Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Nats Lose! So What Else Is New? Hmmmm....Well, the Nats did try to steal a base. The team's first attempted stolen base of the season. The Nats were the only team in the majors not to attempt a stolen base. In the fifth inning, Felipe Lopez was thrown out, trying to go from second to third base. Besides Lopez' failure to steal the base, one might also wonder whether it was a good idea. The Nots had their best hitter at the plate, with Ryan Zimmerman, and only one out. A single probably would have scored Lopez, even from second. Of course, the Nots had only scored three runs in the previous 42 innings, so I guess one shouldn't quibble with a little aggressive base-running, that would have set up a sacrifice fly opportunity for Zimmerman.

The interesting thing about the Nats' horrible start is that, with all the talk about the horrible early inning pitching during the Nots' first week, the starting pitching is starting to look decent. The real problems have been the field players. Their fielding has been miserable. The team leads the majors with twelve errors, and that doesn't include a large number of unrecorded mental errors, like throwing to the wrong base, or missing the cutoff man. The starting pitchers would look even better with good defense behind them.

The Nots' biggest problem, however, has been an anemic batting order. They did break through in the eight inning for three runs, bur six runs in the last 47 innings is nothing to write home about. Brian Schneider has been the worst of the worst, but no one has hit especially well. Church, Belliard and Lopez have been pretty good, but their good batting averages don't reflect much in the way of run production or extra base hits. When you watch the Nots play, you almost have to think the question isn't if or even when they will be no-hit by the opposing pitcher, but rather how many times they will be no-hit this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the Nots are no-hit a couple of times this year. Livan Hernandez took a no-hitter into the 6th innning, throwing junk. If the Nats run into some top pitchers on good days, when they are throwing really filthy stuff, the Nats may be lucky to get even a few hits.

Tomorrow night, the Nots will start Jason Bergmann. He will have to outduel likely Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz. The losing streak is not likely to end before the Nationals head to New York. It doesn't get any easier for the hapless D.C. baseball team.

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