Archives for posts with tag: Wilson Ramos

It was the worst of times–and the best of times last week. Well, actually–not the best because it’s tough to celebrate wins over the NL East’s AAA team.  But you get what I mean. And just remember the Nats lost two of three to Miami last month.  Nothing like three wins to put some wind back in the team’s sails and give one hope as they cross the first marker of the Major League Marathon (July 4th & 31st plus Labor Day are the other three of note-it’s not like Golf’s Majors where there’s a fixed set- some include the All Star Break as well).  The bullpen remains beyond as bad as anyone feared it might be (the team allowed 49 runs in the eighth inning over the first 50 games of the season) and its ERA has spiked to a mind-boggling and save-blowing 7.25.  As the Nats wind down May they find themselves closer to last place (4.5 games ahead of Miami) than first (nine behind Philadelphia). They entered their eight game stretch against the sub-500 Mets and Marlins with conventional wisdom being the Nats could/would/might win five or six to jump back into the race.  Entering the series finale with the Marlins they need a win just to break even.  Thank goodness the schedule continues to stay semi-soft in June.

 

Dissecting the Division- Philadelphia leads the NL East at 31-22 with Rhys Hoskins on fire (13 homers and 41 RBI) somewhat taking the heat off of their huge offseason acquisition.  They’ve also won seven of ten.  So has Atlanta-and the Braves are led by the power trio of Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr (each has 30+ RBI at this time).  The Mets are .500 thanks in part to their four game sweep of the Nats-and how about Wilson Ramos?!?  The former Nats catcher is hitting .270 with 31 RBI.  Nice for the 31-year old who had issues staying healthy while in DC.  The Marlins are looking great for 2022–and this week’s trade bait is Caleb Smith who’s posted six quality starts and an ERA of 3.05.  I’m sure Derek Jeter can find a willing taker for Smith that will yield a batch of forgettable prospects.

Harper’s Weekly- the former face of the franchise hit .179 last week, dropping his batting average to .227 (eighth among Phillies who had played in 20+ games this year). His 73 strikeouts lead the majors and put him on a pace of 223.  It’s a good thing the Phillies are in first place.

O’s Woes- the Nats’ neighbors to the north continue to go south, with losses in seven games dropping the Birds to big league-worst 16-37.  For those who don’t want to do the math, that’s a pace of 49-113.  While they might not lose a record 121 games this year, the Orioles are definitely capable of setting another infamous mark.  The pitching staff has allowed 114 home runs over 53 games this year, or on a pace of 348 that would shatter the current record by over 100 homers.  And you thought the Nats had it bad…

Last Week’s Heroes- Juan Soto hit 13-26 with 2 homers and 8 RBI, while Juan Gomes batted .400 with 5 RBI.  Anthony Rendon remains red-hot, scoring a team-high 8 runs while driving in 5 more.  As it’s Rendon’s walk year, the longer this team remains sub-.500 the louder the whispers of trading Tony Two Bags will get.  Patrick Corbin tossed a complete game Saturday (just what the beleaguered bullpen needed) and Max Scherzer tossed six shutout innings earlier in the week.  Matt Grace pitched two scoreless innings over three games. Somebody check his temperature.

Last Week’s Humbled- rookie James Bourque made his major league debut Sunday, allowing 4 earned runs over two-thirds of an inning. He’ll have no issues fitting in here.  The usually sharp Sean Doolittle coughed up a three-run double and a three-run homer to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Just to show it’s not just a bullpen thing, Kyle McGowin allowed five runs over four innings in his start Friday.  Trea Turner hit .212 with six strikeouts while leading off and Victor Robles batted .200.

Game to Watch- Saturday the Nats play Cincinnati with Eric Fedde (1-0, 2.18 ERA) starting; the early-season call-up has pitched well in spots this year.  He’ll face former back-end rotation fixture Tanner Roark, who appears to have bounced back to his 2014 and 2016 form.

Game to Miss- Tuesday Stephen Strasburg starts the series opener against Atlanta, but we’re going to watch the series finale of “Fosse Verdon”.  FX’s series about the legendary choreographer/director and his collaborator/muse has been an interesting watch (it’s no “The Americans”, but then again what is?  And can we all admit that Renee is a spy?)-but if there’s one issue keeping it from perfection it’s that they didn’t spend nearly enough time on “Damn Yankees”.  Once again, from the top…

Who would have known that the balance of power in the NL East would have turned on a mid-winter signing with all of the excitement of leftover potato salad.  Instead of being an afterthought, Daniel Murphy has been the main course of the Nats’ offense.  He’s a major reason why after finishing seven games behind the Mets in 2015, they lead the division by six games halfway through 2016.  How good has Murphy been?  Try .423 with 7 HR and 21 RBI against his former teammates.  That’s the good news…the bad news is that he only has six more games against the Mets to remind them of their mistake in not retaining his services.

Halfway full- or perhaps 55.6% there as the Nats have played 90 games.  First half causes for confidence include stellar showings by Murphy, Danny Espinosa (Nats #8 hitters rank 2nd in the Majors in RBI) and Wilson Ramos (Nats catchers are 1st in RBI, 2nd in OPS and 3rd in runs scored).  The team also leads the Majors in ERA and fielding percentage while ranking second in quality starts and third in opponents batting average.

Halfway empty- how good is this rotation?  Stephen Strasburg has been hurt, Max Scherzer coughs up homers and while the trio of Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross have each had their moments each has given us doubts.  The leadoff spot remains an eyesore-ranking 27th in the Majors in runs scored and last in OPS (on base percentage + slugging).  The first base and centerfield positions rank 29th in OPS and conventional wisdom says there’s no way Murphy, Espinosa and Ramos can each duplicate their way-above-market first halves.

Dissecting the Division- the Nats own a six game lead over the NY Mets and Miami.  They currently are posting better numbers than their NL East foes:  in addition to leading the NL in ERA and fielding, the club ranks 6th in runs scored (Marlins are 11th and the Mets are 13th).  In the strange stat anomaly of the week, Miami ranks 2nd in the Majors in batting average yet is 22nd in the big leagues in scoring.

Across the Divide- the Orioles are in a fun race as well (for those wondering, Mark Trumbo is playing the role of Daniel Murphy on the Camden Yards stage), leading Boston and Toronto by two games for the AL East lead.  Their hold is precarious given the team’s starting pitching problems (minus Chris Tillman the Birds are 17-26 with an ERA of 5.70). The Red Sox lead the AL in hitting, scoring and OPS while making moves to bolster their consistently uneven pitching (21 runs against the Angels?  Really?).  Watch out for the Blue Jays- the defending division champs rate 3rd in OPS while own the league’s second best ERA and fielding percentage.  The Jays also have the most quality starts.

Last Week’s Heroes- Murphy hit .346 with 3 HR and 10 RBI while scoring 9 runs. Max Scherzer posted an ERA of 0.69 over two starts while notching 16 strikeouts to 5 walks.  Jonathan Papelbon in his return from the disabled list tallied 3 saves while striking out 8 over 4 innings of work.

Last Week’s Humbled- we knew Danny Espinosa’s June would be tough to duplicate, but .217 with one walk and 11 strikeouts?  Relievers Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez were tagged for ERA’s of 13.50 and 16.20.

Game to Watch- Friday Stephen Strasburg (12-0, 2.62 ERA) pitches against Pittsburgh.  One doesn’t feel the length of the All Star Break until Thursday’s off-day.  We’re ready for baseball…and we are ready to see Strasburg pitch again.  Do you know he’s lost just twice since last year’s All Star Break?

Game to Miss- they haven’t released the rotation for the first weekend back, but I will go out on a limb and guess Max Scherzer is pitching Saturday against the Pirates.  Max has a history of being magical in Saturday starts against the Bucs…so that leaves the Sunday game with Gio/Tanner/Joe on the hill.  It’s a 1:05 start and I’m sure the stadium will feel like a nice wool blanket during the game…I’ll take a day of the paper, pool and pasta.  Of course, if Scherzer pitches Sunday I reserve my right to flip flop…and wear my flip-flops on Saturday.