Filtering by Tag: Sample Sizes

The Struggles of the Nats Bullpen

The Washington Nationals are seven games into the 2013 season and so far thebullpen hasn't looked as dominant as advertised. They haven't made it a six or even seven inning game. Rafael Soriano has one blown save and gave up another two runs last night. The only two Nationals relievers with an ERA under 4.00 are Drew Storen and Ryan Mattheus, but at the same time no Nationals reliever has pitched more than four innings. This is a cripplingly small sample size and way too early to worry about anything. Tyler Clippard gave up all of his three earned runs last night on a walk, a weak single, and a Paul Konerko homerun.

All night Phil Cuzzi had a tight inconsistent strike zone and it shows in the fact that there were 15 runs scored and a total of six homeruns hit in the game. Pitchers were forced to pitch to the middle of the plate and when they didn't Cuzzi was not going to call a strike. Can't complain as he was at least consistently inconsistent and caused pitchers on both teams to pitch in the middle of the zone. Aside from the poor zone of Phil Cuzzi, Clippard's homerun was given up to Paul Konerko who is one of the most underrated players of all time. Konerko has 423 career homeruns and a career slash line of .282/.359/.498, and has never gotten the credit he deserves as one of the better players in baseball. There is no shame in giving up a homerun to Paul Konerko. The only bad part is that there happened to be two runners on base, but some of that was out of Clippards control as Cuzzi was only going to give the corners when he felt like it and that was not a half inning when he felt like it. ​

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Too Early to Pass Judgement

I made a mistake yesterday; I did the one thing on the internet that oneshould never do. I ventured into the WaPo comments section and let me add that I am lucky I got out of there alive. The thoughts of some people are profoundly confusing and the conclusions reached based on a six game sample size even more so. The main conclusion was that the Nats offense is going to be inconsistent, rely on the homer too much, and miss the power of Michael Morse. If just looking at the stats, that seems to be the case as the Nats so far this season are averaging 3.50 runs a game which has them ranked ninth in the NL. Meanwhile in Seattle Michael Morse has clubbed five homers in seven games putting him on pace to hit 115 this season. There is not nearly a large enough sample to draw any type of conclusions from either set of data and because one is a positive and the other a negative, neither is given an edge. The Nationals offense has yet to score as many runs as they are capable of, but there are some clues which should be encouraging.

The Nationals line-up is built around OBP at the top and power at the bottom with a middle of balanced hitters that can provide both. The Nats don't have a Prince Fielder or a Jose Bautista who is going to club close to 40 homers in a season, but 2-7 should be good for at least 20 each, and if the two homers Saturday from Ramos and the one Sunday from Suzuki are any indication the eighth spot could be good for around 20 as well. Getting 20 homers from seven of eight defensive positions isn't just good, it is great, and it is how Mike Rizzo built the Nationals.

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Suffering is a Result of the Game

Baseball is not a sport for those that hang importance on every victory.What is ultimately important in baseball is winning series and having winning streaks that last longer than losing streaks. The 2013 Nationals are off to the same 4-2 start as the 2012 Nationals even though those records were achieved in very different manners. The 2012 Nationals won series 2-1 against the Cubs (61-101) and Mets (74-88) to open up the season. The 2013 Nationals swept the understaffed Marlins and lost a series on the road 1-2 to the projected NL Central champion Reds. When the Nats play that Reds, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Braves on the road the result of the series should be 1-2. Those are the coin-flip games the Nationals are going to play and when those games are on the road the advantage turns ever so slightly in the favor of the home team. ​

Last season the Nationals had an April showdown series against the Dodgers. Bryce Harper made his debut, the Nats pitching was brilliant, Henry Rodriguez blew a save, and the Nats got swept. This past series against the Reds was very different. The Nats had their big free agent starting pitcher give up six runs in four innings of work, Ross Detwiler pitch brilliant and club five homers on offense to take the middle game, and then had their Ace, Stephen Strasburg, attempt to emulate Dan Haren's performance by giving up six runs in six innings of work. The argument can be made that Strasburg was finished after five innings, but if he truly is the Ace of this staff then he is the pitcher the team wants on the mound in the sixth no matter how he has looked. ​

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