The Faltering Bullpen Uplifted

It is always tough to tell how a reliever is doing. Their entire season is a small sample size. The best relievers pitch less than half as many innings as a starting pitcher. So, breaking it down further to one month could be even more foolhardy. One bad outing can ruin a reliever's ERA. Look at Tom Gorzelanny. He had one rough outing in the beginning of the season against the Astros where he gave up six runs, but that one outing is enough to make his 3.64 ERA enough to not fully explain how good and how important Gorzelanny has been to the Nationals bullpen.

Small sample size or not the Nationals bullpen was not good in July. They have the seventh worst bullpen ERA over that time at 4.73. Clippard, H-Rod, and Mattheus all have ERA's over 5.00 while Storen and Stammen both have ERA's in the 4.00. The most innings pitched in July were the 15 1/3 of Stammen but if the Nats bullpen continues to falter like this, things might get even tighter as the Braves are starting to roll.

To show the exact importance of a bullpen when compared to starting pitching and offense the Nats had the third best starters ERA for July at 2.82 and are tied with the Angels for the most runs scored in the month at 132. All of this combined to lead to the Nationals best month of the season despite the outcome of this evening's game. The Nats will either finish the month 17-9 or 18-8 and continue their streak of not having a losing month in the 2012 season.

As far as how the Nats offense has done this season here is a comparison of their stats to league average. Below are two charts the first is NL average for positions and below that is the Nationals average for those positions.

 

Split G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
as C 1636 5794 641 1459 281 13 189 757 55 33 564 1253 .252 .322 .403 .725
as 1B 1636 6136 758 1611 399 19 215 862 56 24 644 1393 .263 .334 .439 .773
as 2B 1636 6296 806 1656 348 45 129 672 137 47 535 1185 .263 .325 .394 .719
as 3B 1636 6215 785 1640 368 34 194 846 95 44 568 1257 .264 .329 .428 .756
as SS 1636 6380 797 1650 329 51 123 605 157 63 475 1171 .259 .312 .384 .696
as LF 1636 6381 843 1717 333 45 218 854 142 53 576 1340 .269 .333 .438 .770
as CF 1636 6374 907 1693 283 77 158 667 306 95 604 1465 .266 .332 .409 .741
as RF 1636 6312 931 1636 330 54 235 807 140 63 622 1459 .259 .330 .440 .770
as DH 126 491 54 115 26 1 16 78 14 2 41 126 .234 .299 .389 .688
as P 1509 2942 156 375 57 5 12 140 21 15 126 1272 .127 .165 .162 .327
as PH 1350 2138 250 516 100 13 57 299 29 9 222 608 .241 .317 .380 .697
as PH for DH 10 9 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .222 .300 .222 .522
Other 4 3 2 2 1 1 0 2 13 4 1 0 .667 .750 1.667 2.417
as Infield 1636 30821 3787 8016 1725 162 850 3742 427 179 2786 6259 .260 .324 .409 .734
as Outfield 1636 19067 2681 5046 946 176 611 2328 575 204 1802 4264 .265 .332 .429 .760
at Def. Pos. 1636 24844 3151 6458 1241 186 599 2701 599 210 2178 5074 .260 .323 .397 .720
at Off. Pos. 1636 25044 3317 6604 1430 152 862 3369 408 174 2410 5449 .264 .331 .436 .767
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/31/2012.

  Report from Baseball-Reference.com.

  

 

 

Split G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
as C 101 358 36 84 15 1 8 36 2 2 30 80 .235 .294 .349 .644
as 1B 101 390 55 111 28 1 25 76 1 1 49 102 .285 .359 .554 .913
as 2B 101 405 51 102 25 2 9 37 15 4 30 109 .252 .317 .390 .707
as 3B 101 412 64 110 26 0 15 56 3 1 36 75 .267 .328 .439 .767
as SS 101 421 58 123 29 3 18 60 16 5 20 90 .292 .326 .504 .829
as LF 101 388 44 89 17 0 10 39 9 2 35 74 .229 .296 .351 .647
as CF 101 395 46 104 23 4 10 38 13 4 36 112 .263 .326 .418 .744
as RF 101 407 52 103 14 3 14 44 7 3 35 92 .253 .312 .405 .718
as DH 9 36 3 7 2 0 0 2 1 0 1 11 .194 .211 .250 .461
as P 92 177 11 33 7 0 2 12 1 1 12 60 .186 .241 .260 .501
as PH 85 112 20 33 10 1 2 16 4 0 18 36 .295 .407 .455 .863
as Infield 101 1986 264 530 123 7 75 265 36 12 165 456 .267 .326 .449 .775
as Outfield 101 1190 142 296 54 7 34 121 28 9 106 278 .249 .312 .392 .703
at Def. Pos. 101 1579 191 413 92 10 45 171 44 14 116 391 .262 .316 .418 .734
at Off. Pos. 101 1597 215 413 85 4 64 215 20 7 155 343 .259 .324 .437 .761
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/31/2012.

 

The Nats are well above league average at first base, pitcher, bench, and short stop for the season, around but above league average at third base and center field, are below but around league average at second base, and are below league average for left field and right field. Some of those positions are dragged down by early season struggles though. If Ryan Zimmerman's post cortisone surge were included at third base then the numbers would be much different as would left if Michael Morse had been healthy and playing there all season. As of right now the Nationals have overall above average offense and once Werth and Desmond return they will be above average at as many as seven positions.

That counts on a lot going right and while that has rarely been the case for the Nationals this season their depth has shown. When a line-up consists of as many above average pieces as the Nats does then if one isn't preforming to expecations then someone else will. That is the way it has gone all season for the Nationals and why in the worst month for the Nationals bullpen other parts of the team were able to step up and lead them to their best month of the season so far.    

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