Know Your Foe #31: Up-and-Coming Nationals Welcome Slumping Rockies to DC with Open Arms

Washington Nationals (45-44, 4th in the NL East)

Last Series vs. Rockies: May 13-16, 2010 (L 1-3 at Coors Field)

After winning the first game of the series in a 14-8 slopfest - "highlighted" by a seven-run frame - that was called after eight innings, the Nats were a season-high five games over .500. However, they would go on to lose the next three contests, scoring just six runs in the process.

Just about everybody on the Nationals destroyed the Rockies' pitching staff in the first game, but really only Ryan Zimmerman was able to continue it through the rest of the series. Zimmerman finished the four-game set with eight hits - two of which went for home runs - and drove in seven runs. Adam Dunn only had two hits in the series, but both long balls. Other than that, the Nats were held relatively in check after the opener.

John Lannan, who will start tonight for the Nats, was tagged for four runs on six hits and four walks in 4.2 innings in the opening contest. Meanwhile, Livan Hernandez, who is not scheduled to pitch in the upcoming series, took the loss in the second game. He allowed three runs - two of which came on solo homers by Miguel Olivo and Jason Giambi - on seven hits in six innings. Neither of the other two starters the Rockies faced are on Washington's roster in 2011.

Latest Series Results: Split 2-2 vs. Pittsburgh; W 3-1 vs. Chicago (NL)

The Nationals should have finished off a sweep of the Cubs yesterday, as they had an 8-0 lead after five innings. However, the Cubs stormed back with six runs in the sixth, two more in the seventh, and one apiece in the eighth and ninth innings and ended up prevailing 10-9. It was indeed a tough loss for the Nationals.

With that being said, Washington is still on the road to respectability, as their above-.500 record would suggest. Offensively, their lineup contains six above-average hitters in terms of wRC+ (although their bench is quite subpar), with only 100-plus-millionaire Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond coming in below average at the halfway point.


Michael Morse

#38 / Left Field / Washington Nationals

6-5

230

R

R

Mar 22, 1982


AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Michael Morse .303 .351 .536


Leading the pack for the Nats is 29-year-old first baseman Michael Morse, who is enjoying a rather fine breakout campaign. A mountain of a man, Morse was acquired a couple of seasons ago from Seattle, and has enjoyed success with Washington (albeit in a small sample size prior to this year) ever since. As much as I hate to admit it, he was just as deserving of that final All-Star spot that ended up going to Shane Victorino as our own Todd Helton. Unfortunately, he too was snubbed in favor of the large-market centerfielder. Morse has posted a wRC+ of 140, and has 15 bombs to go along with an OPS of 887. He could walk more, but all-in-all he has been tremendous for DC.

Rookie Danny Espinosa has had a breakout season of his own, as he possesses a 125 wRC+ and has hit for a ton of power; his 16 home runs are good enough for a tie with Rickie Weeks for the major league lead among second basemen. Like Morse, Espinosa also missed out on an All-Star spot. He is, however, likely the front-runner for the National League Rookie of the Year award so far.

The one guy for the Nats who did make the All-Star team is reliever Tyler Clippard. And, other than the fact that he's a reliever, there's no good argument as to why he shouldn't have made it, either. In 48.1 innings, Clippard has struck out 61 batters and walked only 15. He is a bit homer-prone, but other than that he has been fantastic - to the tune of a 204 ERA+. On the starting rotation front, Jordan Zimmermann has been unlucky, if not masterful. Zimmermann has portrayed very good command, walking just 1.7 batters per nine innings while whiffing a respectable 6.3. His ERA+ is 136, best among Washington's starters. Despite that, he holds a W-L record of just 5-7, though his ERA is just 2.82.

Friday through Sunday: 3-game series at Nationals Park

Expected Pitching Matchups
Friday, July 8, 2011 @ 5:05 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jason Hammel 4-8 17 17 0 0 0 0 104.1 107 57 50 11 39 53 4.31 1.40


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - John Lannan 5-5 18 18 0 0 0 0 105.1 106 43 41 8 37 53 3.50 1.36


Saturday, July 9, 2011 @ 5:05 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ubaldo Jimenez 3-8 16 16 2 1 0 0 96.1 90 54 47 8 40 87 4.39 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jason Marquis 7-3 22 17 1 1 0 0 100.2 116 51 46 7 30 59 4.11 1.45


Sunday, July 10, 2011 @ 11:35 AM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 8-6 18 17 1 1 0 0 109.2 81 43 40 15 49 97 3.28 1.19


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jordan Zimmermann 5-7 19 17 1 0 0 0 108.2 98 39 34 4 21 76 2.82 1.10

 

Expected Lineup

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Roger Bernadina CF .267 .326 .382 .329 106 5 18
Danny Espinosa 2B .249 .335 .473 .357 125 16 52
Ryan Zimmerman 3B .252 .348 .420 .336 111 4 15
Laynce Nix LF .279 .320 .514 .358 126 12 33
Michael Morse 1B .303 .351 .536 .379 140 15 48
Jayson Werth RF .218 .323 .370 .313 95 10 31
Wilson Ramos C .254 .332 .418 .325 103 7 29
Ian Desmond SS .217 .259 .298 .257 57 3 22

 

Bench

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Ivan Rodriguez C .214 .276 .325 .267 64 2 19
Brian Bixler Util .205 .271 .227 .224 34 0 1
Alex Cora IF .237 .290 .281 .264 62 0 6
Matt Stairs PH .145 .254 .161 .206 22 0 2
Rick Ankiel OF .234 .303 .322 .287 78 2 11

Closer

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Drew Storen 5-2 43 0 0 0 22 3 45.1 32 14 13 4 12 33 2.58 .97

 

Injuries


Washington Nationals Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Doug Slaten elbow 06/04/2011
Cole Kimball shoulder 06/10/2011
Ivan Rodriguez oblique 07/08/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Strasburg elbow 03/30/2011
Elvin Ramirez shoulder 03/30/2011

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