Series #10 Preview: Nats at Pirates

Aftera three game slide that encompassed the final game of the Reds series and the first two of the four-game set in Atlanta, the middle/back of the rotation were instrumental in earning the Nats a series split. On the injury side of things Bryce Harper sustained a bruised rib on Wednesday and was pulled from the game, but was back in the lineup on Thursday. Werth missed two games, was back in the lineup Thursday before being pulled in the 4th and is not in the lineup for Friday’s game in Pittsburgh. Friday marks the return of Ryan Zimmerman from the DL and Danny Espinosa from the bench. The Nats are also tinkering with the lineup a bit, sliding Ian Desmond to the two-spot with Tyler Moore hitting sixth in place of Werth in RF.

After starting 1-5 against the Cubs and Dodgers, the Pirates have rebounded to a 16-12 record, winning six of their last ten, good for second place in the NL Central behind St Louis. The Pirates currently have a middling offense averaging 4.14 runs per game (18th MLB) with a team .705 OPS (19th MLB). The pitching staff is just as middle of the road, with a team 3.87 ERA (T-15th MLB) while only allowing opposing batters to hit .233 (4th MLB) but are also walking the fourth most batters in baseball to this point, 111.

Game 30: Friday, May 3, PNC Park 7:05pm, Ross Detwiler, LHP (1-2, 2.03 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett, RHP (2-2, 2.83 ERA)

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Ross Detwiler’s most recent start, against the Reds, was just that: a start. It wasn’t a good start, it wasn’t a bad start. He gave up some hard hit balls, had a few bad luck plays where BABIP came into play and ultimately gave up only two runs on 11 hits, striking out three in only five innings while taking the loss. Ross has been stellar so far this season and looks to get right back on that track against Pittsburgh.

Through two career starts against Pittsburgh Detwiler is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA, a 1.000 WHIP and a 8.2 K/9. In roughly one start-worth of PA’s (22) against current Pirates Detwiler had held the team to a .545 OPS, with the lone standout being exactly who you’d think it would be: Andrew McCutchen who is 3 for 3 against Ross, compiling a 2.000 OPS in 3 PA’s.

Current Pirates vs Ross Detwiler:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA." align="center">PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year." align="center">BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Andrew McCutchen 3 3 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Russell Martin 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Neil Walker 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Jose Tabata 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Clint Barmes 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Pedro Alvarez 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Gaby Sanchez 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
John McDonald 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 22 22 6 0 0 0 3 0 2 .273 .273 .273 .545
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2013.

AJ Burnett, the former Marlin, Blue Jay and Yankee, is having himself a fairly nice start to the season. In six games started this year he’s 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA (2.56 FIP). The interesting things are his K rate of 12.34 per nine innings when he is a career 8.27 K/9 guy, and the fact that his BABIP (.321) is actually sitting about 30 points higher than his career average of .291. The only downside to his start in 2013 is the fact that he has not been able to go deep into games, averaging fewer than six innings pitched per start to this point while throwing an average of 104 pitches per outing; compared to averaging nearly 6.2 IP on an average of 98 pitches over 31 starts in 2012.

Burnett is mainly a Fastball (89-96, 92 avg) and Curve (78-88, 82 avg) guy, who also has a Sinker (90-96, 93 avg) that he throws about 15% of the time and a Changeup (85-90, 87 avg) that he peppers in once in a blue moon (4%).

In 15 career appearances (14 starts) against Washington, Burnett is 7-3 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.160 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. Against current Nats Burnett has held the team to a collective .738 OPS over 110 PA’s. Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth lead the way for the Nats with 1.011 and 1.089 OPS’ over 20 and 16 PA’s respectively.

Current Nationals vs. AJ Burnett:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA." align="center">PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year." align="center">BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Denard Span 25 24 7 1 0 0 0 1 8 .292 .320 .333 .653
Kurt Suzuki 24 21 6 1 0 0 2 3 4 .286 .375 .333 .708
Adam LaRoche 20 18 6 2 0 1 5 2 7 .333 .400 .611 1.011
Jayson Werth 16 14 4 0 0 2 4 2 4 .286 .375 .714 1.089
Chad Tracy 7 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .286 .000 .286
Bryce Harper 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .500 .750
Ian Desmond 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Wilson Ramos 3 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 .333 .333 1.333 1.667
Danny Espinosa 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Roger Bernadina 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Steve Lombardozzi 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 110 100 25 5 0 4 12 9 33 .250 .318 .420 .738
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2013.

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Game 31: Saturday, May 4, PNC Park 4:05pm, Stephen Strasburg, RHP (1-4, 3.13 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke, LHP (3-1, 2.83 ERA)

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Strasburg has not looked incredibly comfortable on the mound so far this season. That’s not to say he’s hurt or that something is wrong, but he certainly hasn’t looked himself. While you wouldn’t know it from his line on Monday night, that was absolutely the same case in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see if he can regain some of the mound presence he had in 2012 starting with the trip to Pittsburgh.

Including his memorable Major League debut Stephen Strasburg has faced the Pirates twice in his career, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.923 WHIP and 18.7 K/9. No, that is not a typo. His numbers against current Pirates are just as stellar, holding the team to a .563 OPS, including Adrew McCutchen to a .533 OPS over 6 PA’s. Neil Walker and Jose Tabata have fared the best against Strasburg in small sample sizes with .900 and 1.333 OPS’ in 6 and 3 PA’s respectively.

Current Pirates vs Stephen Strasburg:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA." align="center">PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year." align="center">BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Gaby Sanchez 12 11 2 1 0 0 1 1 3 .182 .250 .273 .523
Neil Walker 6 5 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 .400 .500 .400 .900
Andrew McCutchen 6 5 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 .200 .333 .200 .533
Garrett Jones 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .000 .000 .000 .000
Jose Tabata 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333
Pedro Alvarez 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .333 .000 .333
Clint Barmes 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Michael McKenry 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500
Total 41 37 8 2 0 0 3 4 17 .216 .293 .270 .563
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2013.

A middling prospect for the Pirates Jeff Locke made his debut in 2011 to little fanfare throwing 16.2 big league innings that year and another 34.1 in 2012. Making the MLB roster out of spring training this year he had a mediocre first three starts, going 1-1 with a 5.17 ERA and a 0.66 K:BB. His two most recent games have been a completely different story as he’s riding a 13 inning shutout streak after shutting down both the Phillies and the Cardinals while raising his K:BB to 2.5 over the period.

Locke mainly relies on his Fastball (84-93, 90 avg) about 66% of the time while splitting the rest of his pitches evenly between a Changeup (79-84, 81 avg) and a Curveball (75-84, 80 avg). Locke has faced neither the Nationals nor any current Nats.

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Game 32: Sunday, May 5, PNC Park 1:35pm, Gio Gonzalez, LHP (2-2, 5.34 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (2-1, 3.91 ERA)

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Most of what can be said about Gio thus far this season has already been said. He’s been inefficient on the mound and certainly has not been sharp with his pitches leading to a BB/9 of 5.1, which would be his highest total since 2009, while only averaging 5.1 IP per start on an average of 98 pitches…or seven more pitches than Jordan Zimmermann needed to throw a complete game against the Reds. Just like Stras, we’re all hoping that this next start is the one that jump-starts Gio to 2012 form.

Gio has faced the Pirates twice in his career, going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.077 WHIP and a 8.3 K/9. As good as the numbers Nats starters had above, Gio’s are by far the best. He holds current Pirates to a .420 OPS combined over 56 PA’s with only Andrew McCutchen (.900 OPS) and Russell Martin (1.025 OPS) with OPS’ over .440.

Current Pirates vs Gio Gonzalez:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA." align="center">PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year." align="center">BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Brandon Inge 12 11 1 0 1 0 1 1 3 .091 .167 .273 .439
Russell Martin 8 5 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 .400 .625 .400 1.025
Andrew McCutchen 6 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .400 .500 .400 .900
Jose Tabata 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .167 .000 .167
John McDonald 5 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Gaby Sanchez 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Clint Barmes 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Travis Snider 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Neil Walker 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Garrett Jones 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Wandy Rodriguez 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 56 49 7 0 1 0 1 5 10 .143 .236 .184 .420
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2013.

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The longtime Astro and subject of trade-deadline talk for easily the last four years, Wandy Rodriguez was finally dealt midseason in 2012 to the Pirates and stuck pretty close to his career averages for the remainder of the year. In five starts this season Rodriguez is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA (5.23 FIP) with strikeouts down from career averages, 6.39 compared to 7.43 career, and has had a HR spike in his last two games pumping it up to a 1.78 HR/9, which will certainly come down. In his most recent start he was lit up by the Brewers, only lasting 3.2 IP while surrendering 7 earned runs on six hits, three of which left the yard.

Wandy mainly relies on his Four-Seam Fastball (86-93, 89 avg) and Curveball (72-81, 76 avg), while mixing in a Two-Seam Fastball (87-93, 90 avg) and a rare Changeup (78-86, 83 avg).

In his nine year career Rodriguez has faced Washington ten times going 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA, 1.250 WHIP and 7.1 K/9. He has also handled current Nationals fairly well, holding them to a .653 OPS with only Jayson Werth (.846 OPS) posting an OPS over .700. It should be noted that Wandy Rodriguez has never faced Bryce Harper.

Current Nationals vs. Wandy Rodriguez:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA." align="center">PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year." align="center">BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played" align="center">OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Adam LaRoche 23 23 8 0 0 0 5 0 3 .348 .348 .348 .696
Jayson Werth 13 13 5 1 0 0 0 0 3 .385 .385 .462 .846
Ian Desmond 12 12 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .250 .333 .583
Danny Espinosa 9 9 2 0 1 0 0 0 5 .222 .222 .444 .667
Roger Bernadina 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Zach Duke 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Chad Tracy 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Gio Gonzalez 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 73 70 20 3 1 0 6 1 17 .286 .296 .357 .653
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2013.

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