Monday, May 30, 2005

50 games played, 50 observations made

1. Middling, or worse: 25-25, 8th (out of 16---all comparisons in NL) in ERA, 14th in runs scored.
2. But middling's good: I predicted 75-87, and right now Nats are on pace for . . . hold on while I plug in the calculations . . . 81-81. Not too bad, folks.
3. Lack of (non-Nick Johnson) selectivity bemoaned: Nats 10th in "Isolated Patience" (OBP - BA) at .065.
4. Put 'em in play: Only Rockies have struck out fewer batters than Nats (259).
5. But we'll give the free pass: Nats 11th in walks allowed with 174. (Poor Colorado: fewest Ks, most BBs.)
6. Surprise, surprise! Nats 2nd in sacrifices, with 25. (Only Arizona has more.)
7. Sheer excitement! Nats lead league in sacrifice flies, with 19.
8. Ugh: Nats' 52% stolen base success rate worst in NL.
9. Bring us the head of Lance Cormier! Nats second in hit-by-pitches.
10. Thanks, RFK! Only anemic Astros average more AB-per-HR than Nats (43.4).
11. Geriatric, but not SF-geriatic: Nats tied for second in GIDP (41), but Giants No. 1 with syringe, er, bullet there.
12. See it/hit it, see No. 3: Nats tied for 12th in pitches-per-plate appearance.
13. Saber-bait: Nats 15th in runs created-per-27 outs.
14. Thanks, RFK! (part deux): Nats 2nd in fewest homers allowed. (Four of top five are NL East teams.)
15. Blow this! Nats' 3 blown saves tied for 2nd fewest.
16. Schneider, the super: Nats 2nd in lowest opposition caught stealing percentage (47%).
17. DIPS (measuring) stick: Nats 8th in DIPS ERA, at 4.25.
18. Efficient or easily-tired? Nats 9th in pitcher-per-start (94.5).
19. What platoon advantage? Lefties Wilkerson (.212), Schneider (.223) struggle vs. righty pitching.
20. What platoon advantage? (part deux): Righty slugger Jose Guillen (.228) struggles vs. lefty pitching.
21. Well, who cares? Situational splits like those based on fairly small samples, not necessarily meaningful.
22. Byrd watching: Endy replacement batting .357, with one double in 28 ABs.
23. Nats' offense as a 550 AB regular: .259/.324/.397, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 65 R, 30 2B, 3 3B, 3 SB.
24. Perspective: Above numbers near-dead ringer for average NL catcher in '04: .258/.323/.386, 14 HR, 71 RBI, 61 R, 31 2B, 1 3B, 2 SB.
25. Bring back Juan Rivera! Nats averaging 3.88 runs-per-game right now; last year's punchless Expos actually averaged more (3.92).
26. Rally capped: Nats 3rd in batting average, 7th inning onward (.276).
27. Table definitely not set: Nats last (by a lot) in runs, 1st-through-6th innings.
28. Just load 'em up: Nats 3rd in batting average, 2nd in runs scored in bases loaded opportunities.
29. Get it done before that second out, fellas! Last 15th in BA with two outs and runner(s) in scoring position.
30. Yikes: Nats' hurlers have 20.08 ERA in the above scenario---and that's not too bad, relative to league.
31. An even .300: The average (110-for-367) Cristian Guzman would have to post, given his current pace, to match career average of .266.
32. The answer is 91. Q: What is Nick Johnson's team-leading RBI pace?
33. The answer is 91: Q: What is Nick Johnson's team-leading BB pace?
34. League-leading ¡LIVAN! Given ace's Montreal support, who would have guessed he'd be tied (with Dontrelle) for NL lead in wins?
35. Better than Bonds? Broken wing Eischen's OPS = 2.000. Beware of sample size (1), of course!
36. Bat him sixth! ¡LIVAN!'s .644 OPS better than those of Guzman, Schneider, Carroll.
37. Maybe he isn't an everyday player? Carroll down to .263/.330/.305---.247/.333/.273(!) in May.
38. Adjusted ERA: Remove "contributions" of Toasty Osuna and Two Dollar Horgan, and team ERA drops from 4.23 to 3.78.
39. 2,573,613: Nats' projected attendance.
40. 748,550: Expos' '04 attendance. (Drew 1M+ in '03---San Juan new team smell?---but was as low as 642K in '01.)
41. What DC effect? O's averaging 29,446, worst ever in OPACY, but not by much (30,303 in '03).
42. Rating Charlie & Dave: Using my XM-enabled subjective criteria, Nats' radio guys rank 3rd in NL East, below Florida and New York, but above Philly (not enough Kalas) and Atlanta (sheer boredom).
43. Working hard for his $350K: Luis Ayala 2nd in appearances, tops in relief innings.
44. Top five worst games of season, in chronological order: 1) 4/8 at FLA (9-0); 2) 4/11 at ATL (11-2); 3) 4/23 at NYM (10-5); 4) 5/17 vs. MIL (8-2, the "Obermuller game"); 5) 5/25 at CIN (12-3).
45. Best game of the year: 4/12 at ATL (4-3, the "Kolb game").
46. Tough luck, Stevie: Loaiza on pace for 3 wins, despite 3.61 ERA.
47. ¡LIVAN! and pray for rain: Beside Hernandez, no pitcher on pace for 10 wins.
48. Rather, just screw the fifth starter: Despite Hernandez, Loiaza, and Patterson (2.98), Nats are 11th in starters' ERA (4.23).
49. But at least they're consistent: Nats have 4.22 bullpen ERA (8th).
50. 50-game MVP? Either Johnson or &#161LIVAN!

Radical Idea:

Start Livan every 4th game regardless of the rest situation. We can break up the rest of the rotation with the occasional 5th starter if need be. Who doesn't want to see Livan go for 30?
Interesting idea.

I came close to advocating a four-man rotation, until I noticed that we're at least a starter away from that even being remotely possible.

I like your idea better. It's sort of how the A's used Dave Stewart back in the late 80s, actually.
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