Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats Rotation Cycle #25: good/bad/soso



  • This time around it was Dr. Jekyll’s turn (aka, the “good” side) for Livan Hernandez, who stifled the best team in baseball for a 4-2 victory in Philadelphia on 8/12 (box/gamer).  Effort on the night: 6 2/3 innings, 4 hits and 1 unearned run allowed.  If you want to see something amazing, go look at Livan’s splits in wins, losses and no-decisions.  In 7 victories: 1.08 era.  In 11 losses: 5.84 era.  In 7 no-decisions: 5.63 era.  Maybe we can just skip every other start for him and just get his good ones.
  • Ross Detwiler gave up one run in 6 innings to take the “unlucky loss” on wednesday 8/17 (box/gamer).  He had a career-high strikeouts of 7 (6 through 3 innings) and worked out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the 3rd that contributed to his good evening.  I’m still not that impressed with him on the mound though; he gave up 9 baserunners in 6 innings and was over 100 pitches to that point.
  • Jordan Zimmermann‘s presumed 3rd to last start was strong; 5 2/3 shutout innings in the series finale against the Reds on 8/18 (box/gamer).  Only a couple more starts to go before he hits his 160ip limit.  Here’s a couple of interesting stats on Zimmermann: he’s now 10th in the NL in WHIP, 2nd in the league (behind Halladay) in BB/9 and 4th in the league in K/BB ratio (behind the first 3 in the Philly rotation, in case anyone was doubting just how good their staff is).


  • John Lannan completely forgot how to find the plate on 8/13 (box/gamer). leading to a complete stomping from Philadelphia and an ugly 11-3 score line.  Luckily for Lannan, only one of the 7 runs he allowed was earned (a homer to Ryan Howard).


  • Chien Ming Wang‘s fourth start wasn’t nearly as exciting as his no-hitter bid last week; he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in a bit over 6 innings on 8/16 but cruised to the victory while the offense pounded opposing starter Mike Leake.  I was at this game and the ump seemed to be squeezing Wang on the low strike, which meant he had to work up in the zone a bit more.  Add to that a comment that the pitching coach made in post-game interviews; by virtue of the skipped game on sunday Wang got an extra days rest and was “too strong.”  He gave up more than a few hard-hit balls last night that were liners right at outfielders. He’s not getting any strikeouts either; he was never a big K/9 guy (4.1/9 on his career), but he’s had THREE strikeouts in 21 innings back. This the NL; you usually get 3 strikeouts by falling out of bed by virtue of the opposing pitcher and generally weaker lineups.  On the bright side, he was only at 78 pitches when getting yanked and probably could have finished 8 innings in 100 pitches.

Relievers of Note and other News

  • If you havn’t seen Bryce Harper‘s walk off homer from friday 8/12’s game … its worth a watch.  Estimated at 480feet to dead center, it was absolutely crushed.  Thankfully this bit of Harper news was a significant step up from earlier in the week, when he made all sorts of headlines for his ejection.  Keith Law, in a rare moment of levity among the typical over-reacting baseball pundit reporting w/r/t Harper, noted in his chat on thursday 8/11, put it best while responding to multiple baited questions about Harper’s makeup and his “issues” as follows: “Any other minor league player reacts badly to a called third strike, we hear nothing about it.I couldn’t agree more; I’m really tired of hearing about how Harper is immature and this and that, while every single emotion and action he has on the field is youtube’d for the world to see and overanalyze.  I’ve said this in this past; he’s not a robot, and he wouldn’t be as good as he is if he were emotionless on the field.
  • Stephen Strasburg’s 2nd rehab start went pretty durn well: 3 scoreless innings.  He threw 33 pitches (26 for strikes), was steady at 98, touched 99 and worked at least 3 of his 4 pitches (there was no mention of his 2-seamer, but its great to see him throwing his 90-mph changeup, the pitch that blew out his elbow in the first place).  Its also very interesting to see him talk about pitch counts and getting batters out with fewer pitches; he consciously wants to go deeper into games, knowing he’s on a 100-pitch limit.  He seems to be reading the party line, as Zimmermann has clearly adopted this approach so as to last longer.
  • Unfortunately, Strasburg’s 3rd start was not as promising: he gave up 5 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in just an inning and a third in Hagerstown on 8/17.   He was clearly wild on the night; he threw 49 pitches but just 29 for strikes.  Mark Zuckerman tries to figure out when he’ll debut in the majors here, guessing its either tuesday or wednesday in the first week of September.  Next rehab start: Monday 8/22/11 back in Hagerstown.
  • Wow; talk about timing (good or bad, depending on your viewpoint).  Jason Marquis, lost for the season after breaking his fibula on a come-backer.

3 Responses to 'Nats Rotation Cycle #25: good/bad/soso'

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  1. Just checked the stats on Marquis with ARI: 3 Games, 11.1 IP, 0-1, 9.53 ERA, 2.294 WHIP.

    I’d say Rizzo pulled off that trade at the PERFECT time. :)


    22 Aug 11 at 5:39 pm

  2. Wang kept the Phillies off balance just enough to let their bull pen once again to step into the breech and bomb. Detwiler was lights out last night going 6.2 innings (shoulda coulda been 7). Totally agree with you about Harper, on to the AFL!

    Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

    23 Aug 11 at 9:35 am

  3. I’d say. Not that he was going to break his leg for us necessarily, but what amazing timing.

    Todd Boss

    23 Aug 11 at 11:20 am

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