Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How not to Help a Young Pitcher

Step one: start Ronnie Belliard at second. Step two: start Cristian Guzman at short. Step three: start Willie Harris at third. Step four: just when he gets comfortable and strings together a couple quick innings, pull him.

Belliard might have turned a double play or at least gotten the lead runner on Schneider's grounder in the second, but Ronnie plays so far back he had no chance. Morgan overthrew the cut-off man on Castillo's base hit in the second, which resulted in another run when Murphy hit a jam-job past Guzman to drive in Castillo. A shortstop with decent range would have at least have knocked that ball down and kept the runner from scoring.

Add in the Pagan swinging bunt hit in the first, and Martin easily could have gotten through the second inning with only one run scored. Of the eight hits off of him, only four of them were really hard-hit balls.

And finally, after getting six outs in six batters in the third and fourth, Martin got pulled by Riggleman for the pleasure of seeing Alberto Gonzalez hit an inning-ending come-backer.

Martin has marginal stuff for major-leaguer, clearly. But damn, can he ever put the ball on the black. The kid deserved better.

Since Olsen's injury sounds pretty serious (who could have guessed??), J.D. should get more chances. Next up is San Diego, and assuming Riggleman gives him an infield that can catch the ball, he should be ok.


Souldrummer said...

Steven, thanks for the summary of Martin's outing. I was listening to it on the radio so all I heard was it sounded like he was getting knocked around a lot. Dave and Charlie made it sound like he was pitching in bad luck. I hope he gets a couple more starts at least because I like guys that will at least throw strikes. This team is so bad defensively, however, that it only exposes the weaknesses.

Last night's lineup was absolutely criminal on the infield, though. If we were a respectable major league outfit, Belliard would be gone with his lack of range.

Deacon Drake said...

Stammen has looked similar at times. They need the assurance than if they keep the ball down, they can get outs. Given the number of weakly hit balls falling for singles, that isn't happening.

Also, since the defensive shortcomings have been pointed out, what the hell is the deal with the batting order? Is Riggleman trying to lose games? And what were the chances of Belliard and Kearns reaching base twice in the same game? 20:1?

At least Clippard is settling in... despite the game's first ever intentional balk last week.

phil dunn said...

I really like the spark that Riggleman has added to the Nats since becoming the manager. He is even more of a cadaver (dead body) than Manny Acta was. This weekend he will be leading the Nats into an early World Series between the two worst teams in baseball. May the worst team lose!

Ben said...

I was flabbergasted when I say that line up yesterday. I honestly can not believe that anyone could accidentally put a line-up out that was so perfectly designed to sabotage a pitcher.

I would love to hear someone explain it without half-baked excuses such as 'showcasing him for a trade'. If people haven't scout Belliard by now seeing MORE of him isn't going to help.

The organisation ought to be ashamed. Unless you believe the conspiracy theorists that they are playing for Harper. In which case they should be more ashamed.

Besides Zimm, our young pitchers are our only assest. it's about time we started to protect them.

Mr. Mustache said...

At least they played Kearns in RF for him.

NatsJournal has a pretty good pitch graph showing the difference in Martin's pitches between the 1/2 and the 3/4.

Why did Dibble hate Martin so much immediately? Was it the pitch speed? Did Martin kick his dogs? The entire time he was in, Dibble kept saying how he wasn't gonna make it in the majors. Dibble didn't note the lack of walks or the ground balls JD was inducing.