Thursday, April 07, 2005

My Phavorite Philly


Tim Worrell, take a bow. The Nats have won two in a row and their first series, and you're the man who made it possible. On Wednesday, you came in with the Phillies up one and proceed to allow a veritable conga line of baserunners. One third of an inning, four hits, four runs. Today, you came in with a one run again and let Guillen hit a triple. Nick Johnson drove him in, and we were all set up for Vidro's and Cordero's 10th inning heroics. A city thanks you, Tim Worrell, and your 19.25 ERA is appreciated.

Anyway
, that was a hell of a fun game, and shame on you for not being there for the game thread. Be there next time. Frank made some questionable decisions and some good ones. He left Loaiza out there way longer than he should have - there's no way he should have pitched into the seventh. But he did the smart thing by bringing in closer Chad Cordero in a tie game.

It continues to be insane that Cristian Guzman, the worst non-pitcher hitter in the lineup, hits second. I don't expect it to continue much longer - we'd be in real trouble if he rapped out a couple of doubles from that slot. Brad Wilkerson - who got on base eight times in a row between the last two games - is still in the leadoff position, and there arguments on both sides. The best belong to Chris at Capitol Punishment, who's in favor.
Since Wilkerson is the team’s best hitter (Sorry, Jose fans), it makes sense to give him the most chances at the plate, and the most chances to help the team win, whether it’s with a double over the centerfielder’s head, or a leadoff walk. Hitting him lower in the order gives us fewer chances to watch the Hobbit meander around the bases. Over the course of a season, you can expect the lead-off hitter to come to the plate (ballpark) fifty more times than the fifth place hitter. That’d be fifty more plate appearances for him to show off his awesome goodness.
That's it, as far as I'm concerned. The leadoff hitter debate hides a more important problem: it's not that we lack a leadoff hitter, it's that we lack hitters. This isn't the best time to mention it, what with the three consecutive 10-hit games, but the Nats are not a good offensive club, and our leadoff quandry is a reflection of the fact that we have precious few hitters with good on-base percentages. Consider, if you will, the Marlins, our next opponent. They start their attack with Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. Neither is a star, neither can slug over .400, but both can get on base in the .370s. Endy Chavez was supposed to be like that, but he couldn't add that last 60 points of OBP (even though it's so easy). So we're left with the choice of two not-very-fast guys who should probably be hitting farther down. It speaks well of the team that they realize that they need a guy who takes pitches and gets on base at the top.

Wil Cordero's out, and I'll leave the jokes to Needham. He left the game and was on the DL before the inning was out. Carlos Baerga is called up from New Orleans to replace him. One immobile righty pinch-hitter/occasional starter's as good as another, right?

3 comments:

hubster20003 said...

Dear Mr Bowden,

Can someone other than Robinson manage this team?

That was unbelieveable today - I know Frank had Loaiza on a pitch count but he needed to come out of the game prior to pitching 103. It may have appeared that Robinson made the correct move by bringing Cordero in with the score tied. In reality, Robinson forced that to happen by bringing Ayala into the game in the 8th instead of leaving Horgan in the game. The top of the 9th had the pitcher batting second. Ayala was only going to be available for one inning. Horgan should have pitched the 8th after facing just two batters in the 7th. Ayala would have been ready to come in Horgan got into any trouble. Great job by Vidro to punch one out of the park to finish it off.
The player of the game is Horgan. When he got Thome out in the bottom of the 7th the stage was set to comeback and win that game.
As far as Guzman goes, he may not be hitting but he is still capable of doing the small things. For example, the sacrifices in the bottom of the 5th.
The bottome line problem is that the team does not have a lead off hitter. Period. This line-up should be build around the players we have and not the players we want them to be.
I think the order should be build around the clean-up hitter because this is where the runs are produced. So if you start with Guillen at the clean-up slot - you place the next two best RBI/HR guys on either side of him - Wilkerson and Castilla. Then the next two - Vidro and Johnson. That gives a core lineup of:
Vidro
Wilkerson
Guillen
Castilla
Johnson
You have the pitcher in the ninth slot and the catcher in the 8th slot.
So you have two open slots - leadoff and 7th slot. Now is Guzman a better hitter than Sledge/Church? Whomever is the better player leads off. I would put the veteran in the lead-off. Let's hope Sledge or Church have a good year so they can become trade bait for a centerfield/leadoff speedster. Not to much to ask for.
Now that Cordero is out, I wonder if we should have brought up another pitcher. We do not have a group of starters that is capable of going more than six innings.

Ryan said...

I don't regret wasting Horgan, but I would have liked to see Frank double-switch so as to keep Ayala in there longer than he did. Cordero did fine, though, and I heartily approve of using your best reliever when the game's on the line regardless of the score.

Sledge doesn't get on base all that well. Church might; we don't know. I like Vidro batting second and Wilk third, but I'd rather have Johnson at the top. You simply need to get men on base at the top of the order. That's the only consideration.

hubster20003 said...

A double switch would have been a good idea if Robinson did not pinch hit for Davis in the top of the 8th.
I would not mind experimenting with Johnson at the top.