Wednesday, July 7, 2010

J.D. Martin's Strong Start

Let's start with the obvious stat from Wednesday night. For the first time in the history of Nationals Park, a player has hit 3 home runs in one game. That guy, fittingly, is Adam Dunn. (Soriano did it in RFK in 2006.) Dunn got his curtain call, and maybe a reminder to Rizzo and Kasten: Re-sign this guy!

Now let's go on to another great story of the night: J.D. Martin. J.D. Martin came into this game 0-4. Talk about a deceptive, meaningless stat. If you only look an inch further, Martin hadn't gotten more than 2 runs of run support in any of his 4 decisions. Well, tonight Martin got some run support, and as much as the bullpen tried to give it away, they couldn't do it. Martin got the win.

After 7 starts, J.D. Martin has posted a 3.35 ERA; he's struck out 26 batters and has only walked 5; he's gone 5 or more inning in 6 of his 7 starts. It's easy to look at wins and losses and say, "wow, that guy's a bad pitcher," and I've been guilty of that. I was shocked to see that Craig Stammen was sent down to AAA before Martin to make room for Strasburg. Turns out, if I had really investigated the stats, even at the time, I would have been wrong.

I don't know that Martin can be a solid rotation guy for the Nats long term. Only time will tell. I can tell you one thing, though. Even if the stars align and Jordan Zimmermann is ready to be the number 2 guy next year behind Strasburg, and even if Ross Detwiler is ready to go, and even if Jason Marquis comes back to All-Star, 15 win form... wow... that's a lot of if's people. If, and it's a big if, J.D. Martin ends the season with the stats he has right now: an ERA in the 3s, and a 1 to 5 walk to strikeout ratio, he very well could end up in the Nationals rotation in 2011.

The Nats could only hope for a bottom of the rotation guy that could be as consistent as... J.D. Martin has been half way through this year.... Talk about lines you never thought you'd type.


  1. I was at the game last night and mostly agree with this. One mistake I thought Martin made was challenging Adrian Gonzalez in the 3rd inning with two out and a runner on second after AG had crushed an opposite field HR in his first at bat. Given that AG was the ONLY truly dangerous batter in the Padres lineup, Martin should have stayed off the plate and walked him if he didn't swing. Instead, AG hit a RBI double for a run that loomed large late in the game. Strasburg has the stuff to challenge the hitter in that situation. Martin doesn't and should pitch accordingly.

    Also, going back to your previous post, Desmond showed last night why the Nats are right to stick with him. In addition to the HR he made several great plays in the field. If he can cut down the errors as he gains experience he easily has the talent to be an above average shortstop.

  2. RE: bdrube

    Couldn't agree more. The guy up after Adrian Gonzalez is hitting a very Austin Kearns-like .226. There is absolutely no reason to pitch to him.

    Also, Desmond had a fantastic game, both at the plate and in the field. He showed off his superior range and took him time to ensure accurate throws. Finally, Ian "E6" Desmond is showing flashes of the player we saw in Spring Training.

    Cmon Capitol Baseball - show just a little love!

  3. JD Martin had a bad night in Cincinnati. But one thing about John Dale, he never, ever gives up. Never. And because of that every year he has improved, gotten better. He will make the rotation next year, count on it!