Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rockies at Nats: The Young and the Workhorse

This afternoon, the Washington Nationals will take on the Colorado Rockies for their 9th day game of the season at 4:35 pm. For your useless information, the Nats are 6-3 in day games, and 2 of those 3 losses were against the defending NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies; the 3rd loss was Jason Marquis' disastrous 7 earned run with no-recorded outs appearance against the Brewers.

1. Nyjer Morgan, 8
2. Cristian Guzman, 9
3. Willie Harris, 7
4. Adam Dunn, 3
5. Pudge Rodriguez, 2
6. Adam Kennedy, 4
7. Ian Desmond, 6
8. The Attorney General (Gonzalez), 5
9. Livo, 1

Above is the Zimmerman-less line up for today, but you should really keep your eyes in tight on today's game for one reason: pitching.
  • Nationals SP: Livan Hernandez -- 0.00 ERA in 2 winning starts, allowing only 9 hits in 16 innings, and including a complete game, 4-hit shut out.
  • Rockies SP: Ubaldo Jimenez -- 1.29 ERA in 3 winning starts. His most recent? A no-hitter against the Braves on April 17th and the first in the 17 year history of the Colorado Rockies.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, Jimenez is 26 years old. Livo? "35." And I use that age loosely.

This is simply one of the best pitching duals that the NL can offer right now. Livan has proven to be a machine for every ball club he's played for, not only as an innings-eating pitcher, but as one hell of a hitting pitcher (the man has a .227 batting average, which is certainly nothing to scoff at over a 14 year major league career). He'll certainly have his bad outings, but who doesn't?

Jimenez is the cornerstone of the Rockies rotation. In his 3 wins, Jimenez has 20 Ks, compared with Livo's 4. The pitching styles couldn't possibly contrast more.
  • Fastballs: Jimenez is the proverbial hard-thrower, with fastballs well into the upper-90s, sometimes reaching 100 mph. Hernandez throws mid-80s fastballs, and mid-80s is often generous.
  • Breaking pitches: Jimenez breaking pitches will make your head spin, usually coming in at the speed of Livo's fastballs and moving all over the zone. Hernandez's change up and curveball are about the speed of a little league fastball, upper-60s to lower 70s.
If Jimenez is going to pitch well, he's going to have to strike out a lot of guys. He averages around 7 Ks per game. This helps him get out of a jam, as he can sometimes get wild with his pitches.

If Livan is going to pitch well, he's going for the exact opposite result. He has to keep his walks low, because he's not often going to get a K to get him out of trouble. He's a ground ball/fly ball pitcher, and he's embraced that status.

I can't wait to watch this game, to see if the Nats can finally break the barrier and get 2 whole games above .500, rather than the game they're playing now going above, even, above, even. I look forward to your comments below!


  1. Livo is a better hitter than Austin Kearns.

  2. @Craig. A truly remarkable feat. Livo's take home pay this year: $900,000. Kearns' take home pay last year: $8,000,000. Ugh... Jim Bowden.

  3. At least it was a pitchers dual. I guess I just wish we could get a guy past second base at some point in the first 7 innings.

  4. willie harris batting third against a top 5 NL starter is tough...