" him and teach him some lesson? I'd rather have a chance to win.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 25, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's not allow facts to get in the way of a perfectly good argument.

Posted by: BobLHead | August 25, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

About the arthrogram...

As Tracee H. said at the top of her chat today, SHE was the one who had mentioned yesterday that she thought an arthrogram was very painful. She corrected herself on that score: it was an ARTERIOGRAM, not an ARTHROGRAM, she was remembering as being quite painful. I thank Tracee for correcting that, and confirming my post above concerning arthrograms.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 25, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"Everybody keeps pointing out how much work the bullpen has gotten, but they ignore the fact that Riggleman has balanced out the work so nobody is getting that burned out."

Yet. Although a good argument could be made that Clippard has been burned out ever since that series in Baltimore.

"Finally, it's crazy to pick on Riggleman's use of the bullpen when his use of the bullpen last night gave his team a chance to come back from a 5-0 deficit to having the winning run at the plate in the 9th inning. Would it have been better to leave Lannan out there to "humiliate" him and teach him some lesson? I'd rather have a chance to win."

Why would Lannan have been humiliated if he'd been left in? He had 83 pitches over five innings, but his last three innings were 12-13-12 in pitch count. He arguably had made only two bad pitches all night, on the home run balls. He wasn't tired or struggling. Why wouldn't a reasonable manager expect that he could continue on into the 6th or even the 7th and provide just as much chance of winning as Batista would at that point?

Posted by: FeelWood | August 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately for the Nats, they have lots of "enablers" in their low-budget approach to team-building, so they can indeed "get away with it."

edDC; the primary "enablers" besides the LernerStank is the DC Sports media. As long as no one (print, radio & TV) holds ownerships feet to the fire with intelligent Baseball knowledge & discussion then the swindlers will continue to rake in the cash. Its a basic truth, if you make them feel the pressure it usually leads to some sort of change. Since no one in the local sports media cares then the LernerStank gets a free pass.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse


@Brue, baltova1:
Another reason that Lannan didn't come out to pitch the 6th inning was that Maxwell pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the 5th inning. Brue, I believe it is standard practice to pinch-hit for the pitcher when trailing in a game, is it not?
We can argue about whether a Hernandez, Marquis (who is pitching today) or Stammen (who was used in the 9th last night) would have been a better choice to pinch-hit for Lannan, but that is due to the thinness of the Nats' bench.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 25, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Lannan has shown he gets hit hard after he's been through the batting order more than 1 or 2 times. It was surprisising for him to make it through 5 innings and you can't blame Riggleman for pulling hin in a 5-1 game. The Nats pinch hit for him partly to try to mount a comeback. After Livo, the Nats currently don't have another veteran even of the caliber of Guthrie that can consistently pitch 7 innings and go over 100 pitches.

Possibly Olsen and Marquis bounce back last year and regain arm strength to give the 200+ innings we need out of at least two of our starters. I don't think we can look to either Strasbug or Zimmerman to pitch more than 160 innings next year given their injury history. The Nats need to sign or trade for a strong No. 2 starter who consistently can go deep into ballgames during the offseason.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 25, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If your a major league pitcher and you can't get more then 15 outs per game maybe its time to find another line of work. Please stop defending poor management and limited talent for your what is passing as a major league product. Its not!

This is not a random occurance in NatsTown, its been the SOP since 2007!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 25, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Tippy,

Thanks, that's a great point. Media people crave access. If they blast away too much, they get isolated, and their employer needs to find someone else who can win the confidence of the Nats' leadership.

Even Boswell, who does blast the Nats for their lack of financial commitment, has to walk a fine line, balancing what he truly believes against what he has to say to keep access. And Boz is the best that we have, by far. He does speak his mind, but you do read how the Nats are constantly turning some corner or another. If you turn four of them you get back to where you started, with no progress at all.

In a recent column, Boswell said that the Nats have finally moved beyond cheap. Wow, that would be great if that were the case! Where is the evidence? Every club in baseball would have signed Harper for $9.9 million. The extra $3 million in above-slot money for three other picks was very impressive in the last draft, and that could very well be a corner-turner. But still, $3 million is not much in the scheme of things at the MLB level.

You are so right, fans will not know unless the get the info from the media.

Posted by: EdDC | August 25, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Tippy, not sure who you think is defending starting pitchers who can't go more than five innings. But Riggleman is paid to win games and if he's got starters who can't go more than five, what is he supposed to do?

If I remember correctly, Frank Robinson used the bullpen an awful lot in 2005 because of iffy starting pitching and that was a .500 ballclub.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 25, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Man, the team's in last place because their starters suck and they can't score any runs, so anything bullpen does is largely irrelevant, no matter what it looks like on paper. The point about keeping the starters in is that they either build up arm strength and are held accountable, or they get cut because they can't hack it. Neither is happening now. Doesn't matter how brilliant people might think Riggleman is for usage of the bullpen, if you have to go to them that often, you're going to lose games. The five highest IP for the bullpen this year all at the bottom of the standings. Like I said, the solution is to let the starters get bombed and force the front office to get them out of there. But Riggs is more worried about how that would look because he wants to keep his job instead of make the team better. Riggleman cares more about himself and his situation than the team.

Posted by: Brue | August 25, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

>If I remember correctly, Frank Robinson used the bullpen an awful lot in 2005 because of iffy starting pitching and that was a .500 ballclub.

Posted by: baltova1

You do. Gary Majewski was never the same after that, as were a couple of others whose names escape me but were never heard from again. If you go over 70 appearances, it's almost a dead certainty you'll be affected in future seasons. It may not show up this year, but the bullpen is probably going to look different next year because they won't get the same performance out of the guys that were overused this year. You don't seem to get that because you're just looking at the situation in front of you and not the big picture. They're in last place, and the manager's been doing the same thing all year. Figure it out.

Posted by: Brue | August 25, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line...., if you can't get 21 outs on a consistent basis you don't belong in the "Show". How many more ways can we say this? For all of the turn the corner garbage that Ratzo and StanK spew, they have no starting pitching that is reliable past 5 innings. No one is going to win with that type of stat!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Another reason that Lannan didn't come out to pitch the 6th inning was that Maxwell pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the 5th inning. Brue, I believe it is standard practice to pinch-hit for the pitcher when trailing in a game, is it not?"

In the 7th inning, sure. But in the bottom of the fifth, when you still have 15 of your 27 outs left, no. If Lannan makes an out there, you've still got over half of your offensive opportunity for the game ahead of you.

Now if the situation was that you had RISP with two outs and the pitcher up next, that would be different. But that's not what the situation was last night when Riggleman decided he absolutely had to pull Lannan in order to get Justin Maxwell yet another shot at raising his .102 BA. You've heard of bad situational hitting? This was bad situational managing.

Posted by: FeelWood | August 25, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

to Bertbatz - it is not traditional to pinch hit for the pitcher when losing a game, it is traditional for the pitcher to throw all nine. But of course, no one does that anymore.

And regards to this situation, pulling Lannan after 5 is too early.

Posted by: comish4lif | August 25, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-My "posting" enthusiasm right now is about par with the players' efforts on the field. And some of my favorites are here on this thread...making good points. C'mon, Balto or dargreg! Exhort me, point out it's a 162 game season!Tip, Sund, Brue-remind me to finish up strong!EdC-perk me up with rumors of the Nats' financials getting leaked!
Ahhhh....now THAT would be....well, what? Confirmation? Sigh....appears we're slouching toward another less than stellar record. And while my 85+ win insanity is long gone....it's incredulous that we really MIGHT surpass the century mark in losses again. Now, we don't seem to lose in QUITE the same wretched fashion that we have in the past, but...there's a certain mind-numbing, low expectation SAMENESS to our defeats. All kinda lethargic-even the excuses....
So what's left? For me it's gonna be rooting for the Nats to win 4 games in a row...and, of course, reading the Gang!
SO-what are you all looking forward to? Within reality, of course...which probably limits things considerably. Maybe another come from behind victory? We've already had ONE of those (post-6th inning) this year. Think we can get a second?
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | August 25, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and apologies to those Gangsters I didn't mention...I'm a slow typist (berk, commish, et al). No Kevin Mench's in THIS gang!!!
Go Nats.

Posted by: zendo | August 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see the Nats financials... does Deadspin have them? Or just the Bucs and Marlins... Oh, I see Rays and Angels, and I see Mariners and Rangers. There is hope.

Posted by: comish4lif | August 25, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Like I said, the solution is to let the starters get bombed and force the front office to get them out of there."

Yeah, that ought to work well.

You have a fair point on overusing relievers to the detriment of their career, which is why Riggleman has used guys like Peralta, Batista and Slaten, because they have no real future with the team. The guys that do, with the possible exception of Clippard, have been protected from overuse.

Finally, you act like Riggleman is at war with the front office or should be. "I'll show them, I'll keep the starters in, let 'em get racked and then they'll get me some real pitchers."

I'm pretty sure he talks regularly with Rizzo and I'm willing to bet that whatever Riggleman is doing is being cleared with Rizzo first. And I think they're both smart enough baseball men to know just what kind of talent they have here now and how best to use it, with the main goal being developing a winner in the future.

That makes sense with this year's team, but where I join a lot of other people here in complaining is, why is it always the future that's the main focus? Why not now, or at least next year? Especially, if you could do that by just adding a little more talent to the payroll and probably still make a profit? (Note, Brue's excellent example of the Marlins, following up on the Pirates)

But that's not a question for Riggleman or Rizzo. It's a question for the guys named Lerner.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 25, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

zendo,

Nats would have to lose 75 percent of their remaining games to get to 100 losses. They only need to win 10 out of 36.

Even so, the Nats are comfortably in last place in their division, ten games behind the next-to-last team.

The odds are much higher that they will avoid 100 losses than they are to finish above last place in their division.

Not sure what that says. In 2009, the Nats finished 11 games behind 4th place in the NL East. The Nats' record in 2010 will be better than last season's record, although the Nats may end up more games out of 4th place in their division than they were last season.

Posted by: EdDC | August 25, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Yea, Baltova...I keep referring to a post I'm gonna do on our Future success....when I can call 'em the "Slowly's" instead of the "Slows". But you know...I was once at a retreat where someone explained Karma as being "...SIMPLE!You don't get away with NOTHIN"!...". And in baseball-where the timeframe is already longer than other sports for building a winning organization (there are exceptions, of course...usually involving spending money)...well, the Slows are reaping what it appears they've sown. Problem is, they're STILL making money and we're STILL waiting for something more than the occasional or the future to cheer about. And of course, the "future" doesn't even EXIST!
Go Nats.

Posted by: zendo | August 25, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"Nats would have to lose 75 percent of their remaining games to get to 100 losses. They only need to win 10 out of 36."

Hmmm. They've lost 12 of their last 16. 75%. They could be on a roll.

Posted by: FeelWood | August 25, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

zendo.

If the Nats are still making good money with their last place, low-budget approach, who is Slow--the Slow Lerners or us, their fans?

PS 2010 did not exist when the Slows took over but it does now.

Posted by: EdDC | August 25, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

First of all, nice job by Adam L. to highlight the job being done by the bullpen; Unfortunately, that's probably the 'Kiss of Death' for the next ten days, at least.

On the subject of the Starting rotation, the 'breakpoint' could be determined in part by Pitches thrown per Inning Pitched [P/IP]. Any SP who averages less than 15.5 P/IP are 'high-end' starters, and should have the 'green-light' to go into the 6th-7th inning or deeper, unless other limits are in place. Pitchers with a 15.5 to 16.5 P/IP (eight GS minimum) might be mid-rotation starters, while pitchers below 16.5 P/IP (eight GS minimum) look to be bottom-end starters, or long relievers at best.

Here are the Nationals' Starting Pitcher P/IP counts to-date, along with [status, if other than active], GS & total IP included...

L. Hernandez - 26GS, 169.0IP, 15.42P/IP.
S. Strasburg [DL]- 12GS, 68.0IP, 15.78P/IP.
M. Chico [AAA]- 1GS, 5.0IP, 15.8P/IP.
S. Olsen - 13GS, 67.3IP, 15.98P/IP.
C. Stammen [bullpen]- 19GS, 68.3IP, 16.16P/IP.
J.D. Martin [DL]- 9GS, 48.0IP, 16.83P/IP.
L. Atilano [DL]- 16GS, 85.7IP, 16.94P/IP.
J. Lannan - 19GS, 103.3IP, 17.07P/IP.
J. Marquis - 6GS, 21.3IP, 19.27P/IP.
R. Detwiler [DL]- 3GS, 13.0IP, 20.23P/IP.
G. Mock [DL]- 1GS, 3.3IP, 25.23P/IP.

Conclusions = Hernandez has thrown like a 'top-flight' SP to-date, as has Strasburg (with caveats). Chico (limited sample size disclaimer) & Olsen have proven value going forward (if healthy), while the rest have serious points to prove over the remainder of the season.

If Lannan & Marquis can round into shape over what's left of 2010, and both J.Zimmermann & Maya can step up, there may still be some hope for the future.

Posted by: BinM | August 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

First of all, nice job by Adam L. to highlight the job being done by the bullpen; Unfortunately, that's probably the 'Kiss of Death' for the next ten days, at least.

On the subject of the Starting rotation, the 'breakpoint' could be determined in part by Pitches thrown per Inning Pitched [P/IP]. Any SP who averages less than 15.5 P/IP are 'high-end' starters, and should have the 'green-light' to go into the 6th-7th inning or deeper, unless other limits are in place. Pitchers with a 15.5 to 16.5 P/IP (eight GS minimum) might be mid-rotation starters, while pitchers below 16.5 P/IP (eight GS minimum) look to be bottom-end starters, or long relievers at best.

Here are the Nationals' Starting Pitcher P/IP counts to-date, along with [status, if other than active], GS & total IP included...

L. Hernandez - 26GS, 169.0IP, 15.42P/IP.
S. Strasburg [DL]- 12GS, 68.0IP, 15.78P/IP.
M. Chico [AAA]- 1GS, 5.0IP, 15.8P/IP.
S. Olsen - 13GS, 67.3IP, 15.98P/IP.
C. Stammen [bullpen]- 19GS, 68.3IP, 16.16P/IP.
J.D. Martin [DL]- 9GS, 48.0IP, 16.83P/IP.
L. Atilano [DL]- 16GS, 85.7IP, 16.94P/IP.
J. Lannan - 19GS, 103.3IP, 17.07P/IP.
J. Marquis - 6GS, 21.3IP, 19.27P/IP.
R. Detwiler [DL]- 3GS, 13.0IP, 20.23P/IP.
G. Mock [DL]- 1GS, 3.3IP, 25.23P/IP.

Conclusions = Hernandez has thrown like a 'top-flight' SP to-date, as has Strasburg (with caveats). Chico (limited sample size disclaimer) & Olsen have proven value going forward (if healthy), while the rest have serious points to prove over the remainder of the season.

If Lannan & Marquis can round into shape over what's left of 2010, and both J.Zimmermann & Maya can step up, there may still be some hope for the future.

If this post doubles up, I blame the WaPo 'submission error - too many posts' screen tool.

Posted by: BinM | August 25, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Everyone hope you're having a good day getting ready to head up to Saratoga,NY to take the last of the mohicans(baby girl) off to her first year of college at Skidmore, now back to baseball, yes we're headed for 100 hundred loses i'm hoping that it doesn't happen and for all my ragging on Riggs i am still a fan of the team but that being said Riggs has got to go. A question, how many of you would be in favor of keeping Riggs but firing the coaching staff?

Posted by: dargregmag | August 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

A question, how many of you would be in favor of keeping Riggs but firing the coaching staff? Posted by: dargregmag | August 25, 2010 4:38 PM

Showalter seems to have boosted the O's. A top manager, still in his prime with a proven track record, would be great, especially if he can stay with the team as it builds, with a multi-year deal. That would take a new level of commitment for the Nats to pull this off, but it would be a good sign that better days are ahead.

I don't know what the O's are paying Showalter for his multi-year deal, but it has to be a lot more than Riggleman's $600,000. If that's all the Nats are willing to cough up for their manager, maybe the current setup, with Riggs as skipper, is about as good as any. (I was OK with Manny.) As to the coaching staff, I would fire some players first! But sure, you could do some of that, if it might help.

Posted by: EdDC | August 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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