Nationals Slump

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, June 24, 2010 | , , , | 3 comments »

"I hate to, and I won’t, make excuses for anybody, but sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the opposition. I’m not trying to rationalize too much, but we’ve run into a lot of well-pitched ballgames against us." -- Jim Riggleman, after yesterday's 1-0 loss to the Royals.

Here are the starting pitchers for the last five series (15 games) against the Nationals, with their ERAs at the start of that game:

Brian Bannister:  5.70
Anthony Lerew:  4.76
Bruce Chen: 4.15
Freddie Garcia:  4.94
Jake Peavy:  5.62
Gavin Floyd:  5.64
Jeremy Bonderman:  4.21
Justin Verlander:  3.56
Max Scherzer:  6.30
David Huff:  5.82
Fausto Carmona:  3.23
Jake Westbrook:  4.62
Zack Duke:  5.30
Brad Lincoln:  (MLB debut)
Jeff Karstens:  4.81
Other than Verlander, and maybe Carmona, do you see any other all-stars in there?  These are the guys shutting the Washington Nationals offense down right now.
Over the period, the Nats have hit .238/.286/.394 and averaged 3.2 runs per game.  Not surprisingly, they are 6-9 during that stretch (remember the sweep of the Pirates?  How bad are they???).
Looking at their last nine games it's even worse.  The Nats are 2-7 in that period, hitting .203/.248/.314 as a team, averaging 2.2 runs per game.
Just about everyone's been affected, but when the numbers are laid out individually they are pretty glaring.  Maybe it's just coincidental, but here are the Nats hitters' averages since June 8, the day Stephen Strasburg debuted:
Nyjer Morgan:  .207/.273/.207
Cristian Guzman:  .269/.296/.385
Ryan Zimmerman:  .222/.283/.352
Adam Dunn:  .304/.350/.732
Josh Willingham:  .245/.327/.510
Ivan Rodriguez:  .279/.295/.349
Roger Bernadina:  .333/.385/.500
Ian Desmond:  .149/.184/.255
Adam Kennedy:  .176/.300/.176
Willie Harris:  .000/.000/.000 in 18 plate appearances
Michael Morse:  .450/.500/.900 in 22 plate appearance
Maybe it's time for the manager to stop tipping his hat to the opposition and try to mix some things up with his own players.
Ben Goessling over at has some thoughts on line-up construction today, but a quote by Ryan Zimmerman really caught my interest. 
"At the end of the year, our numbers will probably be the same as they always are."
I wonder if Zimmerman knows Guzman's career on-base percentage is .308?  Or if Pudge has compiled a .306 OBP since 2004.  Or if Willie Harris is a .240 lifetime hitter?

Not sure that is something to aspire to.


  1. donald // June 24, 2010 at 1:25 PM  

    Now take Dunn away from that and look at it, we have to keep him or we will lose the city, we don't really have a major league lineup without him.

  2. Dave Nichols // June 24, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

    problem is, it's not really even with him in it.

    Morgan falling to below-career numbers kills this team. if he had simply reverted to career norms this year (.285/.340) they'd be ok. but at the rate he's going, and add in all the CSs, he's below-replacement value.

    another problem: Nats power (Zim, Dunn, Hammer) are all extremely streaky. can carry the team for a couple weeks, then completely disappear.

    Zim had a stretch of over 200 at bats last year where he hit .220. as still finished with career numbers.

  3. Anonymous // June 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

    The opposing starter's season ERA on the day of a start doesn't really tell you all that much about how well he's pitching that day. Except maybe early in the season, of course. Most pitchers wax and wane, go hot for a while and then get hammered for a while. What you really need to know is how they had been pitching in the start or two before they faced the Nats. For instance, Gavin Floyd's ERA doesn't look all that hot, but right before he faced Strasburg he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in the Sunday night game vs the Cubs.