Nationals Arm Race

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

August 2013 Monthly review of Nats rotation by Opponent

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Strasburg has an nice bounceback month.  Photo unk via

Strasburg has an nice bounceback month. Photo unk via

Continuing a monthly series of look-backs at our starters (here’s Apr 2013May 2013June 2013July2013 posts), here’s a glance at how our rotation did for the last month. As with previous posts, we’ll have “Grades” per outing, the team’s performance per opposing starter sliced and diced a few ways, and other per-starter stuff that I like to track.

MLB Rotation Per-Start Grades (click here for Nats overall season stats)

Strasburg: A-,A+,F/inc,B-,A/inc
Gonzalez: B+,B+/inc,B+,F,A+
Zimmermann: A,D,A,F,A-,B+
Haren: A,A,A,A,C-,F-
Ohlendorf: D-,A-

Roark: A+ long relief stint

Quick Summary:  Stephen Strasburg remembered how to pitch again and had several strong outings.  His two “incomplete” starts were of course the Atlanta pay-back game and last week’s rain delay game.  Its pretty unfair to give him an “F” in a game where he failed to finish the 2nd inning but … you have to give some sort of grade there.  I’d give him an “A+” for being the first and only guy on the team to show any g*d d*mn backbone in the wake of the Bryce Harper bean-balls.  Dan Haren put together four great starts in a row after coming off the D/L and promptly laid an egg in his weekend start.  Ross Ohlendorf has been shaky, prompting many (including me) to replace him with Tanner Roark.   


Performance By Opponent Starting Pitcher Rotation Order Number

A look at the opposing team’s rotation ranked 1-5 in the order they’re appearing from opening day.  This table changes at the all-star break and honestly must be taken with a grain of salt, since guys like Clayton Kershaw are now the “#3 starter” on their teams because their turns were skipped coming out of the all-star game.  But here’s the table anyway:

Starter # Record Opposing Starter in Wins Opposing Starter in Losses
1 1-4 Kendrick Lohse, Samardzija, Santana, Gee
2 3-2 Bumgarner, Rusin, Eovaldi Wood, Wheeler
3 4-1 Lincecum, Minor, Arrieta, Alvarez Minor
4 4-3 Koehler, Davis, Lannan, Gorzelanny Teheran (2), Vogelsong
5 4-1 Hand, Lee, Wood, Chen Medlen

Quick thoughts:  Kyle Kendrick as #1 starter, yeah.  Lets just move on.

Performance By Opponent Starting Pitcher Actual Performance Rank Intra-Rotation

A ranking of opposing teams’ rotations by pure performance at the time of the series, using ERA+ heavily.

Starter # Record Opposing Starter in Wins Opposing Starter in Losses
1 4-3 Bumgarner, Minor, Lee, Wood Minor, Lohse, Santana
2 2-2 Rusin, Gorzelanny Teheran (2)
3 4-4 Chen, Alvarez, Hand, Lincecum Samardzija, Wood, Medlen, Wheeler
4 2-1 Lannan, Eovaldi Gee
5 4-1 Kendrick, Arrieta, Davis, Koehler Vogelsong

Quick Thoughts: Not much; the next table is the most useful.

Performance By Opponent Starting Pitcher League-wide “Rank”
My favorite analysis each month.  A team-independent assignment of a league-wide “rank” of what the starter is. Is he an “Ace?” Is he a #2?

1 2-0 Bumgarner, Lee
2 0-1 Samardzija
3 3-8 Wood, Minor, Lincecum Lohse, Santana, Minor, Teheran (2), Wood, Wheeler, Medlen
4 1-2 Kendrick Gee, Vogelsong
5 8-0 Rusin, Gorzelanny, Alvarez, Hand, Chen, Eovaldi, Arrieta, Lannan
5+ 2-0 Davis, Koehler

Quick thoughts:  The Nats showed some interesting results this past month when it came to the talent levels of their opposing starter.  They got the best of the two best arms they faced all month (Madison Bumgarner and Cliff Lee) but then faltered badly against what I call #3 starters.  Meanwhile they pummelled the starters they should have, going 10-0 against #5 or lower starters in this league.  This is what you want to see frankly.

Records by Pitching Advantage

Start-by-start advantages in my own opinion and then looking at the results.

Advantage Desc Record Matchups in Wins Matchups resulting in Losses
Wash 10-2 Zimm-Gee, Stras-Minor
Even 4-6 Ohl-Arrieta, Ohl-Eovaldi, Haren-Hand, Stras-Minor
Opp 2-3 Jordan-Lee, Gio-Bumgarner Jordan-Wood, Haren-Santana, Jordan-Lohse

Quick thoughts:  For the first time all year, the Nats really took care of business when I thought they had the starting pitching advantage.  They went about even when the stakes were even.  That’s good.

Matchup analysis

Looking at the opposing starter rank that our guys are going up against to see how their competition fares.

Nats Starters Opponents matchup analysis Nats Record under starter
Strasburg three #3s, a #4, a #5 4-1
Gonzalez An ace, two #3s, two #5/#5+ 3-2
Zimmermann A #2, two #3s, a #4 and 2 #5s 3-3
Haren Two #3s a #4 three #5s 3-3
Jordan An Ace and two #3s 1-2
Ohlendorf Two #5s 2-0
team ttl for month: 16-11

Quick Thoughts: A good month all things considered, going 16-11.   Too much one step forward/one step back though with the middle of their rotation.

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