Saturday, 28 April 2012

2012 Game 20

Highest Leverage PA:         2.9, PA #67, DeRosa F8 vs Jansen, Nationals' 9th.
                             2.9, PA #70 Flores' K vs Jansen, Nationals' 9th
Highest Leveraged Win Value: .209, PA #43, LaRoche HR vs Kershaw, Nationals' 6th.
QMAX rating:                 Success Square (3,3) for Detwiler.
Bullpen Award:               None.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
LaRoche        0.209
Tracy          0.044
Detwiler       0.027
Bernadina     -0.035
Lombardozzi   -0.067
Espinosa      -0.071
Werth         -0.072
Nady          -0.074
Desmond       -0.118
Flores        -0.125
DeRosa        -0.172
Let's start with a bold, optimistic statement: the Nationals are half of a playoff team. That half is the pitching. Think about this — the club's designated FIFTH STARTER held his own against one of the BEST PITCHERS IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE. Ross Detwiler has pitched nothing like a typical fifth starter so far this season, and he has kept his team in the game in almost every outing. Take a moment to give him a pat on the back.

Ryan Mattheus did well, although not enough to earn a Hero's Palm. The reason is down to the batters. I'm not going to dwell on that. I'm sure they are working hard at making adjustments. They got fairly close last night, just fell a bit short. Against a player of the calibre of Clayton Kershaw, that's what can happen. However, against lesser mortals they need to get it done, and then we can all look forward to games in September that are not just meaningful opportunities to play the role of spoiler.

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Bryce Is Right

Here comes Bryce Harper.

With Ryan Zimmerman going on the disabled list, the already-lightweight Nationals' batting lineup faced the loss of a key player, at least in terms of potential. (Zimmerman's slash line was not exactly helping, at 224/324/345, and my concerns were mounting.) NadyRosa are being pushed beyond legitimate expectations of two players who look satisfactory down at 6 or 7 in the batting order, but not so hot going in at #3.

The Nationals are having a great start, and now face an opponent having almost an equally great start. If Harper was going to be promoted at some point this season, this is as good a time as any, no matter how well he is doing at AAA. If he can keep the momentum going, it will add to the Mystique and Aura of Harper. If not, he's got a taste, and maybe will work harder for the next opportunity.

2012 Game 19 Notes

Highest Leverage PA:         5.9, PA #57, Hundley's K vs Clippard, Padres' 7th.
                             (Also, Lowest Leveraged Win Value at -.159)
Highest Leveraged Win Value: .337, PA #64, Kotsay's 2B vs Clippard, Padres' 8th.
Nationals' Highest Lev Win:  .148, PA #49, Werth's HR vs Volquez, Nationals' 7th.
QMAX rating:                 Success Square (3,4) for Jackson.
Bullpen Award:               Goat's Horns for Clippard.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
LaRoche        0.048
Werth          0.030
Ramos          0.027
Bernadina     -0.018
Jackson       -0.055
Ankiel        -0.064
Nady          -0.064
Desmond       -0.104
Tracy         -0.109
Espinosa      -0.147
It is easy to point the finger at poor Tyler Clippard, who saved the day in the 7th inning, for blowing the game in the 8th. But, seriously, as the Batting Leveraged Win Values show, my Finger of Blame for yesterday's loss points squarely at the Nationals' hitters. The top of the order in particular—Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Chad Tracy—had a very poor game, as the numbers show. The bullpen's job is to hold a lead, even one as slim as one run, but a couple of years of messing about with Win Probability has taught me that to expect the bullpen to hold such slim leads game after game is a recipe for a .500 season.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

2012 Game 18 notes

Highest Leverage PA:          2.9 PA #48, Hermida vs Zimmermann, Padres' 6th.
Highest Leveraged Win Value:  .135, PA #54, LaRoche vs Spence, Nationals' 7th.
QMAX rating:                  Elite Square (2,2) for Zimmermann.
Bullpen Award:                None
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
LaRoche        0.234
DeRosa         0.059
Werth          0.053
Ramos          0.036
Bernadina      0.023
Gorzelanny     0.016
Ankiel         0.012
Espinosa       0.010
Desmond        0.007
Lombardozzi   -0.031
Tracy         -0.050
The result was never really in doubt, as the relatively low leverage of Hermida vs Zimmermann indicates. The bats came alive for this one, as a cumulative win value total of .369 for the batters shows. Nonetheless, Zimmermann's great outing (not a walk!) was of considerable value as well. Gorzelanny fell a few points short of the threshold for a Hero's Palm, given the five-run lead that Zimmermann and the hitters gave him.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

2012 Game 17 Notes

Highest Leverage PA:          4.3 PA #56, Denorfia vs Clippard, Padres' 7th.
Highest Leveraged Win Value:  .187, PA #54, Perino vs Clippard, Padres' 7th.
Highest Lev Win Val for Nats: .130, PA #49, Tracy vs Richard, Nationals' 7th.
Lowest Lev Win Val for Nats:  -.121, PA #3, DeRosa vs Richard, Nationals' 1st.
QMAX rating:                  Success Square (1,3) for Gonzalez.
Bullpen Award:                Hero's Palm to Clippard, for gaining .142 on Win
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
Tracy          0.130
Ankiel         0.055
Nady           0.047
Ramos          0.022
Werth         -0.015
Bernadina     -0.026
Desmond       -0.033
Espinosa      -0.042
LaRoche       -0.05
Lombardozzi   -0.068
Gonzalez      -0.081
DeRosa        -0.141
Mark DeRosa's grounding into a double play in the top of first set the tone for this pitcher's duel. The crucial inning on both sides was the seventh, and for both teams the outcome of the game may have turned on bullpen usage. Bud Black may have been too slow in pulling Clayton Richard, while Davey Johnson wasted no time in taking Craig Stammen out when things turned a bit bad for him.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Rip Van Winkle Day: Wild Card Nationals?

Well, I'm going to resume a probably-erratic posting schedule for the 2012 season. There are some good reasons why I stopped posting, not many of which had to do with the last post. Some of them will come out in subsequent blogs.

I have resumed doing old-fashioned sabermetric analysis this season of the Nationals, with some of your old Big Bad Baseball Annual ideas such as QMAX. In due course I'll be updating some of the data I used to keep. The Bullpen Goat of The Day no longer applies, I'm delighted to report.

In the meantime, Replacement Level Yankees Weblog (RLYW) has for a few years now run some simulated seasons to project what the math suggests is going to happen when we get to the end of game 162, using player projections. RLYW has just updated their preseason projections with the results of the first three weeks of this season. The big news is that the results show the Nationals as one of the newfangled Wild Cards. Getting into at least a one-game playoff would do something for the morale of the long-suffering Washington baseball fan, wouldn't it?