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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grantland: Break Up the Washington Nationals’ Pitching Staff

This is, of course, the REAL reason they’ll never let Teddy “the Trustbuster” win…

If Major League Baseball were Little League, and I were the helicopter parent of, say, Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar, I would be upset and bitter that the coaches of the Washington Nationals conspired to get all the good pitchers on their team. Also, I’d be totally ashamed of my son … a 6.57 ERA, Luke? Papa doesn’t love you anymore. Maybe he never did.

Let’s start with Edwin Jackson. On Monday night, he faced the Toronto Blue Jays in a battle of capital cities. Unless Toronto isn’t Canada’s capital city, in which case I don’t really have an angle here. Regardless, the Blue Jays are one of the most potent offenses in the American League. They’ve scored 296 runs in a division (AL East) with a plethora of good-to-great pitchers. What did Jackson do? Eight innings, four hits, two runs.

The win moved the 28-year-old Jackson to 3-3 on the season, but the record doesn’t tell the full story. His ERA after 12 starts is 3.02, on pace to be his lowest ever in a full season. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching, a metric used to assess a pitcher’s overall effectiveness) is in the National League’s top 30. His walk rate and home run rate are lower than they’ve ever been (again, using full-season stats), and his 16 percent line drive rate is sixth-lowest in the league, and also the lowest of his career.

You get the point. There’s no way the Nationals could have expected this when they signed Jackson to a one-year deal in February.

But here’s the crazy part: He is their fourth starter.

Esoteric Posted: June 12, 2012 at 11:51 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, washington

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   1. JustDan Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4155524)
In other Washington Nationals pitcher news, Gio Gonzalez needs a date.
   2. TerpNats Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4155527)
If Major League Baseball were Little League, and I were the helicopter parent of, say, Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar, I would be upset and bitter that the coaches of the Washington Nationals conspired to get all the good pitchers on their team.
After all that baseball, intentionally or otherwise, has conspired against Washington lo these many years (the first Senators fleeing for the Twin Cities just when the young talent got good, MLB's bare-boned ownership of the Expos-turned-Nats, Cuban Pete holding D.C. hostage then hamstringing the franchise through MASN, etc.), isn't this merely fate letting things even out?
   3. JJ1986 Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4155530)
On Monday night, he faced the Toronto Blue Jays in a battle of capital cities. Unless Toronto isn’t Canada’s capital city, in which case I don’t really have an angle here.


I hate when ######## write as if they can't go back and delete things.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4155543)
The win moved the 28-year-old Jackson to 3-3 on the season, but the record doesn’t tell the full story. His ERA after 12 starts is 3.02, on pace to be his lowest ever in a full season. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching, a metric used to assess a pitcher’s overall effectiveness) is in the National League’s top 30. His walk rate and home run rate are lower than they’ve ever been (again, using full-season stats), and his 16 percent line drive rate is sixth-lowest in the league, and also the lowest of his career.

You get the point. There’s no way the Nationals could have expected this when they signed Jackson to a one-year deal in February.


Jackson's FIP was 3.55 last year and would have been top 30 in the NL, it's 3.50 this year, his walk rate has improved from 7.2% to 6.9%, his home run rate has actually gotten a bit worse going from 1.9% to 2.2%, his overall line is right in line with ZiPS in fact.

Long story short, Edwin Jackson is doing EXACTLY what the Nationals should have expected when they signed Jackson to a one-year deal in February.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4155549)
how about that davey johnson?

sat out forever and look at him now
   6. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4155555)
Aside from the overall bumbling and bungling in the article, it's nice that guys like Gio and Edwin Jackson and Jordan Zimmermann get some recognition.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4155581)
After all that baseball, intentionally or otherwise, has conspired against Washington lo these many years (the first Senators fleeing for the Twin Cities just when the young talent got good, MLB's bare-boned ownership of the Expos-turned-Nats, Cuban Pete holding D.C. hostage then hamstringing the franchise through MASN, etc.), isn't this merely fate letting things even out?

After about 9 or 10 championships in a row, with a few season sweeps of the Braves, Phillies and Mets thrown in, I'd say that Washington fans would finally be made whole. But not before that.
   8. booond Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4155678)
I hate when ######## write as if they can't go back and delete things.


You didn't find that passage smart and witty? I believe that was his intent.
   9. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4155737)
how about that davey johnson?

sat out forever and look at him now


Is it just me, or does he look lost out there a lot? Not joking, he literally looks lost out there the majority of the time. I think he needs to go if the Nats are truly going to take the "next step". Just an observer's opinion. Again, LOVE what's going on over there.
   10. Guapo Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4155744)
I hate when ######## write as if they can't go back and delete things.


There is some really good, and some really awful, writing at Grantland. The good writing tends to be by authors I've heard of previously. Some of the new guys are lousy.

Like the following from the NBA Finals preview, regarding Westbrook and Wade:

Stylistically, they're surprisingly similar, bowling-ball guards who hurl themselves at the rim across space and time. Temperamentally, they're opposites — Wade a contemptuous aristocrat coolly wrecking peasants, Westbrook an enthusiastic experimenter with drugs he invents in his basement. Glasses-wise, it's not clear they can exist in the same room without someone getting hurt, or possibly spontaneously developing 20/0 vision. "I can see clearly now, because I didn't need prescription lenses in the first place," Johnny Nash sings faintly, before they decapitate him.


wtf?
   11. Esoteric Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4155758)
Is it just me, or does he look lost out there a lot? Not joking, he literally looks lost out there the majority of the time. I think he needs to go if the Nats are truly going to take the "next step". Just an observer's opinion. Again, LOVE what's going on over there.
It's just you. Seriously.

The way Davey has run the bench and bullpen (which are the manager's major in-game roles) has been damn near flawless. A lot of people didn't like it when he kept giving Henry Rodriguez chances to save, but the kid has so much raw talent that he had to make sure. Beyond that, his bullpen management has been a sight to behold, and his pinch-hitting and late-game-sub choices have worked preternaturally well.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4155765)
Not joking, he literally looks lost out there the majority of the time.

Johnson doesn't seem to show much reaction but I don't think his decision-making has been a problem. He's older than most folks we're used to seeing in the dugout, but that doesn't mean he has lost it.
   13. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: June 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4155769)
Overall I'd say Davey has done a pretty good job, but I found it kind of disturbing how long he kept Desmond in the leadoff spot, when it should have been obvious a long time ago that Desmond isn't suited to be a leadoff hitter.

Also, I really wish he would stop bouncing Harper all over the damn outfield already. Harper's defense could use a little work; at some point they need to just decide what his position is and let him play there.
   14. Dan Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4155773)
Also, I really wish he would stop bouncing Harper all over the damn outfield already. Harper's defense could use a little work; at some point they need to just decide what his position is and let him play there.


This is the one thing that I think Johnson has been doing wrong. Just stick Harper in CF everyday and let mediocrities like Ankiel and Bernadina be the guys to shuttle around between the corners.
   15. Guapo Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4155776)
I think Davey should also get credit for the way he's handled Harper. Certainly Harper gets the lion's share for how he's performed, but putting Harper in the 2 spot was an interesting choice that so far has worked out very well.

   16. PreservedFish Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4155779)
Glasses-wise, it's not clear they can exist in the same room without someone getting hurt, or possibly spontaneously developing 20/0 vision. "I can see clearly now, because I didn't need prescription lenses in the first place," Johnny Nash sings faintly, before they decapitate him.


I went to the site to check if this was real or not. This is really bewildering.

I understand what he's referring to - they are both high energy guys, and they both wear glasses that they don't need - but that took a while to figure out, and I still don't get what he's saying here. Is he saying anything? Wow. This is a disaster.
   17. JustDan Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4155787)
they both wear glasses that they don't need


Seriously? While playing or is some fashion thing?

BTW that is some bad writing.
   18. JJ1986 Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4155789)
I think it translates as:

If you compare their eyewear, they both wear glasses, though neither player needs them. I can make pop-culture references! Decapitate is a cool word!
   19. JustDan Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4155794)
Tyler Moore is having himself quite a game!

2 home runs and a ground-rule double.. 3 hits that left the park.
   20. baudib Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4155799)
edit for wrong thread!
   21. esseff Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4155806)
Tyler Moore is having himself quite a game!


So now the female fans will want to marry Tyler Moore?


   22. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4155815)
Did he throw his hat in the air after one of the homers?
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4155862)
between sticking harper in the middle of the lineup and moving him around the outfield i think davey is testing the kid to see what he can handle

and the kid does lead the team in ops for anyone with any amount of time played.

as for desmond the nationals lineup kind of stinks so with desmond having a bit of power i think davey is taking a guy who is one of his decent hitters, in relative terms, and using him where he is suited with respect to other guys. the nationals have what, 3 regulars/semi-regulars with an obp over .340?

when morse and zimmerman get going the lineup is going to have some oomph.

   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 13, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4155866)
Just call him "Mar".
   25. Gonfalon B. Posted: June 13, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4155993)
Tyler Moore is having himself quite a game!

So now the female fans will want to marry Tyler Moore?

Did he throw his hat in the air after one of the homers?


You know what? He's got spunk.
   26. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4156008)
You know what? He's got spunk.

Ahh, that explains it.
I hate spunk.
   27. Srul Itza Posted: June 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4156028)
Given that the show ran from 1970-77, some of you are really dating yourself.

And given that Davey Johnson has an overall winning record with each team he has ever managed, I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
   28. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: June 13, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4156033)
Given that the show ran from 1970-77, some of you are really dating yourself.

Well, at least we can get SOME kind of a date, but what about Gio???

Word is that in the dugout some of them call Davey Johnson "Mister Grant" when Tyler Moore is around.
   29. rlc Posted: June 13, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4156054)
some of you are really dating yourself.


That would be a nothing date. Is there anyone who could make it all seem worthwhile?
   30. esseff Posted: June 13, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4156057)
Tyler Moore and Harper could be a good combo, as long as they don't go through with that "Rhoda" spinoff idea.
   31. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4156305)
Eh, I have no problem with Harper moving around right now. Seems good for him to have new things to focus on. At the moment he seems capable everywhere, although prone to stupid brain farts.
   32. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 13, 2012 at 11:45 PM (#4156306)
So now the female fans will want to marry Tyler Moore?


Ugh, that was awful. Hit the Rhoda.

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