Friday, May 28, 2010

Nats bullpen flounders, putting the them in familiar territory

Yesterday against the Giants, the Nats sort of were clicking on lots of cylinders. Stammen was pitching better than average, which he needed to even have a shot as staying in the rotation. The Nats jumped out to an early lead (3-1), which they have done a lot this year. When Stammen was all done, he was charged with 2 earned runs, plus 1 on an error, and put him in place for his 2nd win of the season. But the bullpen, and a weirdly-shaped and -marked ball park, saw to it that there was no such luck.

Sean Burnett came in and claimed his 2nd loss of the season, failing to record an out for the 3rd time this season. Big reason why: he's simply been terrible against lefties, which is not what you want to see from your lefty specialist pitcher. It's easy to see Doug Slaten squeeze into this role more and more in the coming weeks, because Burnett simply cannot get the job done. He is much better against righties, so he may become a righty specialist as a lefty. Here's some proof:
  • Against righties: .091 average with a .091 slugging. Burnett hasn't given up more than a single against any right he's faced. He has walked 5 righties though, in only 22 ABs.
  • Against lefties: .271 average with a .455 slugging (3 doubles and a home run). He's only walked one, but he's given up so many hits in those chances, his "efficiency" is a joke.
As a last note for the people at AT&T Park. Something needs to be done about your upper deck situation. I'm not sure that anyone will ever know if the ball Adam Dunn hit was a home run. If there was a widely available rule available, it would be different. But hitting a railing above the physical concrete would seem to be a home run. A yellow line needs to be added to the stadium. I know it's an eyesore to a very beautiful park, but otherwise there will be discrepancies on home runs that will cost teams a game.

Because of a collapsing bullpen and a questionable home run call, the Nats are back in familiar place. Last place in the NL East and headed into a 3 game series against the best team in the NL West. Bad odds for a struggling team. The Nats need to get on a roll again, and fast.

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